SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Parochial thoughts. Narrow-minded pettiness. Divisive ideas that spell acrimonious discord. Ttaking cheap potshots at men and twisting core issues out of proportion. Displaying a reckless and irresponsible sense of disdain towards the sensitivities of society.
Raising issues of language and even caste….
These, as no one would dispute, have been observed for long as the in-built characteristics, perhaps the very genetic make-up of men and women, who identify themselves as politicians in this country, of course with the odd exceptions, who anyway show up on our political horizon, as regularly as a certain comet named after an English astronomer called Edmond Halley.
But for writers, for men of letters?
The commentators of society at large, those who, with their power of the pen and their intellect can dissect and disseminate thoughts?
They, who tell stories of man and have the talent to chronicle the ways of humankind?
They, who are supposedly adept and capable of sifting the chaff from the grain of life itself; those who have been endowed the powers and gift of serious, sensitive, responsible, fair, meaningful, and worthy intercourse on matters profound and intelligent?
They, who are the arbiters of all that should be invoked in society in order to make it a better entity for lesser men to inhabit; those ordinary members of the public who obviously do not have the talent and the powers of serious writers?
For a group of such writers to make a case for a fellow-writer, R.K. Narayan, to not have the posthumous privilege of a memorial in his name; in a City (and at a home) in which he lived and wrote for close to 50 years is something that simply confounds, confuses and numbs the minds of all right-thinking citizens of the great city of Mysore.
Narayan was a man who traversed its lanes and by lanes with fond affection; someone who made a fantastic connect with the very ethos of the city, its people, their ways, their eccentricities and foibles, their loveliness and innocence, their very being in a sense; and weaved some of the most rollickingly interesting, sensitive, comical, gentle, poignant and tender stories of his age and time about a certain unique culture, and immortalised in print, the very soul of a largely unknown city called Mysore which was widely presumed to be his literary muse, among the rest of India as also in the eyes of the west, save for those few westerners who had had the pleasure and honour of having been invited to the city and acquainted to it by its Maharaja as his guests, perhaps for Dasara or the Khedda in the jungles of Kakanakote.
That Narayan did not speak Kannada; that he chose to move to Madras during his later years; that he did not donate his manuscripts to the University of Mysore and chose to give them away for a price to a foreign university; that he was not a Kannadiga in the first place but a Tamilian.
So what’s new about such haranguing?
What is new is this, perhaps not so new but something that needs to be reiterated at this juncture.
That R.K.Narayan was a man who had the gift of the pen like no other Indian writer in English had some 75 years ago, that he was a man who had the confidence and the literary flamboyance to make an English publishing house in England of that era sit up and take notice and finally agree to publish his stories, for their sheer flow and flair, for their simplicity of prose and the absolute enthralling grip of the narration; about a people and their culture, that was I’m dead sure, to the publisher himself as alien, strange and unknown as the river Avon and the denizens who populated its banks was, to the dramatis personae of Narayan’s stories!
The decision to become a full time writer and endeavour to make a living off it, with a family to feed; at a time in history when Indians at large, barely comprehended the alien language, let alone write or speak it with any great expertise.
Narayan’s tensions, his worries, and the patience he exercised in waiting for replies from a place, England, so far from Mysore that it could well have been on another planet, every time he either sent excerpts of his writings or plainly corresponded with potential publishers.
At a time when the red-coloured post box was all that existed as a symbol of communication. And not the power of the telephone or the speed of the internet, for heaven’s sake.
At a time when most Indians were ridiculed for their lack of English proficiency, so much so, that most of them were thought to not even be able to write four meaningful lines by way of a leave letter to be presented to their bosses in office; for Narayan to be able to write not four but perhaps forty thousand or four hundred thousand lines in English that not only impressed but had the west in thrall is a decent enough reason to remember him.
To cut to the chase, let’s give Mr Narayan a memorial for sure.
And as soon as possible.
For in his memorial shall lie the story of one man’s inimitable brilliance and perseverance in making the impossible possible. To put it simply, that is.
It simply shouldn’t matter that he was not born 16 miles west of Holenarispura or some such place in Karnataka and that his father was called Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer.
Cartoon: courtesy Mahmud/ Praja Vani
Also read: Four reasons why R.K. Narayan deserves a memorial
Bhyrappa ‘s great acumen in litearature is unquestionable, but my respect for him has only grown after he along with other literary greats have taken the PRO KANNADA, PRO PEOPLE cause of opposing a memorial for a person who had scant respect for Kannada.
Bhyrappa has done this in truly Democratic way, no chest thumping, no loose talk, only logical thinking and facts.
RKN Memorial may make some elite individuals happy, but it also hurts millions of kannadigas like me.
Govt should exhibit a sense of balance and sense of pride while making any decision on this issue.
Literary giant V S Naipaul is a Caribbean of Indian origin, I have not come across any incident where he has ridiculed Caribbean culture . There are many examples where great achievers respect and assimilate into the culture they live amidst. But sadly RKN incident is a sad exception.
Isn’t this enough reason? Why the hell should Karnataka Govt. build a memorial for a man with such a background? Let the central Govt. do it? And who is this Sunaad Raghuram ? What is his competence to pass judgement on great kannada writers who expressed their dissent? And how dare an insignificant man like him pass judgement on great writers by calling them parochial?
And what in God’s name is this cartoon and what does it have to do with this article?
Clearly churumuri has lost the plot. You don’t want to write on burning issues because if you do your favourite Congress party will be ripped asunder. So you share such sorry articles to divert issues.
I don’t understand the reference to SL Bhyrappa apart from the title. What sort of article is this ?
