Posts Tagged ‘Rabindranath Tagore’

Seven things Amartya Sen told Sharmila Tagore

4 February 2013

Why do more young people read stories titled “Seven things Amartya Sen told Sharmila Tagore“?

For the same reason that more young people are interested in knowing the pet name of Hrithik Roshan than in politics or policy. Which is, because “the stupidity and the villainy of human beings is overemphasised and the ignorance is underemphasised.”

Amarya Sen, the Nobel laureate, was in conversation with Sharmila Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore‘s descendant, at the Calcutta literary meet on Saturday.

He also said, among other things:

1. One-third of Indians don’t have an electricity connection. When the newspapers hollered last year that 600 million Indians were “plunged” into darkness, what they didn’t mention was that 200 million out of those 600 million never had any power. So they were not specifically “plunged” that night, they are plunged into darkness every night.

2.  India is the only country in the world that is trying to have a health transition on the basis of a private health care that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. We have an out-of-pocket system, occasionally supplemented by government hospitals but the whole trend in the world has moved towards public health systems. Even the United States has come partly under the so-called Obama Care.

3. India is a country where there is more open defecation than any other country for which data exists. Forty-eight per cent of households in India do not have toilets. That’s larger than any other country. Chad comes slightly close but no other country. The percentage of homes without toilets is 1 per cent in China, it’s only 9 or 10 per cent even in Bangladesh.

4. There is so much to be learnt from China in terms of economic growth. But not in terms of democracy… China spends 2.7 per cent of its GDP on public health care — governmental expenditure. We spend 1.2 per cent. When Jamshedji Tata was setting up Jamshedpur, he felt it’s not only an industry, it’s a municipality. He felt I have to provide free education, free health care for everyone, not only my employees but anyone in the neighbourhood.

5. China wouldn’t be a country to learn about democracy from but Brazil could be, Mexico could be. Good efficient public services with cooperation of the unions is very important for any country and since 1989 Brazil has transformed itself with that. In the same period, India has risen in per capita income but its position in living standards has declined. In South Asia, we were the second best, after Sri Lanka, and now we are the second worst, only ahead of Pakistan. I think Bangladesh has overtaken India in most of these categories, except per capita income.

6. In the 2011 February budget, the government had put in a very modest import tax on gold and diamond imports. And there was such a lot of protest that they had to withdraw that. Because that’s an organised group; a group of underfed kids is not.

7. When people say that this (rape) happens in India, it doesn’t happen in Bharat, they completely overlook the fact that Dalit girls have been violated, molested and raped over the years and there still isn’t adequate protection against that.

By the way, Hrithik Roshan’s pet name, which used to be Duggu, is H-Ro.

Read the full story: The Telegraph, Calcutta

Photograph: courtesy The Times of India

Why Tagore was right and Gandhi was not

15 March 2012

Author, illustrator and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik in Star of Mysore:

“Whether it is the temple of Konark in Orissa or that of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, the artisans have embellished the walls with images of lovers in various stages of embrace. They have been placed there deliberately, to catch the gaze of the devout who enter the shrine.

“Why? To titillate, to communicate, to provoke thought? No one is quite sure.

“One explanation is that these are remnants of fertility rites meant to enhance the power of the temple. Another explanation is that it is sex education for the masses who visit the temple.

“Perhaps it was advertising for the devadasis or sacred courtesans who supplemented the income of the temple. Perhaps they were magical talismans meant to keep demons away. Perhaps they were meant to please Indra, god of the sky, who had a roving eye, so that he did not strike the tall roofs with lightning.

“Perhaps they were merely expressions of pleasure, one of the four aims of life — the other aims being ethics, economics and spirituality. Perhaps they are codes of Tantrik practices, metaphors for deeper metaphysical thought. Perhaps they are all of the above, or maybe, none of the above. No one is completely sure.

“The British were convinced that this was proof of ‘Hindoo’ decadence. Many of our nation’s founding fathers felt ashamed. A group of overzealous social reformers once planned to raze or deface or bury such temple carvings. It is said that Gandhiji supported such action. But then Rabindranath Tagore wrote an impassioned plea that, good or bad, moral or immoral, this was a national treasure that we could not wish away. We had to preserve it. And so it has survived, continuing to baffle us as they have baffled onlookers for hundreds of years.”

