TO THE GOVERNOR OF KARNATAKA, FROM US

A churumuri delegation today called upon the Governor of Karnataka, His Excellency T.N. Chaturvedi, on behalf of churumuri readers, to submit to him a memorandum seeking civic recognition for R.K. Narayan in Mysore in this, the centenary year of his birth.

The team comprised the photojournalist T.S. Satyan, the historian Ramachandra Guha, Sunaad Raghuram and Krishna Prasad. The memorandum contained copies of all the articles and comments carried by churumuri as part of the week-long campaign in April.

The following is the verbatim text of the petition submitted to the Governor:

***

Your Excellency, the Governor.

Thank you very much, Sir, for agreeing to see us and give us a hearing.

As you may be aware, CHURUMURI.WORDPRESS.COM is one of the world’s fastest growing web logs.

Recently, churumuri conducted a week-long campaign to secure R.K. Narayan his due in the City where he spent much of his writing life, Mysore. This campaign has drawn international attention, and the historian and writer Ramachandra Guha wrote a column commending churumuri‘s campaign in The Hindu recently.

We, the readers of churumuri, are astonished to learn that there is not a single monument to perpetuate the name and memory of R.K. Narayan in the whole of Mysore.

There is not a road or an avenue named after R.K. Narayan; there is not a circle, square or roundabout named after R.K. Narayan; there is not a statue of R.K. Narayan; there is not a building or hall or room named after R.K. Narayan; there is not even a University department named after R.K. Narayan. Nothing.

We, the readers of churumuri, believe that a great wrong has been committed on a great writer. And we believe that the time has come to rectify this wrong in this, the 100th year of the birth of R.K. Narayan. (RKN was born on 10 October 1906).

Mr Governor, we would urge you to use your good offices to secure justice for R.K. Narayan. It is not for us to suggest what you should do, but you may like to consider one or more of the following suggestions thrown up by readers of churumuri.

1) The naming of a prominent road, circle or square in Mysore after R.K. Narayan.

2) The naming of the walkway on the periphery of the Kukkarahalli lake in the Unviersity of Mysore campus after R.K. Narayan.

3) The awarding of a posthumous doctorate degree on R.K. Narayan by the University of Mysore.

4) The setting up of a walk-through “Miniature Malgudi” on the campus of the University of Mysore, alive with characters R.K. Narayan introduced to the world.

5) The setting up of a museum, along with a replica of his study, in the name of R.K. Narayan on the campus of the Unviersity of Mysore, so that future generations can see how India’s bestknown English writer in the English language lived and worked.

6) The setting up of a scholarship or fellowship in the English Department of the University of Mysore in the name of R.K. Narayan.

7) The naming of any one train connecting Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (since R.K. Narayan lived in both States) as “Malgudi Express”.

8) The setting up of a children’s library in the name of R.K. Narayan to immortalise R.K. Narayan’s name and to preserve and nurture the innocence of children through his books.

9) Events to be held by the University of Mysore and Dhvanyaloka, or a festival of some sort to be held by the department of Kannada and Culture.

We hope, Mr Governor, that the Government of Karnataka will not be lacking in recognising and rewarding a true son of Mysore who took its name far and wide into the hearts of millions of readers on every continent.

Yours sincerely

The readers of churumuri.

***

The following readers of churumuri by virtue of responding to the R.K. Narayan Campaign are deemed to have appended their signatures to it. Some of the names are screen names that internet users employ.

T.S. Satyan, A. Madhavan, Krishna Prasad, Sunaad Raghuram, Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, Gouri Satya, P.M. Vijendra Rao, R.S. Krishnaswamy, Chetan Krishnaswamy, H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, Bhamy V. Shenoy, Mohan Das Konanoor, Raviprasad P.K., Anupama G.S., Gopal Shetty M, G.V. Krishnan, Pamula Anandraju, Prakash Tumkur, Praveen G.K., Ravishekhar S., Amrit Yegnanarayan, D.P. Satish, S. Narahari, Kozhikode Chandu, N. Raghavan, Dileepa P., N. Niranjan Nikam, Rajnish Wattas, Rahul Bapat, Nikhil Moro, Jeevarathna, Kumar V.S., Rajiv, Suma, Sukhi, Raj, Ravi, Prasad, Venky, Amber, Vijay, Vinay, Suresh, Chitra, Gowrish, Nataraj, Preetam, Prakash, December Stud, onceuponatime, Aatmasakshi, Trinity, Nash, Lazy drive, tarlesubba.

