Dr Raj Kumar’s death has seen the usual reaction from his fans and fanatics. Someone wants the new international airport in Bangalore to be named after him. Somebody else wants the ring road in Mysore to be named after him.
On top of all this, there are calls and demands for statues and memorials. And in the run-up to his April 24 birthday there will be lots more demands more unreasonable than otherwise. No doubt, the natasarvabhauma was a special being. But….
But, in the midst of this frenzy, spare a thought for Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan.
Also known as R.K. Narayan.
This is the genius who put Mysore well and truly on the literary map of the world. This is the genius, who by making Mysore the Malgudi of his mind’s-eye, took our city’s name across oceans and continents into the heads of millions. Yet….
Yet in this, the 100th year of his birth, how do we remember Narayan?
There is not a road named after R.K. Narayan, not even an avenue. There is not a circle named after R.K. Narayan, not even a square. There is not a memorial for R.K. Narayan, not even a statue. There is not a building, not a hall, not even a room.
It is almost R.K. Narayan did not almost exist in Mysore, did not breathe its air, drink its water, walk its roads.
Why? Because he wrote in English?
What are English students, past and present, doing to this insult? What are our English professors and readers and lecturers, past and present, doing to this affront?
What are our newspapers and TV channels doing to this disgrace? What are our letter-writers doing?
Why aren’t they, we, you, speaking up for a man who Mysore should never forget? Join the churumuri campaign. Get angry. Get agitated. Drop a comment.
We will take it to whoever matters to get justice to R.K. Narayan’s name and his memory.