When ‘Jaya He’ is not the end but the beginning

12 August 2011

On the eve of the 65th Independence Day, The Times of India unveils the full version of the national anthem, with 39 voices—including Dr M. Balamurali Krishna and Nithyashree Mahadevan—singing the additional four Bengali verses penned by Rabindranath Tagore.

Also read: Say Ee Mungu nguvu yetu Ilete baraka kwetu

Jana Gana Mana makes foreigners uneasy, says NRN

How do you say, ‘Be the change you want to see’?

Who really named All India Radio as Akashvani?

15 November 2010

PALINI R. SWAMY writes: Mysore’s preminent position in the setting up and christening of All India Radio as “Akashvani” has gone uncontested for well over half a century. Now, in the 75th year of AIR, an unlikely challenger has emerged from 300 km away.

A 70-year-old woman has stood up in Udupi to assert that it was her late father, Hosbet Rama Rao, a former district education officer in Mangalore, was the man who first used—and thus gave the nation—the unquestionably evocative brand-name, “Akashvani“, for the radio.

In other words, the claim busts the belief widely held by Mysoreans that it was their townsman M.V. Gopalaswamy (in picture, above) who coined the word after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence “Vittal Vihar” (in picture, below), about 200 yards from AIR’s current location.

***

Anuradhagiri Rao says her father, while serving as a teacher at the government college in Mangalore, anonymously published a booklet titled ‘”Akashvani” in 1932 on the phenomenon of the radio set. She says he drew inspiration from mythology in Kamsa‘s case when an ‘ashariravani‘ (voice without body) predicts his death.

Thus, voice from the akasha (sky) was ‘Akashvani‘, meaning celestial voice,” she has been quoted as saying in the New Indian Express. Her father, she adds, did not reveal his name fearing victimisation from the then British government, as he was then beginning to establish himself as a writer.

To bolster her claim, Anuradhagiri Rao adds her father’s book with the “Akashvani” title was acknowledged and adopted as a non-detailed text book for high school students by the text book committee of the Madras presidency. The book was printed twice in 1941 and 1945.

She also says an Indian Express editorial in February 1987 had doffed its hat to “an article from an unknown writer” for naming “Akashvani“. That unknown writer doubtless was her father.

Needless to say, she wants his name to the immortalised.

***

There are two problems with the claim. First, Anuradhagiri Rao bases her claims on an anonymous booklet published in 1932.  Although radio had been around for a while, sound broadcasting began in India in 1927 but All India Radio formally began operations only in 1936, according to AIR’s official website.

Second, there is the small matter of official history.

Akashvani Mysore has just brought out a 406-page souvenir to mark the platinum jubilee of the station.

In her editorial, Dr M.S. Vijaya Haran, station director, AIR Mysore, writes:

“Dr M.V. Gopalaswamy is the father of Mysore Akashvani. He served as the professor of psychology and the principal of the Maharaja’s college. The radio station that he started in 1935 in Mysore is his great contribution to the field of culture. This was the first private radio station in the whole of India and it speaks volumes of a person’s interest, passion, hard work and the instinct to do good to his fellow human beings….

“For six long years Dr Gopalaswamy ran AIR single-handedly spending money from his own pocket. Owing to financial constraint he handed over the administration to the Mysroe city municipality. Later from 1 January 1942, the provincial government of the Maharaja assumed the responsbility of running the organisation.

“Even then Dr M.V. Gopalaswamy continued to be director (till 2 August 1943). After that his colleague, Prof N. Kasturi was appointed full-time chief executive with the designation ‘assistant station superintendent.’ The radio station continued to function under the care of Kasturi, who was a thorough gentleman and a well-known humourist….

It was during that [Kasturi] period that All India Radio was baptised as ‘Akashvani‘ , a name that has been an appropriate metaphor for this wonderful organisation. The radio station flaunted with aplomb the title ‘Akashvani Mysore’ before its facade. It wafted on the waves and reached the hearts of listeners lending them undimmed pleasure. Later on, when All India Radio came under the administrative fold of the Indian government, the radio stations continued to use the name ‘Akashvani‘. The credit of lending this beautiful name ‘Akashvani‘ to all the radio stations of the country belongs to Mysore Akashvani.

Vijaya Haran’s editorial does not, of course,  say Gopalaswamy christened Akashvani, merely that he set it up.