***

We thank the readers of churumuri for taking part in this Campaign, and we hope something will emerge out of this. We may fail, but the satisfaction of having tried is ours. To access any or all of the R.K. Narayan pieces, simply type in “CAMPAIGN” in the Search window.

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37 Responses to “TO THE GOVERNOR OF KARNATAKA, FROM US”

  1. Vijay Says:

    Time for the private sector to chip in as well.

  2. ss karnadsha Says:

    this is the stupidest thing that churumuri has done. if people don’t remember RKN, you have to introspect and find out why? probably RKN was an ultimate outsider to mysore. his works never reflected or touched the lives of people.

    the problem with indian-english writers is that they never address the local audience in their writing. they see happenings around them as simple, standalone, individual tales. they are not interested in the larger, deeper processes of history that shape those happenings. in fact, their writings smack of utter contempt for local history. they write, in short, to please the graham greene’s of the world. they appropriate all that is local to fit it into a rootless pan-world cosmology. so, logically, a star should be name after RKN. why should the locals think of namely a lowly mysore galli after him?

    what has RKN done for mysore? did RKN ever think of mysore as his home and mysoreans as his readers? if he is forgotten by mysoreans it is not by devise, but by a default dynamic. he richly deserves to be condemned to such oblivion.

    also, mysore has seen true brilliance it cannot stoop to celebrate mediocrity.

    sorry churumuri, i like you, but i had to say this.

  3. rk Says:

    Well done, Team Churumuri. Hope a positive action is taken by the concerned fellows.

  4. ravi Says:

    I think only no. 6 sounds pragmatic.

  5. Libertarian Libran Says:

    Bravo! ( clap clap)
    Real nice work.May your efforts pay off.
    Ahh,I would really love the seventh option –Malgudi Express.
    What better than the Bangalore-Mysore express being called Malgudi Express ?
    (Remember MalGudi = Malleshwaram + Basavangudi ?)

  6. Prakash Tumkur Says:

    Thanks for taking the initiative. It will be worth the effort.

  7. Dheerendra Gopal Says:

    Excellant work Kanri …KP and Team ,
    Nanna Seatnaagi Naanu yedh nintheen ree….

    Nammindha yenara sahaya maadadhidre helrappa . Sarakara maadlilla andrunu naavu sahaaya maadtheevi .

    If you are making a trust for any of the above work mentioned . I will be glad to donate also some of our Kannada Sangha members would be intrested too.

    DG
    from Georgia-USA

  8. Hari Shenoy Says:

    As an ardent reader of RKN’s books, and being extremely appreciative and thankful for his writings, congratulations are in order to the Churumuri team for having come up with something so wonderful.

    Good luck, and let all of know how best we can help too, to try and make this vision a reality!

  9. Yashovardhana Says:

    If I remember right, the walkway around Kukkarahalli Lake is now named after Dr.S.Radhakrishnan – “Radhakrishnan Walk”. There is a small sign near the railway crossing on the road that leads to the Oriental Institute. Why would we want to replace that?

  10. Gouri Satya Says:

    Congratulations KP for building a team Churmuri and launching the campaign to commemorate the memory of R.K.Narayan. Glad you took a team to meet the Governor. It is a good idea to name the Mysore-Chennai train as ‘Malgudi Express’. R.K.Narayan was link between the two States. Hope something positive comes through.

  11. Dheerendra Gopal Says:

    KP , Another suggestion/Question .
    Since K.S.Narasimhaswamy also lived in Mysore .Any plans for a similar
    tribute to the great personality ?
    Can we have something similar?

  12. Prasad Says:

    Great initiative, Churumuri team. I’m sure it will bear results.

  13. V.R.Anil Kumar Says:

    SS Karnadsha is all fired up for no reason. Even though Tamilians have always wanted to claim that R.K.Narayan was one of them and that Malgudi was essentially Tamilian, RKN had always said that it was essentially Mysore in its ethos. If you have lived in Mysore for a reasonable stretch of time, no one can take Mysore out of you and that holds good for RKN as well. A great writer who made simple writing magical and who reluctantly left Mysore due to unmanageable circumstances needs to be remembered by Mysoreans with pride. Just remember what a pleasure it was reading Swami and his friends and all the rest of his writing. Let’s give credit where it is due.

  14. BNB Says:

    V.R.Anil Kumar:
    I find it totally believable that R.K.Narayan felt more at home in Mysore, especially ,since during his later years he had to put up with daily visits from N.Ram in Chennai.

  15. Ananth Shenoy Says:

    Good initiative. Really liked the ‘field work’ of Churmuri team. Hope that at least couple of the suggestions become reality. But the whole list was like a Multiple Choice. Should have followed by: “All of the Above”, “one/None of the above”!!

    The setting up of a walk-through “Miniature Malgudi” and maintaining it would keep the memories alive for generations. no greater tribute to a person when his charaters live!

  16. Abhipraya Says:

    Not you too! Naming the roads and walkways is just a waste of money. Make a big ceremony of it and two days later everything is forgotten. Hundreds of streets and buildings renamed after “famous personalities” does anyone remember who they are or what they did? And to render some on like RKN to a nameplate is almost an insult. Pl. do not insist on it.

  17. ss karnadsha Says:

    just not ksn of ‘mysura mallige’ fame, other kannada greats like samsa too have been forgotten. is there anything in the name of a n murthy rao, ti.nam.shri, d.l. narasimhachar, b m shri, venkanaiah, kailasam, chaduranga, nitoor srinivasarao, masti venkatesha iyengar, navaratna ramarao and others in mysore (i am not mentioning the ones alive like tejasvi, devanur mahadeva, l basavaraju, d n shankar bhat, ananthamurthy). why is churumuri not concerned about such stalwarts who shaped the kannada ethos this century? without these greats, the kannada identity and self esteem would have been very low. churumuri being ‘mysore churumuri’ should be more inclusive, not just fall trap to the same old colonial ways. somebody cannot become great just because they wrote in english. yes, they can become famous, but not great.

    in one of the posts someone mentions the ‘radhakrishnan walkway,’ but have they cared to spare a thought for that great philosopher hiriyanna (author of ‘outlines of indian philosophy’), who never stepped out of mysore even once during his lifetime and from whom radhakrishnan learnt the nuances of indian philosophical thought.

    mysore has seen pristine and immaculate greatness, let’s not belittle that tradition by taking up the cause of r k narayan.

  18. erram Says:

    Congrats to churumuri for the initiative. Some day some thing similar should be done for Mysore T. Chowdiah , the great violionist, who is remembered all over in Tamil Nadu and in whose name there is nothing in Mysore. Bangalore has a hall in the violin’s shape. Mysore must do its bit.

  19. jeevarathna Says:

    Just the fact that not so long ago the government changed the name of Vani Vilas Road and called it as MG Road shows how futile the whole excersie is ! Did any one of the Churmuri team even raisd their eye brows then ? Again what is the statue of Jagajivan ram doing at the Railay station circle ? Do you have any Road in the name of Mummudi Krishna Raja Wadiyar, who is credited with the renaisance of Kannada post 1799. By the same coin why not some Road about R.K.Laxman ? If Bangalore can have a Kumble circle why not something about EAS and Javagal ? Better to stop this madness and let the souls rest in peace !

  20. Arun Says:

    Renaming Vani Vilasa Rd is disrespect shown to the Royal family. Naming after RKN is fine, but let us not get anymore of the MGs, JNs, IGs, BAs, etc. Anything significant that is existing or would exist in the future, should be named after any of the Wodeyars, eminent personalities of Mysore. Is it not a matter of pride to read ‘K..R..Wodeyar Airport’, rather than ‘MG/IG/BA Airport’.

    Good work though.

  21. Pelican Says:

    Today’s SOM dated 28 June 2006
    Now isnt that fast..??
    ____________________________________________________________

    GOVERNOR TO REQUEST LALU FOR MALGUDI EXPRESS

    Mysore, June 28 (MRS)- Governor T.N. Chaturvedi will write to the Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to name one of the trains running between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as Malgudi Express, in memory of R.K. Narayan, whose short stories mention the name of an imaginary place Malgudi, during his birth centenary this year.

    He assured the delegation of journalists and intellectuals, who met him yesterday at Raj Bhavan, that he would write a letter to the Railway Minister ‘tomorrow itself.’

    Chaturvedi, himself an intellectual and voracious reader, spent nearly an hour with the delegation discussing about R.K. Narayan’s contributions to Mysore in particular and India in general through his literary works.

    Chaturvedi observed that Narayan could be a major tourist attraction in Mysore like the writer James Joyce whose house in Dublin had been preserved as a museum.

    The Governor enquired about the present status of the house in Yadavagiri where Narayan lived to explore the possibilities of preserving it as a Museum.