It is a pity that all of us are losing the perspective that we are Indians first. Like the Thackereys we are all beginning to think that people who do not speak Kannada do not belong to our state. Think of the Kannadigas in Maharashtra..or the Indians in developed countries who complain about racism. Like the Kisa Gautami story, is there anybody who reads a blog like this who does not have a family member in other states or countries? Having said that, while I strongly agree that all Indians are equal, I cannot buy the argument made by Sunaad Raghuram that ‘holding the West in thrall’ is enough reason to remember him..we really need to move on from the ‘colonised’ identity. His memorial in Mysore is relevant for respecting an Indian of extraordinary literary ability in English (also an Indian language now..being one of the official languages of the Indian union and also that of one of our states, Nagaland)
RKN was a great writer. But it is also a fact that despite living in Mysore for so many years, he didn’t learn Kannada. All these decades Kannadigas foolishly went on claiming RKN to be one of their own. He was not. Ditto with his brother Laxman, who is also a great in his field of cartooning. Merely living in Karnataka shouldn’t entitle one to be called a Kannadiga. I know several Tamilians who have lived in Bangalore for many years without being able to speak in Kannada. Not just not knowing Kannada but also contempt for the language. By all means, honour RKN with a memorial but don’t do that because he was a “Kannadiga.”
Sunaad, good piece of writing. It is unfortunate that a memorial for R K Narayan, appreciation for whose work was even shown by Kannada film makers like Shankar Nag through Malgudi Days, has now pitted Kannada writers against writers with English knowledge. Mysore’s lanes and by lanes, as you have put it, will never cease to inspire creativity among writers of whatever language.
But the gifted R K Narayan’s connect with Mysore has been immortalised in his works.
R.K.Narayan wont be studied in Halls of Great Liberal Arts Coll;eges. The Key point is the simplicity and sort of innocence mentioned. It will resonate with Children, yet something needed in this complicated world. He is not Tolstoy or Doskrovsky
no amount of yarn spinning about RKN’s literary achievements (in english) is going to hide the fact that he refused to learn and speak in Kannada while living in Mysore for 30 years…that is the bottom line.
I oppose this or any other memorial for entirely different reasons. Such memorials smack of tokenism. Such public monuments are usually neglected and in some cases subject to abuse and insults (as it often happens in case of B R Ambedkar or Gandhi statues). They don’t serve any useful purpose save some photo ops for politicians. Instead let us encourage good writing and good reading by instituting some scholarships for literature in his name. Let’s have essay or debate competitions in his name.
I just finished reading the Guide. Honestly, what a long fart it was. It was Vijay Anand and later Shankar Nag & Nagabharana who gave life to some dreary Indo- Anglican writing.
Nice writing and of course any sensible karnatakan would want a memorial in honor of RKN. Looking at some of the responses, I’m assuming this kind of cultural and intellectual degradation started when Mandya became the cultural capital and ‘deve gowdas’ of Karnataka became its guardians.
Give RKN a memorial only finance it with private money! QED.
I think we should start an RKN literary prize called the Malgudi Prize. Henceforth and forthwith Sunaad R gets the first Malgudi prize for his passionate column.
Why do people keep saying RKN did not speak Kannada? He did and I know people who have only spoken to him in Kannada.
If the Govt. does decide to build memorials for Kannada writers, who decides which writers get memorial/plaques/statues. We will then have the very same issue where there is a discussion of caste, region and number of awards!
On a different note, are the Kannada writers boycotting Karnad since he was not born in Karnataka and also writes in English??!!
He certainly deserves a memorial but I strongly believe it should not be funded by the Govt of Karnataka. It is not about whether he could speak Kannada or wrote in Kannada. But having stayed in Mysore for decades he showed no association towards the state’s language or culture. To me this is not just unbelievable but also shows the kind of respect he had towards Kannada.
If you, for example, take a writer like Kushwant Singh, the only difference between him and RKN wrt to their associations with Karnataka is that latter stayed in the state. Kushwant Singh is a great writer, and makes great sense to build a memorial when he is gone (sorry for mentioning his death when he is still around), but should our govt pay for it? Nope.
Bloody hell! What has Mr. Bhyrappa to do with the episode? Does the great Sunaad Raghuram take pain to explain? And what has Yeddi got to do here? Churumuri is so obsessed with him!
Fact: RKN did not do much for Kannada although he lived and worked in Mysore. He spoke very poor Kannada but that is OK. RKN perhaps found Kannada very challenging; in fact some wags say RKN found real English challenging and therefore wrote in simple English. QED.
Since the demand is for a memorial for RKN using Karnataka Government’s money Kannada writers (most of them) are opposing the move. Clearly you are making a ‘Manga’ argument about Karnad, Sir!
@Usha Kannadigas are living all over the world, and we never face racial abuse, we know how to assimilate with the locals, we don’t get trashed like other Indians do elsewhere.
@Gundaa people living in Karnataka are called KANNADIGAS not Karnatakans, like dutch for the people of netherland.
@Usha We r humans first. Being humans Kannadigas are reciprocating to RK Narayan’s attitude
Kannadigas are not opposing for RK Narayan’s memorial at all, but they do not want mysore palike or Karnataka govt. spending money on a non Kannadiga who was arrogant towards Kannada.
@Ganga Do we have to trust your words or Hampana? he refused to speak in Kannada and preferred speaking in Tamil to a Kannada audience, what do you say? And Girish Karnad has done his duty to Kannada, his Kannada plays, numerous national awards, 3 filmfare awards for Kannada when filmfare was fair enough, no one will oppose any memento on him(if), regardless of his current day opinions.
Also Mysore Palike has decided to spend the money on developmental works in its 64 wards instead of RKN memorial.
Mr. Raghuram is talking through his hat. The long piece of writing is just blabbering without making any sense. And comparing Bhyrappa to Yedi! Have you lost your balance sir!
Instead of RKN, lets put up statues and memorials for the great ex-pm DG and his sons right away, there is a good chance that kannada people will eventually see the light and realize the scoundrels they are and not let it happen when they go away for good from this earth.
churumuri is banging his head ( or her?) and the audience like drramesh,or deepak are not going to change.They are not the people who wake up early, hear the birds,smell the flowers and say how glorious is the day.Their brains are focused on nitpicking,whinging and complaining and it appears from their posts that their day will be complete if they have done one or all of this..Each to his or her own , so long they don’t start throwing stones at my house.RKN memorial will not be for the reason that he was “mannina maga” or that he learned to speak kannada but for the reason staying in Mysore , wrote those wonderful books, brought a smile on many Indians.There definitely are/were better writers in this great state of Karnataka even in ancient times like Aadikavi pampa or in last 100 years like Prof.BGL Swamy,Sham Ba Joshi,MV Seetaramaiah and so many more.Memorials for the yesteryear greats too are in order.Without our heritage of the past, who are we as present citizens?