So,while the parentage of Akashvani is not in question, it is Prof Gopalaswamy’s role in naming it that is clearly under question. Did he call it “Akashvani Broadcasting Station” when he started broadcasting as a hobby in 1935, as an earlier souvenir published in 1950 (and included in the platinum jubilee souvenir) avers?

If the name Akashvani evolved under N. Kasturi’s helmsmanship, did Kasturi himself think up the name? Did Prof Gopalaswamy, who was no longer its chief, have any role in it christening or, as a college principal himself, did Gopalaswamy draw his inspiration from an academic 300 km away?

Gouri Satya, the journalist who is a walking encyclopaedia on Mysore, wrote recently that “a few sat together and hit upon the name Akashvani for the toy broadcasting station“. Was Hosbet Rama Rao among the few?

In the evening newspaper, Star of Mysore, reader K. Radha Chengappa writes:

“The truth is revealed by late N. Kasturi in his book Loving God, page 76 (early 1920), where he refers to his colleague Dr. M.V. Gopalaswamy of Maharaja’s College, Psychology Department.

“He writes that Dr. MVG had bought a mini Philips transmitter and desired to use it to broadcast educational programmes for the common man an hour everyday. After some years, he managed to secure permission to use short wave transmission programmes.

“For this project, he had roped in Kasturi and when he wanted an Indian word for the broadcasting station, Kasturi’s choice was Akashvani and this word stuck for AIR (All India Radio).”

Or was it Rabindranath Tagore who is supposed to have done so “in the 1930s”?

***

Photographs: courtesy Akashavani Mysore platinum jubilee souvenir

Why are they Tamils? Why are they all Brahmins?

13 October 2009

A sample size of three spanning 79 years may be too small to even attempt a hypothesis.

But, thanks to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan walking away with the 2009 Nobel (after C.V. Raman in 1930 and Subramanyam Chandrasekhar in 1983), several commentators are asking why three of India’s Nobel Prize winners in science hail from Tamil Nadu—and why they are all Brahmins.

P. Radhakrishnan of the Madras Institute of Development Studies, in an interview with Shobha Warrier of rediff.com, says that there is no relation between community and scientific work, and suggests that what looks like a co-relation may be sheer coincidence; like many Nobel winners coming from a Jewish background.

Some of the salient points made by Radhakrishnan are:

# Brahmins have the benefit of cultural capital: “In a hierarchical society, cultural capital is concentrated at the top. Brahmins are at the summit of the social hierarchy. Cultural capital gets transmitted from generation to generation. Brahmins have cultural capital. The poverty of a poor Brahmin is only economic, but the poverty of an untouchable is both economic and cultural. That is the reason why where talent has to be used persistently and assiduously, Brahmins have been shining.”

# Social background of Brahmins is rich and aristocratic: “Except in Kerala, Brahmins lived an aristocratic life. Brahmins were the first to take to English education and gradually managed to monopolise it. Brahmins had a monopoly over indigenous education too. By taking to English education, they abandoned indigenous education and allowed it to have a natural death… [Except Kerala] serving society has never been part of the Brahminical mindset.”

# Brahmins picked and choose what they wanted to do: “Initially Brahmins refused to have anything to do with medical education as it involved physical contact with other castes. They took to English education and they were the first to take to literature and engineering which was not science education then. Brahmins were the “lotus eaters” and the leisure class. They had ample time to read, write and engage in cultural activities.”

***

The Nobel Prize scorecard of The Telegraph, Calcutta, reads 3-3: three Bengali Nobel Prize winners (Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen) versus three Tamil Nobel Prize winners. (Ronald Ross, who discovered the malaria parasite, worked in Calcutta besides Hyderabad.)

Calcutta’s spin-meisters however give the debate a more parochial edge. They take pride in the fact that their City, the capital of British India, was the cradle for science than Tamil Nadu.

Much of the research that C.V. Raman did to get the Nobel was done in Calcutta, where he spent 17 years of his life; that the genius of Srinivasa Ramanujam was discovered by a British mathematician, and that both S. Chandrashekhar and Venky Ramakrishnanan, although hailing from Tamil Nadu, did their research outside the State (and country).

But they acknowledge the balance has swung from East to South thanks to the quality of students, the quality of labs, conducive atmosphere for research, resource allocation, and the “Bose Effect”.

For years, Bengal’s gripe has been the stepmotherly treatment of the four Boses—Jagadish Bose, Satyen Bose, Subhas Bose and the cricketer Gopal Bose. The problem, scientists ay, continues  over the allocation of reseources, or refusal of it, for space technology.

“The [space technology] area has become a south Indian hegemony,” said Sandip Chakrabarti, a senior professor at the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences. “All the institutes are located in the south, giving proximity to Sriharikota as an excuse. NASA, in contrast, has spread wings across the US. Whenever we go to seek grants for space research in eastern India, we are told there would be a clash of interests with Isro.

If tomorrow India is divided into north and south, it would take the south barely two-and-a-half days to conquer north India as it owns all our space and missile technology.

Also read: Just 4% of population but 7 Brahmins in Indian team?

Meet India’s newest toilet cleaners: the Brahmins

Brahmins, never quite top of the heap, now even lower

‘Hinduism cannot be saved without Brahminism’

Why go to moon if we can’t walk safely on earth?

28 November 2008

‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high….’

SUJATA RAJPAL writes: As the TV channels show the wild dance of terror playing out on the streets of Bombay, I am reminded of this verse by Rabindranath Tagore.

Today neither our mind is without fear nor the head is held high.

Irrespective of our religion, caste or in which part of the country we live, we are scared to death, scared to be killed by the bullet of an insane terrorist, so much so that we are scared to even step out of the house.

The record of the past six months shows that India is not a safe place to live in or even to visit any longer. We should not live in the false belief that terrorists can’t bow us down by these acts. The bitter truth is they have bowed us down so much that we have stopped believing that things will become better one day.

“It’s a cowardly act”

“We will not tolerate this act of barbarism”

“We will fight against terrorism…”

Enough of these false promises Mr Prime Minister!

How many more innocent people will have to die to make our government realize that enough is enough. It is the time to act and retaliate.  Every time there is a bomb blast or any such incident the government is quick to announce compensation to the dead and injured as if it can bring back their lives with that money.

The catchphrase ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ seems hollow and does not bring goose pimples on our arms.

Can we call our country great if our government can’t protect the lives of its citizens?

It is high time we stop living in this false pride. Whether the inaction by the government is due to lack of political will or the government is simply confused on what to do, the stark reality is it has done nothing substantial to protect us.

Not a single month passes without the news of a bomb blast.

Has our government taken one significant step which is visible to us and which can give us assurance that we are safe on our own land?

Government can spend crores of rupees on a mission to moon and plans to send a man to moon but can we walk on our own streets with pride and without fear? Government should realize its priority and divert that money for the security and defence of the country.

Jaan hai to jahan hai.

If there is no security of life all this progress and advancement in science has no meaning. We want to show off to the world that India can send a mission to moon but not give modern weapons and arms to our policemen. We need to modernize our police force, give teeth to anti-terrorist laws and strengthen our intelligence services.

When USA and UK can control terror why can’t we?

The anti-social elements have already become very bold and their numbers are increasing day by day. Some say this Bombay terrorist act is an intelligence failure.

The terror in Bombay is more than intelligence failure – it is a country’s failure.

It is almost sure that like every time this time too our government will come out with false promises, will act initially and if no terrorist act happens for another month it will again become laid back and forget everything until such time when such a ghastly incident happens again.

The fact is that a common man cannot do anything. This is not a war which a common man can fight. Only our government can fight this war but surely we common men can force the government to act.

We need to start a mass public moment and put pressure on the government to provide its citizens safety of life which is completely missing today.

Nothing else will do.

It is already late… tomorrow it may be too late.

Also read: Civilian security is a joke, and the joke is on you

‘Godse’s way of thinking is alive and influential’

31 October 2008

The following is the full, unexpurgated text of the convocation address made by the Kannada literatteur Prof U.R. Anantha Murthy at the Jamia Milia Islamia on Thursday, 30 October 2008:

***

Dear Chancellor, Vice-chancellor, Deans of faculties, Teachers and Students,

When I say it is an honour for me to be the chief guest in this convocation of Jamia Milia Islamia, it is not a formal statement prefacing all such addresses. I mean it because in these difficult times for most of us, the vice-chancellor of this great University has shown the courage to act properly, and humanely that would have been the correct action by a head of an institution in normal times. But the hysterical attack on him by his critics prompts me to say that he has defended the ideals that our Constitution upholds and nothing more.

Nobody who is sane can defend the terrorists.