    Chaturvedi assured the delegation that he would take up the proposals made in their memorandum with the State Government.

  22. Prashanth Krishnamurthy Says:

    Just the mere name “S.S. Karnadsha” suggests a wimp hiding behind an anonymous screen ID. But with comments like these, he (she?) only ends up convincing us. There are other greats, no doubt, but why should it be Churumuri’s mandate to fetch each one of them their spot under the sun? Maybe Mr/Mrs “Karnadsha” should do something about them instead of trying to mourn their demise from the mind’s-eye. “Katthege yelli gotthu kasturi parimala,” (how will the donkey know the fragrance of camphor) is an old Kannada saying. It applies to those who while easily espousing thoughts in the English language forget those who pioneered and preceded them, and who showed more courage and enterprise 80 years ago than “Karnadsha” can even muster in the 21st century.

  23. Prakash Says:

    I appreciate Churumuri taking a field initiative .I also feel R.K.Narayan deserve to be honoured .But in whatever I have read of R.K.N ,he has never written anything very lavishly about Mysore or the Mysore Kannadigas ( Correct me If I am wrong or not read any particular work)
    All his characters and his references were in referance to the neigbouring state . Even though he physically resided in Mysore and it was his second home .Somewhere he was still a resident of some town in T.N.
    I have seen similar Tamil brahmins as my neighbours like for 30+ years .They always would feel ‘Chennai’ as their home and Bangalore as only Karma Bhoomi . They would appreciate little things which has semblance to things back home .They would only read a ‘HINDU’ etc .
    I am sure R.K.N would have read HINDU on a regular basis .
    Like the same way with kannadigas like me who have migrated elsewhere we first read ‘Sanjevani’ or deccan herald to know first hand information whats happenning back home and then probably read a local news .
    We appreciate a ‘UDUPI hotel’ in our home town or blog about Mysore , bangalore etc . because we were born elsewhere and migrated somewhere else.

    Appreciate your initiative for R.K.N as writer , Also agree with karnadshaw that there are many more deserving kannadigas who breathed kannada and toiled for our language .

    But Somehow R.K.N never belonged to Mysore or that Kannadiga .He drew characters from Mysore but always named them ‘Rajan’ , ‘krishnasaami’
    Mr.Iyer etc etc . Again these are based on my reading .if anyone has a clipping of R.K.N writing lavishly on Mysore or its people please post it .

  24. G N Mohan Says:

    dear churumuri readers

    please watch a ‘putani’ profile on R K Narayan today (29) in ETV Kannada channel in prime bulletin at 8.30 pm. this is an attempt to draw attention towards churumuri campaign.

    G N Mohan

  25. ss karnadsha Says:

    dear g n mohan: besides inviting people to watch the etv show, you should comment on rkn. being a fine kannada writer yourself and knowing its literary tradition so well, one would be interested in your analysis of rkn’s works.

  26. Prashanth Krishnamurthy Says:

    I find all this talk of R.K. Narayan not being a Kannadiga, or not having written “lavishly” about Mysore, or that he didn’t deserve the literary accolades what he got quite hilarious. I wonder where all these exacting standards were when Nelson Mandela, for instance, was being decorated with a road. What is Mandela’s contribution to Mysore? The point is we do not live in an insular world. Mandela’s story is as moving here as probably Malgudi’s is in Johannesburg. What kind of twisted logic thinks that we should only honour Kannada-speaking Mysoreans? We cannot be frogs in the well of chauvinism and jingoism. We need to arise and show that the world doesn’t, pardon my french, revolve around our arseholes.

  27. Suma Says:

    Excellent work. I am proud that i started reading churmuri thru this campaign and i am also the part of it. I wish all the success to this campaign. Congrats KP and team.

  28. rk Says:

    Mr.Prakash,
    RK Narayan was commissioned to write about all historical places of Karnataka. He travelled extensively and wrote about these. You can read it in THE EMERALD ROUTE. It seems he also wrote a book on Mysore long back which is not availble now. I can say it with authority because I have a clipping in my scrapbook on RKN saying this.

  29. Vijay Krishna Says:

    Thanks, Churumuri team! RKN, India’s greatest novelist in English, definitely needs to be remembered better!

  30. thetalkativeman Says:

    Magnificent! Hats off for promoting a stalwart novelist.