When ( and mind you, its a when , not If ) in a few years time, the demand comes for North Karnataka as a separate state, then we would be having the same arguments vis-a-vis North vs South Karnataka artists, poets and writers.
The author of this article clearly plays into the westernised Indian mindset that views everything through an Anglicised lens.
I am a Tamilian born in Bangalore. I have taught Kannada to many Kannadigas and am proud of it. I feel frustrated and sympathise with those who are mute spectators to the damage caused by other languages to Kannada. I have immensely enjoyed RKN’s works but two things stand out for me from this whole affair.
1. That one cannot change people’s perception about them no matter how famous they are. RKN is a great Indian English writer. Expecting him to donate his manuscripts to an Indian entity doesn’t make sense as he clearly was disdainful of them and was evidently chummy with the west. Had he made any attempts to mingle and interact with Kannada writers? Merely liking a place like Mysore doesn’t grant him any favours. Mysore was already on the map and he is one of the many greats to have been associated with this great city.
Does it not say something about a man who fails to evince a sense of belonging from his local fraternity. In a wider context, the nation too enjoys his writing, yet stays away from celebrating the person but for a minority that treasure him.
2. That one can also argue, language and culture are the threads that bind us all. The one community that shouldn’t bicker over petty issues but stand tall and show a lesser world the right path is the writers. They seem to have failed in this instance.
For someone who created a fictional town that is so real in our minds, he didn’t bother to learn the language having lived there for decades. This typifies the behaviour of immigrants in Bangalore and so will be treated with contempt.
I don’t blame the Kannada authors for how they feel about this issue.
a simple qn to the supporters of RKN memorial: ppl, could you please go to Chennai and make sure the people of TN or at least Chennai dedicate a memorial in the name of Dr. Raj Kumar at Chennai where he was living for quite some time and he was worth the salt of a great Indian citizen. That probably wouldn’t make sense as DaRaKu never connected himself with chennaiites let alone tamilians. That is why we have the old adage – Be a Roman in Rome. Also, please note that RKN himself had stated once that he doesn’t have any emotional attachment to his home at Mysore. BTW, none of the Kannadigas have the faintest of disrespect for the great writer. The point of contention is – using local taxpayer’s money for building and the upkeep of the above said memorial. Sorry, don’t agree with you all on that.
If people like you who have no idea of what the issues are, call me as nitpicking, then it means I must be doing something good. You say there should be a memorial for RKN because he stayed in Mysore and wrote wonderful books! By the same logic, we must have a memorial for Feroz Khan because he stayed in Bangalore and made wonderful films :)
Clearly you have no idea of what the issues are! Please use logic while talking,
kannada authors had also opposed narayana murthy’s participation at vishwa kannada sammelana. so they are neutral.
what if r.k narayan was not a tamil? kannada authors would have reacted the same but his supporters here would be ppl speaking his tongue.
To Deepak @3 October 2012 at 8:27 pm
The issues are very clear.Should RKN’s house in Mysore be a memorial.Your group says he never mingled with kannadigas, he was arrogant, had not learnt kannada.Good.My answer is none of this is factual and authenticated.What is important is he, through his works, pictured the way of life an average Indian living mostly a simple life and in all these tales he expressed wonderfully the simple pleasures of life and brought smiles and happiness to those who have read his books.Since he spent almost all his writing days sitting in his Mysore house, if there is a memorial, it has to be this place.well, if mysoreans don’t want it or don’t want it at government cost, no issues!!I saying that he is tamil,not a friend of kannadigas especially from people like you on here say from someone ( all these tales have no substance) is utter nonsense.RKN possibly would not speak in public forum in Kannada because he must have felt that he cannot express himself as well as he wants.What is wrong with it? Actually you must feel relieved that he did not murder the beautiful language of kannada with his street learned kannada.I do that most of the times when someone whose mother tongue is not tamil who struggles to express himself in this language.Why make him torture himself if i can understand his preferred language ? Our former PM Vajpayee never spoke in English in any public forum choosing to speak in hindi.Vajpayee knows English, reads writes and possibly converse with his friends in this language.But in a public forum, it is altogether different.Language is a tool to communicate, express ones feelings best.If the audience can understand the language RKN speaks, why make this a huge issue? Guys like you makes it an issue because of your inner feelings which are parochial.I am sure you don’t represent majority well read kannadigas who in my opinion are knowledgeable and sophisticated.Education need not drive away baser instincts, many like you are an example.Finally, if kannada is the language where you can express yourself best,even though you can stutter through tamil and if you choose to express in kannada , I as a tamil,who understand the nuances of kannada,will prefer you speak in this language .It doesn’t mean you insult tamil!!
I respect Mr. Bhyrappa, but he and all those who are arguing against RKN memorial are being petty.
A state in India is broadly made on the basis of linguistic lines, but it doesn’t mean state = language. A citizen of a state is more than just language.
Nobel leurette CV Raman was born in Tamilnadu, Educated in Andhra Pradesh, but was an honored citizen of Bangalore, Karnataka. So many statues, streets and buildings are in his name.
All that – not because he was a Kannadiga – but because he was a great man and we are proud of having him as a citizen of our City/State & Nation.
It’ll be a pity if folks started objecting to honor to all such great achievers on petty grounds like which language they spoke or which community they belonged to!!
Your points are really good and well expressed. But unfortunately you are all wrong. On one hand you say everything said about RKN is factually wrong, on the other hand you say RKN did not speak in Kannada because he felt he could not express himself well. How do you know that? Were you the right hand man of RKN?
Take the example of actress Pooja Gandhi, who despite being a non-Kannadiga does an excellent job of speaking in Kannada though she is not very fluent. On the other hand look at a localite Ramya who acts as though she is a Britisher by birth. It is not about parochialism dear, it is about customs. When in Rome, do as the Roman do. RKN never did that, which is why voices are being raised opposing NOT HIM or THE MEMORIAL, but the fact that the memorial should be built by MUDA.
