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Down memory lane

MURALIDHARA KHAJANE

Poet G.S. Shivarudrappa was flooded with memories when he visited Maharaja's College recently

Photo:M.A. Sriram

A FULL CIRCLEG.S. Shivarudrappa: `I got recognition for my first poem on the same dais, where I am standing now'

Room No. 4 of Maharaja's College, which has a history of more than 120 years is a "pilgrimage centre" for those who were students of Kannada literature in the college. On visiting this college , they become nostalgic in this room that has a history of its own.

This is a place where literary stalwarts like A.R. Krishna Shastry, Kuvempu, D.L. Narasimhachar, Ti. