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State of Kumaravyasa's house distresses Gamaka exponent

Special Correspondent

Demands inclusion of Gamaka tradition in school curriculum

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

Recognition:Govind M. Karjol, Minister for Kannada and Culture, presenting the Kumaravyasa Award to H.R. Keshavamurthy in Bangalore on Wednesday. Manu Baligar, Director, Kannada and Culture, D. Hemachandra Sagar, MLA, and V.S. Acharya, Higher Education Minister are seen.

Bangalore: Expressing concern about the dilapidated condition of the house where the classical Kannada poet Kumaravyasa was born at Koliwada in Gadag district, well-known Gamaka exponent and winner of the first Kumaravyasa Award, H.R. Keshavarmurthy, has demanded that the Government take up the restoration fast.

Speaking after receiving the award here on Wednesday, he said palm-leaf manuscripts, kept by members of the poet's family, might get destroyed if the Government did not step in. “An open drain flows in front of the house,” he said, stressing the need to turn the dwelling into a memorial. The statue of Kumaravyasa in Gadag did not even have a shelter, he added.

Minister for Kannada and Culture Govind M. Karjol quickly responded by saying that Rs. 1 crore had been allocated in the budget to construct a memorial at Koliwada. But the 77-year-old Vidwan's outpouring was adequate indication of the work not having taken off the ground.

Mr. Keshavamurthy emphasised the need to encourage younger people to take to the art of Gamaka — a tradition of singing literary classics unique to Karnataka. “The Government can look at introducing Gamaka in schools as part of the curriculum,” he suggested. Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya said the allocation for Kannada and Culture had gone up to Rs. 200 crore in recent years. The Minister said that Kumaravyasa , whose best-known work is a rendering of the Mahabharata in Kannada, is the “brand ambassador” of the language.

The award includes a purse of Rs. 3 lakh and a statuette of Kumaravyasa.

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