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Row over `Nada Geethe' unwarranted: Shankar

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JAN. 22. The Legislative Council Chairman, B.L. Shankar, on Wednesday criticised those who sought to create a controversy over the State Government's decision declaring the Jnanpith Award winner, K.V. Puttappa's poem as "Nada Geethe".

"It does not behold the dignity of those trying to create such a controversy as Puttappa's contribution to Kannada literature and to the concept of humanism is unparalleled," he said.

Speaking at a function organised by the Binnypet MLA, V. Somanna, to commemorate Puttappa's centenary, Mr. Shankar said Puttappa's works were an extended version of India's freedom struggle. "Though he did not join Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, B.R. Ambedkar and others in the freedom struggle, he fought for the mankind in his own way - through his works," he said.

Regretting that Puttappa's works did not get due recognition, Mr. Shankar said: "If Puttappa had written in English, he would have got the Noble Prize. It is unfortunate that none of his works has been translated into English."

Earlier, Mr. Somanna urged the Union Government to award the Bharat Ratna posthumously to Puttappa. He appealed to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, to make efforts in getting the award conferred on him.

The Adichunchungiri Math seer, Balagangadharanath Swamiji, and the Kannada writer, Sha Shi Marullayya, spoke.

Seer's clarification

The Pejawar Math swamiji, Vishwesha Tirtha, has said in a clarification that he would welcome the inclusion of names such as Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, and Basaveshwara in the "Nada Geethe" by the Government but he was opposed to the omission of Madhwacharya's name in it.

In a release here on Wednesday, the swamiji said there was evidence that Kuvempu himself had included the name of Sri Madhwacharya.

A letter written by Dase Gowda, personal assistant to the poet, on February 24, 1989, said: "Sir, Mr. Kuvempu is in receipt of your letter dated February 16, 1989. I am asked by him to answer it. The Kannada Sahitya Parishat has adopted the poem `Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujaate' as Nada Geethe. A copy of the text of Nada Geethe published by the parishat may console you as it has incorporated the name of Sri Madhwacharya," the release said.

Besides, the inclusion of Sri Madhwacharya's name in the poem could also be seen in Kuvempu's work "Vichara Krantige Ahvana" published by the poet's own publication, Udayaravi Prakashana, in 1987. It was also confirmed through the former President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, G. Narayana, that Sri Madhwacharya's name was also found in the text "Vichara Krantige Ahvana" published by the parishat on the consent of Kuvempu when H.B. Jwalanayya was the president of the parishat. It was not right on the part of the Government to omit the name of Sri Madhwacharya when the poet himself had included the acharya's name in the poem.

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