  31. S.Narahari Says:

    pherhaps Karnadsha has forgotten or conviently not rembereing that RKN wrote exclusilvely about another Mysorean actor Sampath “Mr. Sampath”. Regarding what RKN has done for Mysore his being Mysore itself is enough
    When it comes to bringing to the knowldge of Governor I happen to have read somewhere that “There may be failure in attempt but there should not be a failure of attempt” well done churmuri.

  32. S.Narahari Says:

    dear prakash, i join rk that RKN was commisioned to write Emrald Route about Mysore state by none other than Sir Mirza Ismail (fortunately by brother owns a copy of it). There is an interesting incident that Sir Mirza refused pay the excess amount incurred by RKN on travel to write the book on Mysore State, I rember to have read about the same in RKN’s Dateless Dairy which used to appear in serial articles in Illustrated weekly of India.

  33. rk Says:

    Thanks for that info, Narahari. I remember reading about Sir Mirza Ismail refusing to pay RKN.

  34. Guru Says:

    As RK Narayan lived in a house in Lakshmipuram ( which was big to the standards of 1950s), best to acquire it and name it as ‘RKN House’ somewhat similar to ‘Keats House’ in London?

    In the same breath, I can say there are other distinguished Mysoreans some mentioned above, and let us not forget Prof Adiga who by writing in Kannada was not as much internationally known. Prof Adiga to some one like me , a Mysorean living in London is to be ranked with Eliot, Keats, Shelly and Coleridge, and who through Navya Kavya genre had great impact on young college students those days, like us -engineering students and my friends in medical schools.

  35. NostalgicMysorean Says:

    It is all very well to have Mysore Chennai express as Malgudi Express or name his house as RKN House.Good campaign by Churmuri.But spare a thought for celebrity authors like Dr Deja Gow,GTN,Prof HSK,ProfCPK,KP Ganapathy[SoM] who really are in the race! You can add many more,though they are all still with us and we pray they continue for many more years.
    The point I am making is reserve roads,circles,walkways,trains etc[are there enough in Mysore] after them, so that there is less of heartburn.
    I take this occasion to suggest naming the new Bangalore International Airport Project after Sir M.Visweswaraiah.Any takers?

  36. Sanjiva Prasad Says:

    I find that the initiative regarding Narayan praiseworthy and imaginative, but it also seems to have raised the hackles of some. Having met Narayan more than a few times (a couple of times in his Mysore house in the late 70s), I like to assure these people that on these occasions Narayan spoke to my father and other friends present (like TS Satyan) in Kannada and English, using Tamil as an occasional flavouring. When translating “Swami and Friends “into Kannada, I don’t think my father faced any problems of translocating characters from an distant cultural milieu — it was very much Mysore, and to him it was almost a process of back-translation (Samuel the Pea -> Putani).

    May I suggest a more widespread initiative that can also honour all the various noteworthy cultural personalities of Mysore (in Bangalore, it may be harder)? A small brass or bronze plaque (can consider other material as well if it is hardier) outside houses to commemorate the places where each of these authors were born or lived at some point in their lives. Inexpensive, non-intrusive (does not involve acquisition of property for a museum, etc.), non-exclusionary and can honour a large number of distinguished children of Mysore and the state, and most of all, bring an every day reminder of the richness of Mysorean cultural history. Every little corner of the old town will be rediscovered to hold so many memories, people will be recalled by at least a few people, children born in a locality will at least be curious to find out about the person whose name adorns a plaque on the wall at the end of the street. Best of all, it requires little or no state intervention (at most a small negotiation with the owner of some house to permit the plaque on a wall). It will also enthuse people to do something other than carp (if you want to honour Hiriyanna, you’ll try to trace his life through the city, locate the houses or places where he lived and worked, and mark them; likewise with BMSri, Nitoor, Masti, etc. And also for the great musicians. etc. Maybe we’d want some “standardization” of size and font, and here is where an organization such as Churumuri can help by preparing templates.
    The plaques need not be larger than a typical nameplate, and give information like
    “Gopalakrishna Adiga (xxxx-yyyy), poet, was born here”
    or
    “Prof. Nitoor Srinivasa Rao (wwww-zzzz) lived here (aaaa-bbbb)”.

    One can put a note to say a website where more information can be learnt about the person.

  37. Ranga Says:

    In England, a blue plaque incribed with the name of person with two sets of years is put up on a particular building/place to commemorate the individual’s association with that place ( ;ived, born …). For example, a plaque appears on the outside wall of a building off Fleet Street to indicate Samuel Johnson lived there between two sets of years. This has been done for Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling etc.. The English Heritage have been doing this for ages.

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