Let us not forget that Gandhiji was killed because he was perceived to be a friend of the Muslims, and an enemy of the Hindus while he strived against the violent actions of both Hindus and Muslims, and fasted to make his own disciples in power to give to Pakistan what was its due, legally.

The stridency with which some top political leaders speak now a days makes one feel that Nathuram Godse‘s way of thinking is yet alive and influential in our country. We want not only the terrorists to be punished for their inhumanity, but the political and cultural malaise that gives succour to terrorism to end.

***

I studied in the great Maharaja’s college of Mysore University which had a British principal. This living legend who was opposed to the Quit India movement, did not allow the police to raid the College without his permission.  That was the story handed down by generations of students. In his eyes, the “erring” students were under his care. He was of the opinion that all students were under the care of the head of the University, and s/he must play the role of a parent.

I cannot make this point better than my friend and fellow writer Mukul Kesavan:

I have a son who, in less than two years, will go to university. If, god forbid, he finds himself in police remand for whatever reason (murder, armed robbery, menacing the faculty, fraud), I’d want his University to behave as if it were acting in my place, in loco parentis. I would expect the proctor of the University to liaise with the station house officer to make sure that such rights of visitation as he might have in that ghastly circumstance were given him, to hire a lawyer to see if he could be released on bail, and if the nature of the alleged offence didn’t allow that, to try to have him transferred to judicial custody.

Police remand is a dreadful form of imprisonment in India; unlike judicial custody where the procedural restraints of prison manuals apply, the police in their station-house lockups have a free hand in working suspects over. Any university that washes its hands of its students the moment they are arrested by the police because it doesn’t want to be associated with notoriety or (as in this case) the taint of terrorism is a cringing and wretched institution undeserving of a citizen’s respect or a parent’s trust.”

Prof. Mushirul Hasan, as vice-chancellor, has stood by the traditions of this great University. The founding fathers of this institution were inspired not only by the anti-colonial Islamic activism of Khilafat, but some of them belonged to the politically radical section of Western educated Indian Muslim intelligentsia.

It is important for me that both Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, who were skeptical of the European ideal of a strong, centralized nation-state, built on the notion of  ‘one language, one religion, one race’, imagined India as a great civilization of multiple cultures and religions and yet united in an advaitic sense: they blessed this institution.

Let me quote again Mukul Kesavan to make clear what is at stake in our times now:

When people, policemen and political parties buy into the narrative of a priori Muslim guilt, they run the risk of turning this remarkable republic into an ordinary, ugly, majoritarian State.”

I know how some of my Muslims friends have begun to feel these days. The media is largely responsible for this.

When any arrest is made for suspected terrorism, you invariably hear a Muslim name. Then you are told that the arrested have confessed.

Who will not confess under police torture?

I do not know if I would not confess to acts that I am not guilty of if I am subjected to physical and mental torture. This so-called “confession” is not valid evidence, however, in a court. By the time we learn that the arrested person is not guilty, the damage has been done.

It is an assault on our psyche to be informed everyday that a Muslim has been caught by the police or killed in an ‘encounter’. We never know whether the encounter could have been avoided. How can the dead speak of what really took place? There is a constitutional guarantee that every ‘encounter’ killing is homicide unless proved otherwise through an impartial and transparent enquiry.

Our nation-state does not seem to take this provision seriously for everything is okay if you can generate a mass hysteria.

In my state of Karnataka, I now hear everyday that the “master-mind” of the terror attacks has been caught. If we doubt the authenticity of the story we are considered unpatriotic and anti-national. This surely is the beginning of fascism.

As a citizen I want to ask this question: Why should the media give out names of all the arrested under suspicion before they are proved to be guilty? Some restraint is necessary in a civil society, for, even after they are cleared of their guilt, the damage is done. Many like me have begun to feel that we are living in a nightmarish Kafkaesque world.

The whole nation seems to be neurotic.

The rulers have to prove that they are efficient and therefore I have a suspicion that they randomly pick someone to create an illusion of safety among the citizens. (Any party in power or in opposition desiring to capture power has the next election in view.)

This feeling “safe and secure” is also a momentary illusion, for, tomorrow you hear again of some terrorist attack and of more Muslim names getting arrested. We are also shown on TV channels dangerous explosive material supposed to be in their possession for bomb making.

Do we believe in the much-hyped “Breaking News” of the TV channels? Yes and No. Feeling torn between belief and suspicion, even as one recognizes their need to sensationalize and closely compete for TRP ratings, is itself a mental harassment for common citizens like me.