It is the right of the great writers to express their opposition and it is the right of readers on churumuri to support them. If you call everyone parochial, then in turn you will be called fascist.
So what is the responsibility of a immigrant who chooses to settle down in Karnataka…what should be expected of him/her in terms of assimilation with the locals, respect for their language, culture etc. Mind you, Karnataka has always welcomed outsiders with open arms. We have people like Mr.Manivannan who is also a Tamil and who has assimilated very well with Mysore and is doing exemplary work as a bureaucrat. We also have examples of Chiranjeevi singh, Vinay Kumar singh who have assimilated very well with locals. I do not see anything special about RKN…there were other equally notable authors from a different states who have done yeoman service for kannada literature (Na Kasturi – Malayalee, Masti – Tamil, DR Bendre- Marathi, etc). As far as I know CV Raman did not have any aversion to learning or speaking in Kannada.
@harkol, Sir CV Raman spoke fluent Kannada and no one have had opposed on anything in his name, and no one would do so in the future.
I pity you, other than this there is nothing in your 10 lines.
Agree with you. CV Raman was a giant in science and a Nobel laureate. But RKN’s achievements are modest and it relates to his contribution in cultural space. As Deepak observed, we should honor Firoz Khan the same way. QED.
To all those clamoring for RKN memorial using government money: RKN was a disconnect as far as local culture was concerned. Please find private contributions and build RKN memorial. QED.
Nags: Interestingly Chennai currently has a Kannadiga Chief Minister and their biggest Superstar is a Kannada Speaking Marathi man!!
Churumuri is run by a group of “Tarle nan maklu”…
Gretest service to RKN was done by Shankar Nag.. by adopting Malgudi days into a teleserial.. He is revered by Kannadigas all over as a Kannadiga even though he was of Konkani heritage.. He is reverd by all including the uneducated auto drivers.. that is something called identifying with a culture..
DB, Agree with you, though you need to state what you are proving first, before pronouncing QED left, right and center :)
Whether the guy spoke kannada or swahili is a secondary matter.
It would be better if the government used taxpayers’ money to help public get better access to quality cultural and artistic experiences. Even the infamous bird-on-top-of-turtle-on-top-of-rhino-on-top-of-elephant is a feeble step in this direction.
However making a memorial of a dead guy’s old home and letting it collect dust just shows our laziness and lack of imagination. That too when it is clear what the dead guy would have to say about the government’s effort if he were alive.
Even as a nominated Rajya Sabha member, he hardly did anything worthwhile or worth remembering for the place of his abode.
This article makes no sense. What does Yeddi have to do with anything here?
Does RK Narayan really need a memorial? Do we people of the state oppose a state-sponsored memorial to a pan-Indian writer just because he “didn’t do enough” for the state? Isn’t it enough that he did something that directly or indirectly contributed to the literature of the country as a whole? But does that mean it’s the Central Government’s responsibility? What if the State decides that it does want to create a memorial for a national icon? Is that wrong? Isn’t the state a part of the country? And so what if other neighboring states are more narrow-minded than ours? Does that mean we go down to their level, or do we rise above their way of thinking?
Different people will have different opinions, and there is certainly nothing wrong with voicing an opinion or opposition to a proposal that makes use of public funds.
Though I think we’re better served opposing the way most of our elected representatives “use” a LOT more of our public money! :)
Adithya: Thanks for the Pity – glad there is one thing you can be liberal with!! Would love to see any factual reference from you on CV Raman speaking fluent Kannada. AFAIK, he spoke in English and Tamil.
Others against RKN memorial:
To a govt. it shouldn’t matter what language/Class/Religion/Culture a person belongs to as long as he is a honored citizen of a state/country. If they can honor the achievements of a citizen in Kannada literature, they should do so for english, Hindi or Sanskrit.
If govt. can honor someone for Carnatic Classical achievement, they should do the same for Hindustani or any other musical art form.
Just because a citizen doesn’t belong to the majority community (linguistic or otherwise), It makes him no less a citizen of that state/country and it doesn’t demean his achievements. We honor a citizen for his achievements not his narrower identity. If we did, it only shows narrowness of our mind – not his stature.
Pakistan disowned Dr. Abdus Salam – their only Nobel prize winner – because he was a Ahmadi (Not a ‘pure’ Muslim). Their justification was same as most comments I see here – He was ‘culturally’ not a Pakistani and didn’t deserve the honor of Pakistani state!!!
A similar narrow mindedness doesn’t behoove us.
Just checked my copy of C.V. Raman Biography (by Uma Parameswaran) and it makes no reference to him speaking any other language than English and Tamil.
In fact, it states that at times he spoke a hybrid language that involved a mixture of english and tamil!!
Apparently CV Raman’s wife spoke Hindi & Bengali. Mahatma Gandhi’s close associate Mahadev Desai states in the Biography an incident where CV Raman met Mahatma Gandhi, and his wife Lokam spoke to Gandhi in Hindi, and CV Raman Asked Gandhi if his wife’s Hindi is any good – and Gandhi said “as good as your science”!! Raman told Gandhi that she also spoke Bengali as they lived in calcutta for a while, but he couldn’t.
Would be grateful if you can provide me any reference material that says Raman spoke fluent Kannada.
harkol, obviously if you read a book written by a tamilian about a tamilian
you’ll find info only about tamil & hybrid tamil. there is a reason why he chose to spend his retire life neither in chennai nor in Kolakata but in Bengaluru. 10 acres of land for Raman Research Institute next to Tata institute, IISC, was GIFTED to him by a Kannadiga KrishnaRaja Wadiyar IV the Maharaja of Mysore. Sir CV Raman knew Kannada and I’ve seen it on tv, you just blah blah.
And If chennai or tamilnadu whatever, if they have a Kannadiga, you’re wrong she is a Tamil Brahmin who speaks Kannada, CM it’s good for them because she is fluent in Tamil, Kannada, English, Telugu and Hindi, and the kannada spekaing marathi actor, chuck it.
