‘A famous son who forged his own identity’

PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI writes: Here is what I always found impressive about K. P. Poornachandra Tejaswi.

Being Kuvempu’s son wasn’t a burden. He was that rare famous son, who forged his own personality and strode the Kannada literary and cultural world as a giant in his own right. He could and did easily say no to worldly positions— from professorships to MLA/MP ticket offers from all the political parties and MLC nominations until very recently— from a very early age.

Much will be written in the coming days about Tejaswi’s accomplishments as a novelist as well as that rare and gifted Kannada writer of popular non-fiction works.

Tejaswi’s friends and admirers will praise his wide ranging interests,forward looking nature and more significantly, his curiosity to explore the world both in his literary work and in life.

His critics will point out that his later novels weren’t as impressive as his early works and strongly criticize his formulations on globalization.

I certainly found his turn away from a radical politics quite troubling. More on all that later.

But in my mind, there is no doubt that his ethical self was an equally compelling aspect of his personality.

Tejaswi was my role model when I was growing up. I saw him frequently in Mysore, read everything he wrote and hung on to each word he uttered. He was that mysterious figure who would periodically show up in Mysore, only to disappear quickly.

Return he did regularly, whenever he could take a break from his other preoccupation, his coffee estate. In recent times, I saw him infrequently and to my regret, didn’t engage him as much as I should have.

K.P. Poornachandra Tejaswi is no more. I wish I had gone to see him in December, as he had asked me to.

We will all miss him.

Photo courtesy: Karnataka Photo News