Don’t we have children whom we want to return safely from school?

The harassed police are also under pressure from their nervous political bosses to find the guilty as quickly as they can. The inhuman terrorists, who abuse the word ‘Islam’, also know how poor the intelligence network in the country is; and the State seems to be serving their interest in arresting anybody who has a Muslim name, for, the terrorists hope to demoralize the rest of the Muslim community in the hope that they would join them, or at least sympathize with them. They carry such attacks in a Muslim country like Pakistan too. This is the story of powerful Bhasmasura, who tries to destroy his creator. This is true of the policy pursued by the USA for hegemony in the world; they have to now suffer for their karma.

The minorities are thus alienated from the mainstream of our nation.

If you are a Muslim you can hardly get a rented house in a decent middle-class locality in the IT city of Bangalore. On learning the name, they are politely told that the house has already been taken.

With the elections round the corner, Hindu rioters—a safe word for the Hindu communalists to mark their difference from Islamic fundamentalists—are attacking churches.

In a Kannada newspaper, one with the largest circulation and owned by a prominent Indian newspaper group, published a few days ago an irrational and abusive article on the evil designs of Christians to annihilate the Hindu religion, which had the full support of their leader Sonia Gandhi. The article was right in the front page, which continued in the inner pages. The excuse was that by publishing the article the issue of conversion had been opened for impartial debate. Some months ago, the same paper conducted an SMS campaign against me for criticizing a communally poisonous novel against Islam by this very author, who has now launched himself against the Christians.

(more…)

Will Kannada literature climb Nobel peak again?

21 October 2008

The following news item appeared in Star of Mysore on Monday:

Noted litterateur Dr S. Prabhu Shankar yesterday dropped a bombshell when he alleged that a North Indian spoiled the chances of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu getting Nobel Prize in literature.

Dr Prabhu Shankar was speaking at the valedictory programme of the national seminar on Sri Ramayana Darshanam, the magnum opus of Kuvempu, at the Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies.

The Nobel Prize Committee was quite impressed by the popularity of Kannada literature. It even had suggested to constitute a committee of Kannada litterateurs headed by Prof. V.K. Gokak to nominate a person for the coveted prize who had excelled in the fields of poetry, novels, dramas, epics, essays and critical analysis.

A consensus opinion had emerged that literature stalwarts existed in individual fields and none covering all the fields. Committee chairman Prof Gokak after pondering had suggested the name of Kuvempu.

All the works of Kuvempu were supposed to be translated into English and taken to Delhi. A terrible catastrophe occured at that stage, explained Prof Prabhu Shankar.

Carrying the translated versions of Kuvempu, Dr. Prabhu Shankar boarded a train to Delhi. But the central Nobel committee had not even reserved a seat for him.

Not just that, a North Indian even threw the precious works of Kuvempu to a corner like garbage. With no place to sit, Prof Prabhu Shankar managed to reach Delhi with great difficulty.

The committee there paid no heed to the excellence of Kuvempu and eventually deprived the great litterateur of the Nobel Prize, recalled Dr Prabhu. “That was a true sad story which had not been disclosed so far. I still feel very bad reminiscing that incident. The callous behaviour of a person snatched the coveted Prize from Kuvempu” he regretted.

***

YOGESH DEVARAJ writes from Bangalore: If this incident is indeed true, then it’s sad to know that Kuvempu missed an opportunity to become the second Indian writer to win the literature Nobel, after Rabindranath Tagore.

The only consolation is that Kannada literature was considered for the high honour, and is an indication of its popularity at the time.

I guess 1930-1980 is the suvarna yuga for Kannada literature. I doubt if we will ever regain this popularity, given that the readership of Kannada literature is depleting day by day, and learning, reading, writing and proudly speaking our mother tongue is not cool anymore.

If every Kannadiga does his/her bit promptly and with pride, we certainly can keep its glory and greatness alive. It’s understandable if the younger (school-going) generation ask what use we have from Kannada in this flat, globalized world. But it hurts when our generation (working aged 25-45) too voice the same and act in a materialistic sense.

Thankfully, our parents were not “super smart” in making decisions for us and did what they thought was right without worrying too much on the implications. Thanks to them we were able to read and realize on our own why a Kuvempu or Bendre or Karanth deserved a Nobel, and not just being told by a Kannada professor or lecturer about the greatness.


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