Your example of Pakistan scientist being disowned by stae is flawed example. The pakistan scientist belonged to ahmadi sect and didn’t do anything to upset the locals. The ahmadis are hounded in that country based on the differences in their beliefs, religious one. He is not the only one , all ahmadis suffer discrimination. To equate such hatredness,to kannadigas opposition to government funding of memorial is exagerration, a la racist tag put by the author. Its not the outsider- insider issue, its the attitude of the author which hurt the locals. The ahmadis are peace loving, educated and modern muslims unlike the traditional backward ones.
Harkol, you appear to me as a person seeking true answers not the gobblelian half truths which an average person falls for like many ( this forum kannadigas are definitely an exception from the sophisticated kannadigas) of this forum.Narrow mindedness and greed are the bane of humans especially so of hindu Indians who have found fantastic way of dividing ourselves in so many meaningless ways.We have hindu scriptures/epics/baghavadgita which promotes truth,harmony,generosity,respect for all knowledge and elders and piety but do the Indians realise this? Scraping through each day in a mediocre way seems to have satisfied many, alas the “questioning mind” is out of their thinking process.Many indians could have just existed as cattle.At least the cattle is not out for any mischief.
T.P. Kailasam was with M.K. Gandhi in Bangalore; while Pittil Chowdiah was playing; Gandhi commented to T.P.K. that Chowdiah was playing fine.
T.P.K. to M.K.Gandhi: But Bapu you are a Non-Violinist, and he just a Violinist.
Harkol -> excellent response and i wonder how mannina magas respsond to your comments who are completely devoid of logic and filled with paranoia.
There are memorials for the war-mongering Non-Kannadiga Kings who tried to impose their alien languages on poor Kannadigas. These memorials are still being maintained at Govt. expense. That being so, what is wrong in the Govt. spending a mere crore on a memorial for RKN?
I commend Harkol for the clarity of his thoughts.
I wonder if there is some politics behind the protest led by the so-called intellectual writers like Bhyrappa, etc.
“for Narayan to be able to write not four but perhaps forty thousand or four hundred thousand lines in English…… is a decent enough reason to remember him”
what a criterion! enu abbara enu usabari. churumuri na katthemari na ? hesaru change maadri.
I dont want to be reminded of a blog which calls me racist and ‘unenglish’ next time i eat churumuri.
Adithya: About 20 years back, I worked on a project within IISc campus and have visited CV Raman Institute many times. I am aware of its History.
But, Let us decide who is doing ‘blah blah’??
1. I didn’t say Raman didn’t speak Kannada – I just asked you a question about a verifiable reference of CV Raman speaking Kannada.
What have you seen on TV? When & in which program did you see this? Raman Died in 1970, and I can’t find any footage of him.
2. Should a Biography be dismissed because it was written by a Tamilian? And how do you qualify this author as a Tamilian? She was brought up in Jabalpur, studied mostly in US and works/lives in Canada and has always written in English. She writes about incidents where folks speak in Hindi or other languages, but she would hide Kannada?!! Why?
3. You also say Jayalalitha is a Tamilian because she was born to Tamilians. So her linguistic identity is by birth?
Jayalalitha was born to an Iyengar family in Melukote. Iyengars of Mandya are primarily known for their Sanskrit expertise, but most of them speak Kannada (having settled in Mysore over 250years back). Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar (again of Tamil origin hundreds of years back) is one of most famous Kannada Authors.
The logic of Ahmedis holds good in this case, because the argument against RKN is basically the same. The Majority Sunni Muslim community felt insulted that he being a ‘non muslim’ (by definition of Pakistani law) used to call himself a muslim & quote from Quran etc. They felt he isn’t one among them because he wasn’t a sunni-muslim.
Substitute the religion with language, and you have the same argument about RKN.
Agreeably the level of discrimination in Pakistan is huge, and Abdus Salam had a far greater achievement than RKN – but my question is why should we discriminate even a little bit on narrow sectarian grounds?
It is not my case that Govt. should fund any Memorial. But, opposing it only because he is not a Kannadiga is narrow minded and against the spirit of our country or humanity.
@harkol – your logic is unimpeachable. But just one point, I don’t think Bhyrappa and Co. opposed the memorial because RKN was a Tamilian!! They opposed it because of his lack of contribution to Kannada and his supposed refusal to adapt himself to the local culture. I would be very interested to know your view on this.
Regarding ‘aversion to learning Kannada’: I wonder if CV Raman or RKN ever made even a conscious effort to learn Kannada. People of great skill do so by by learning/practicing their skill constantly. They rarely distract from what rouses their passion. If Kannada language wasn’t one of their passion – Would you hold it against them?
Your opinion of RKN not being great is welcome, just as others opinions that he is great. That is not in discussion here.
If folks objected to RKN memorial because he wasn’t ‘great enough’ author, I have no quarel. My problem is entirely with narrow minded ‘kannadiga’ definition for an honor.
You raised an interesting point about what are the responsibilities of an immigrant in a society. I haven’t given much thought about it.
But, I myself am an immigrant to Bangalore (From Mangalore), and then having lived for short while in Mumbai & Hyderabad – Here is what I feel:
It is best to learn passable local language & customs to interact and mingle with locals – only for the purpose of having better convenience for oneself. If you can’t then your life becomes miserable at times. You may not ever become a scholar in local language, and that’s ok.
Now, Consider case being made against RKN:
1. He didn’t speak ‘fluent’ local language (Kannada), so he is foreign.
I don’t know if this is true, but even if he knew passable Kannada to get by, i’d say he had integrated with local folks. One doesn’t have to be fluent or know ‘shuddha Kannada’ to live in a city. In fact, I haven’t heard ‘Shuddha Kannada’ in Bangalore – except in some TV literature programs.
I managed with mixed Hindi and barely passable Telugu in Mumbai & Hyderabad.
2. RKN didn’t do anything for ‘Kannada’!
Can’t understand why an English scholar, who would spend a lifetime perfecting his English skills, would do scholarly work in Kannada!! Would one ask Sir Raman why he restricted himself to Physics and not work on Maths? Would you hold it against them?
