CAMPAIGN: Educate your Corporator on RKN

P.M. VIJENDRA RAO writes: I did take up the issue with A.B. Ibrahim, the previous Mysore City Corporation commissioner. I suggested that a certain stretch of road in Bogadi be named after R.K. Narayan and another after C.D. Narasimhaiah.

This was sometime early last year when CDN was alive.

I moved the matter at a meeting of the resident welfare association of our locality, to which I had invited Ibrahim, though for a different purpose.

Somebody said circles and roads are named after people only after their demise. Well, we know, it is not so, because some of our leaders, for whom such honours are a lot more easily gettable, generally don’t show any urgency to die. For them, glory is like the money on hand.

It is what you have that matters, not what you leave behind.

On the other hand, if “posthumosity” was the sole criterion for bestowal of such honours, I am sure, most of us would have our own secret (and not-so-secret) exhaustive (if not exclusive) wish-list of persons on whom we couldn’t wait for bestowal of such honours.

Be that as it may, just about when I thought that I had wasted my breath came two guys to my house wanting to know who CDN was. To be fair to them, they had been posted about CDN’s residential address, but they wanted from me his thumb-nail sketch.

A while later, on inquiry, I was told that CDN had refused consent for the proposal. Inquiry on the other side got me this response: Which self-respecting man would give ready accord to such a proposal?

Come to think of it, I am sure, the proposal would have been put across to him in a manner of embarrassment only the otherwise crassness in our system is capable of.

Later days saw CDN’s passing away and Ibrahim’s going away. Well, that pocket of Kukkarahalli bund which overlooks Kukkarahalli village was named CDN Vana as a mark of respect for the teacher-litterateur who had played a key role in the restoration of the lake, the bottom of which one has to scour for RKN’s reflection.

Incidentally, the number of adults who came that day to take part in a tree-planting ceremony adjoining CDN Vana, did not exceed double digit. (Mohammed Kaif need not despair). But, CDN never believed in the game of numbers.

On R.K. Narayan, some follow-up is needed.

To revive the issue, we would do well to launch a year-long campaign to brief our corporators on R.K. Narayan. To speed up things, we may start by telling them that he was a politician from our City who went on to decorate the Rajya Sabha.

In these days of real estate boom, it is less than unlikely that they may want to know for which construction company he worked if we told them he was a writer.

Another likely question that the campaigners may encounter is: Was he related to K.R. Narayanan? It shouldn’t be at all a bad idea not to answer the query in the affirmative.

Means must justify the end, after all. They must.

The issue in question here is culturing our municipal brethren. (call it issue culture). No means is unfair to achieve it.

It would be relevant to recall the Bhagavata story of Ajamila, the sinner, who was spared the wages of his sin for the simple reason that he uttered the name of Narayana while on his deathbed.

The Lord’s name had never escaped his lips during his entire life time. Narayana, the man of compassion that He is, never held it against Ajamila.

Unmindful of the fact that the name he spoke at the nick of the moment was not to invoke Him, but his namesake-son, Karunamayi, God still bestowed the favours of the other world on him.

If our brethren get the identity of R.K. Narayan wrong, we must forgive them. They know not what they name. It is fine as long as they assign the novelist’s name to a road.

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