‘Karma yogis of inspirational gentlemanliness’

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Sitting in the audience at the function where the book Yella Ballavarilla, the Kannada version of H.Y. Sharada Prasad’s book The Book I Won’t be Writing… was released in Bangalore yesterday, I was simply stupefied by the sheer weight that the collective achievements and scholarship of the men seated on the dais exuded.

Sharada Prasad, Justice Venkatachalliah, T S Satyan, Chiranjiv Singh and the self-confessed “sole monolingual friend” of the book’s author, Ramachandra Guha.

While the first three mentioned are the very symbols of Kannadiga and most importantly Mysorean breeding, Chiranjiv Singh too—he with his lilting, singsong Kannada, a testament to his sincerity and love for the land where he has lived and worked for most part of his life—should be readily inducted into the hallowed lineup.

As for Ramachandra Guha, although he doesn’t speak the native tongue of his homestate, his understanding of Karnataka and the Kannada ethos is, I dare say, second to none.

The point of this panegyric is to hark back to the times when the first three mentioned gentlemen were young men studying in Mysore. A city that had to be special.

Surely the air about it had to be humming with class, grace, charm, refinement, sophistication, elegance, civility, humaneness and a lot more.

Otherwise how would it have been possible to craft and chisel men like the legendary Sharada Prasad, the great ‘Justice’ and that dear man from Tambarahalli?

Men of scholarship, of study and letters, of phenomenal achievements at the highest levels of their chosen avocations. Men, simply, of such great accomplishments.

And yet simple, kindly, adoring, without even a sliver of arrogance or oneupmanship. Gentle souls, almost saintly in their maturity, real karma yogis who have led lives of such inspirational gentlemanliness.

The manner of their speech, the choice of words, the tenderness of it all. A breed of men so naturally given to the understatement of being!

We as Mysoreans are simply, terribly, proud of them.