3. RKN insulted locals & Kannada.
I haven’t seen or read any instances of that. On contrary, I’d say he has done great service to Karnataka by putting local culture on international map.
Disclosure – I haven’t read much of RKN’s work. I studied in a Kannada Medium till PUC. I can speak and write Kannada well enough, Though my first language in school was Sanskrit – But, I am not a Kannada scholar.
I hope my Kannada skills won’t be the true test of my citizenry of Karnataka or that of my achievements.
Just a thought. All the major dramatis personae (exceptions in the end) in this discussion seem to belong to a particular caste which has historically looked down upon all others. Apart from the fact that he was a Tamilian, another reason why he doesn’t deserve a memorial is because he belonged to “that” caste. A few exceptions here are Mohandas, the Maharajas, and Ambarish’s gramps.
First, I think that RKN definitely deserves a memorial. There should be no questions about that. I don’t think there should be a debate about that. To say that RKN does not deserve a memorial is a very narrow minded view.
One point has been drowned out in all this noise. Why did a person who lived close to 50 years in Mysore not learn Kannada?
Don’t take this question as an accusation. I am just curious. I genuinely want to know.
Why did a person who lived amongst a people for half a century not learn their language?
Angry Young Man:
If you lived in a city for 50 years, you’ll have passable local language (unless you are mentally challenged), but not expertise in local language – unless you made an effort to acquire that expertise..
I suspect (but am not sure) RKN spoke Kannada, but not ‘Shuddha Kannada’ or not with utter fluency – so perhaps he avoided speaking Kannada most of the time.
But, the question is entirely misplaced in context of discussion.
Consider this: There are many folks in Mangalore, who can’t/don’t speak (or fluently speak) the ‘majority’ language “Tulu” – primary language of Mangalore. But, still they are no less Mangaloreans. When Idinabba (Mother toungue is Beary language) was honored for his Kannada contribution, Mangaloreans were proud – They were not cribbing about how he didn’t contribute to Tulu!!
Lot of folks assume Karnataka = “Kannada Nadu”.
But, it is also Kodava Nadu, Tulu Nadu, Konkani Nadu, English Nadu (Anglo-Indians are Indians). Similarly it also is Tamilu-Nadu, Telugu-Nadu, Malayala-Nadu, Hindi Nadu etc.
This is a unpalatable truth for many Kannada Chauvinistic folk.
Angry Young Man,
Precisely what you have questioned about RKN is the moot point, and hence the opposition, let alone his contribution to the karmabhoomi. Its the flipping attitude of the author which is disgusting. To us it is attitude above any talent. Once again who ever want to build a memorial can do so without the tax payers money.
It’s pathetic to see you make excuses for RKN’s inability to speak in Kannada. Kannada dalli ondu gade helthini kelee-“vallada gandige benyaga koodala anth”. Living in far away India, where english is at best pedestrian, he and a lot many strain every sinew in their body to master the english language, where as they have such contempt for the native language. You can’t get more pitiable than that. Even the english would not honour anyone with such attitude.
I don’t understand why you are brining other languages here, the opposition is not for his origins, but for his attitude towards native language of the state. I would hold the same for any accha kannadiga as well.
I already made my views known on the subject. You won’t grudge an award to Mahatma Gandhi, because he was no good at science, or he never contributed anything to some other discipline.
You honor him for what he was good at.
Oh dear.. this is why we are still third-world. We are simply incapable of going beyond our petty language, caste, state borders and allowing people to chase their dreams and flourish. We want everyone to conform to our narrow caste-language-community-religious boxes, and don’t dare get out or try something new.
RKN wrote in some language, so what if it had been French or Urdu? He would still be a great writer. No… noo…. we will blacklist him and label him and banish him instead of appreciating his wit and wisdom.
>”vallada gandige benyaga koodala anth”
That’s exactly it. Bhyrappa & folks here are finding fault where there is none. Because they are petty, they find faults in the man.
You keep talking of his ‘attitude’ to native language? That brings in other languages. Check Officers (police/civil servants) of Karnataka Govt. stationed in Mangalore for a while, if they can speak a decent sentence in Tulu, and you’ll realize why it isn’t that important.
Languages are meant to communicate – not to become a tool of chauvinism.
>such contempt for the native language
If it is just that he didn’t care to learn Kannada or write in Kannada, despite it being majority language, then let us figure this:
The Majority religion of Karnataka is Hindu, so would you say the Muslims of Karnataka are insulting Karnataka by being Muslim and not following Hindu faith and contributing to Hindu faith?
And a muslim should not be honored in Karnataka if he writes in urdu/hindi, because he hasn’t contributed to Kannada or can’t speak ‘fluent’ kannada? Or a Konkani christian or Chritian Anglo Indian families who belong here for a few generations, but speak English/Konkani?
Purandara dasa said “Kulada neleyanenadaru Ballira Ballira”. Same holds good for languages, religions or any other classification.
If RKN ever insulted Kannada, do enumerate exactly what was that insult? I ask this because I truly don’t know.
>>He didn’t speak ‘fluent’ local language (Kannada), so he is foreign.>>
Forget about fluency in speaking Kannada did he even speak passable Kannada…and what is with disdain comment that he has nothing to do with Kannada at Dharmasthala(as quoted by some commenter).
>>RKN didn’t do anything for ‘Kannada’!
No he need not do anything for Kannada. For that matter I see a lot of Tamils on this forum who have come here to earn a living but still continue to denigrate the local language,culture and people. My simple suggestion to them would be please go back where ever you came from…you should not force yourself to live in a place you hate so much among the people you despise….
>> RKN insulted locals & Kannada.
I haven’t seen or read any instances of that. On contrary, I’d say he has done great service to Karnataka by putting local culture on international map.>>
Please refer to my first point above. In fact I would argue that RKN’s work has reached a wider audience when it was produced as a teleserial by Shankar Nag…in that sense Shankar Nag deserves a memorial in Chennai for making RKN’s work popular worldwide (incidentally the serial was produced by a kannadiga turned tamil…narasimhan…there you have assimilation of a tamil with locals unlike RKN :) ). I have read all the works of RKN…and I would say it is mediocre at best nothing to gloat about as if it is the next best thing to have happened to english language after Shakespeare.
