churumuri.com is delighted to record the renaming (and flagging off) of the daily Mysore-Yeshwanthpur Express between Karnataka’s two premier cities as Malgudi Express, to perpetuate the memory of India’s first globally renowned English writer, the Mysorean R.K. Narayan.
We are delighted for two reasons.
One, we believe that even as small a gesture as getting a train named after Narayan’s creation, although rather late in coming, is an important signal in giving our literary, social and cultural titans their due.
And two, the railway ministry’s decision is largely if not solely the outcome of the suggestions of churumuri readers across the world, who responded magnificently to our campaign which began over five years ago.
In many ways, therefore, this is a victory of online activism of a kind not generally known or seen in India.
On this happy occasion, please allow us a moment of self-congratulation.
We would like to thank the then governor of Karnataka, T.N. Chaturvedi, who took the churumuri campaign to the railway ministry in the centenary year of Narayan’s birth; the Union minister for external affairs S.M. Krishna who revived the campaign in the 10th year of RKN’s death; and the railway minister Dinesh Trivedi who gave the green signal.
Additionally,we are thankful to the late Mysorean icon, T.S. Satyan, the historian Ramachandra Guha, and the writer Sunaad Raghuram who took the churumuri campaign to the governor of Karnataka. Several writers have kept the campaign alive over the years by writing pieces on Narayan. S.M. Krishna’s advisor Raghavendra Shastry, played a key role in reactivating the campaign this year.
Above all, we are thankful to our readers. Without you, this small salute for a giant Mysorean would not have been possible.
Coming up next: A stamp for R.K. Narayan.
MALGUDI EXPRESS TIMINGS
Train No. 17304: Leaves Yeshwanthpur daily at 11.35 am, reaches Mysore at 3 pm
Train No. 17303: Leaves Mysore daily at 12.10 pm, reaches Yeshwanthpur at 3.30pm
Photograph: courtesy Simon Winchester/ The Guardian