>>I hope my Kannada skills won’t be the true test of my citizenry of Karnataka or that of my achievements.>>
For all practical purposes you ARE a kannadiga even though your mother tongue happens to be Tulu. The same was true for Masti, Bendre, TP Kailasam, G P Rajaratnam etc…The key is in assimilation with the locals….here is a bonus question for you…why is there no grouse against Malayalees or Telugu’s in Karnataka…why is it only against Tamils….something to think over.
Thanks for your certificate that I am a ‘kannadiga’.
So, Your argument is – If in karnataka someone doesn’t speak/contribute to Kannada then they are to be banished from all honor.
Would you say that about 15% minority population of Karnataka, who have a Hindi/Urdu/Konkani as their mother tongue?
Would you say the same thing about a Kannadiga who is in other part of India??
What is the difference between you and those who call Hindi as “Rashtra Bhasha”? Hindi is the largest native language (41%) of the nation, not much less than Kannada natives in Karnataka (64%).
So, What if those folks demanded any non-hindi speaker/contributor be barred from Bharat Ratna?? Why should 36% non native Karnataka citizens be denied of their rightful place?
I feel, If RKN was a great author or not isn’t for us to decide, far more accomplished folks have honored him, and he has been nominated for Nobel prize a few times.
>why is it only against Tamils
hmm.. Pehaps Cauvery? I honestly don’t know. I have been to Tamilnadu many times, I do find quite a lot of them are chauvinistic, brash.
But, I never thought we need to mimic them or compete with them!!
@harkol — Kula kula kulavendu …. was kanakadasa and not purandaradasa if I am right?
It indeed is! Got it wrong. Thanks for correcting.
The preists in Udupi kept Kanaka outside because he wasn’t a Brahmin, and some high priests of Kannada are trying to Keep out RKN because he isn’t a ‘kannadiga’.
>>So, Your argument is – If in karnataka someone doesn’t speak/contribute to Kannada then they are to be banished from all honor.>>
Where did I say this….all I am saying is you cannot live in isolation forever in a place where you have chosen to settle down for better or worse…if not you, your progeny is bound to learn the local language/custom and may even eventually marry a local person…so why not you do it yourself and set a role model for your kids..
>>Would you say that about 15% minority population of Karnataka, who have a Hindi/Urdu/Konkani as their mother tongue?>>
How many of these 15% show aversion to learning/speaking in Kannada…I know a lot of hindi/urdu/konkani speaking people who can converse fluently in Kannada…it is about the attitude and having a open mind and not so much about what you speak at home.
>>What is the difference between you and those who call Hindi as “Rashtra Bhasha”? Hindi is the largest native language (41%) of the nation, not much less than Kannada natives in Karnataka (64%).
So, What if those folks demanded any non-hindi speaker/contributor be barred from Bharat Ratna?? Why should 36% non native Karnataka citizens be denied of their rightful place?>>
Hindi is “Administrative language”. In fact, there is a 3 language formula adopted by the center which says Hindi,English and local language can be used for administrative purpose. As per this formula a non-hindi speaker is expected to learn hindi as a subject (which is being done in south) and hindi speaker has to learn a non-hindi language (kannada, marathi, telugu etc…which unfortunately is not enforced in north indian schools). You are talking about Bharat Ratna right not Hindi Ratna…and as long as non-hindi speaking states are a part of bharat, this question does not arise.
>>I do find quite a lot of them are chauvinistic, brash.
But, I never thought we need to mimic them or compete with them!! >>
I do not care how they behave in their own state…but when they come here let them have an open mind and try to assimilate with locals instead of living in isolation….and hell we are not competing or emulating them :)
>>Would you say the same thing about a Kannadiga who is in other part of India?? >>
Kannadiga’s going to other state’s do not have hang ups about learning the local language and mixing with localites..so this question does not arise
Your are shooting from RKN’s shoulder to subserve your personal Tulu agenda. You know how to fish in troubled waters(Kaveri). Sorry you stand exposed.
Chidu22: What you are doing is attacking me, instead of showing any cause.
1. You didn’t show even one instance of how RKN insulted Kannada or that of his ‘flipping attitude’.
2. You couldn’t establish how the likes of you are any different than other narrow minded Chauvinists elsewhere (Hindi/tamil Fanatics or Muslim Fanatics in Pakistan)
3. All that you are relying on is ‘alleged’ inability of RKN to speak Kannada or write in Kannada. But, there are people who have interacted with him who said RKN spoke Kannada, though not ‘pure Kannada’ (Not many speak Pure Kannada anyway).
I think it is you who are displaying naked chauvinism without rational foundation.
Saar neevu RKN ge Kudla dhalli ‘Tulunada Kesari’ antha sanmana maadi. That is how absurd you sound!
The issue here is Kannada writers who exist for Kannada ethos are saying don’t spend public funds to honor a non-Kannada cause serving writer. That’s all. Private funds can be collected to build RKN memorial which is the correct way IMHO. This also serves RKN’s beliefs well because he really disliked government and its apparatchiks.
Harkol >> “hmm.. Pehaps Cauvery? I honestly don’t know. I have been to Tamilnadu many times, I do find quite a lot of them are chauvinistic, brash.” ==> can you help explain why you label tamils as chauvinistic/brash? BTW i have telugu ancestry and we thrive in coimbatore for hundreds of years. We speak in telugu and do not shy away from following our culture. We did not face any racist threats or display of chauvinistic attitude from tamils to forcefully learn tamil, unlike what you face in karnataka. There is a huge section of kannada speaking peole too in coimbatore and a sizeable vokkaliga community as well. Mallus are the second largest community in coimbatore next to tamils and we never expect them to assimilate unless they naturally tend to.
Just figure how absurd & irrational your suggestion sounds! Did I say RKN needs to be given an award “kannada siri”?? If a memorial should happen for RKN, it should happen in Mysore, where he lived. I was just saying if he had lived in Mangalore, and was honored – mangaloreans wouldn’t have objected (Though Kannada fanatics would’ve jumped in).
Also – I have no problem with folks who say don’t use Govt. funds for RKN memorial, as long as they are opposed to honoring all famous writers with govt. funds. Or if they felt RKN didn’t deserve an honor because he wasn’t ‘great enough’ (Though it appears RKN has pretty much same stature/awards as Kuvempu, Karanth).
My objection is only about people using Kannada as a reason for their rejection of a citizens honor. I have shown in many ways why that’s nothing but chauvinism, parochial and irrational. If another state/country did the same, the very same folks will raise up and criticize it!!
I didn’t label all Tamils as Chauvinistic/brash – I met a lot of folks in chennai, who were tamil chauvinists. They vehemently argue in favor of an tamil eelam and I found it difficult to argue with them (just as I find it almost impossible to argue with some chauvinists here).
I also found the folks there to be more aggressive in their everyday speech and actions – than in Karnataka/Andhra. Just an observation on my limited sojourns there.
No, i didn’t face any criticism or harassment for not speaking in Tamil (Chennai or Coimbatore). Neither have I faced any problems in Hyderabad, when I spent longish time there. There is far less insecurity of outsiders in Chennai/Hyderabad than in bangalore or Mumbai.
I feel old mysore region (bangalore included) is perhaps is same as Mumbai – because some ‘local language’ speakers are insecure due to large scale influx of immigrants and show their irritation about them., by flexing chauvinistic muscle.
are you trying to convey CV Raman was mentally … because >> harkol Says:8 October 2012 at 11:50 pm Angry Young Man: If you lived in a city for 50 years, you’ll have passable local language (unless you are mentally challenged),>> Earlier this year I saw it on a news channel on a program by the name Bengaluru idu namma ooru, the episode telecasted along or around the same time the info given about Institute of Wood Science & Technology. I didn’t find any thing either in You-tube or on Janasri’s webpage, and I’m still waiting for an email reply from the channel if not atleast with the narrator’s contact, who seem to know much about this, so far it’s sad.
that apart, hegira of tamil brahmins to yesteryear Mysooru after the shaiva-vaishnva spur in Tamilnadu is a known thing but what you appear to be not knowing is that, that which I’ve read somewhere, Kannada Tamil livid dates back to 4th century AD when a student of Kannadiga origin was humiliated in tamilnadu who in turn invades them after a few years with his army as a king. this aside it’s not just Cauvery dispute there are many sides to it like Hogenkall dispute, Calssical Language, bandit Veerappa,Sarvajna statue…etc. on top of all this their meddlesomeness, J jaylalta appears to be enduring conversion hysteria.
Are language and caste same for you? who knows you’re from coast who witness bandh after a quarrel between Beary and Bhajarangi but never stand with Karnataka when it is protesting over Cauvery or Kannada. You’re from a Tulu dominant area of which you seem to be not having any demographical stats, wonder why, if it’s so how far it’s true. Tulu, which you write with the help of Kannada script, or are you guys working on a tulu script like kodvas? which nobody seems to know of its existence except it’s creators and are you guys planning to ditch Kannada script for Devanagari like Konakanis to appear more non-Congregationalist and to portray as Hindian ooh! sorry Indian? I wonder why in ‘ Kannada nadu ‘ where there is Kodava Tulu and Konakani are majorly spoken in their respective regions, dailies use Kannada script? I wonder why in ‘ Kannada nadu ‘ where Tulu is majorly spoken in the coast a Tuluva and a Konakani speak to each other in Kannada, a million dollar question.
I trust HamPaNa’s words who knew RKN personally and he takes pride in that, but he did not admire RKN’s wish to address the Kannada crowd in Tamil, Hampana said that organizers told RKN to either to speak in English or to not to speak at all, fine RKN is an English writer who was mostly well read in India and least read in the rest of the world, why not PM Mannu who is backed by DMK’s Karu sponsor for RKN’s memorabilia and monument in namma Mysooru.
Someone has commented >> when and mind you only when, North Karnataka becomes a separate state>> when that will be, will it happen before a Tulunadu on Konkan coast or a Kodavaland in the Southeast or after, like we heard in this Cauvery agitation, Secession of Karnataka from India, another million dollar question.
(on a lighter a note) in a previous a comment>> you ARE.. i sense a missing S amongst capitals.
Harkol – Thanks for responding. Lot of tamils do not understand the history of the conflicts happening in srilanka and its a complicated issue as well. I do not want to discuss this issue as it is not relevant here. Glad that you were not harassed or abused for not speaking in tamil. :)
Tough to figure your post, so, responding to only points I could understand.
First – let me tell you I didn’t say CV Raman didn’t speak Kannada, I said there is nothing I could find that says he was ‘fluent’ in Kannada as was claimed. If you can find something about his fluent kannada do let me know.
It is most likely that he could talk passable Kannada, for everyday exchange, having lived here for long. Same with RKN, but both of them perhaps avoided Kannada because they were not fluent with it. If RKN used Tamil instead of English to address largely Kannada crowd, that is odd and weird indeed. But, I don’t See how that is an insult to Kannadigas. One can seek insult in anything I suppose.
Second: mangalore is terribly divided on communal lines, with large influx of muslims from Kerala, thus it witnesses violence on that front, mostly from Hindu chauvinists. But not on linguistic lines- having always had large section of konkani, kannada and beary language speakers, majority of mangalorean will speak at least two or three of these languages fairly well.
Old mysore witnesses language related violence because the sense of influx is more from other languages than religion, so troubles here has more to do with language.
I oppose any type of identity based objections or discriminations. If you see my previous posts I have no trouble with Mangalore becoming first Hindu minority taluk in Karnataka, neither do I have any problem in Bangalore having minority Kannadigas.
Tulu is the majority language of Mangalore, check online sources using google, for demographics.
Only an ignoramus thinks script and language are the same. For example, in mangalore konkani is written in Kannada script, but not in goa/maharastra. Sanskrit is now written in devnagari, but it had other scripts before that. You wont even recognise the hale kannada script.
Tulu is a distinct language with great history thats totally different from Kannada. Do some research.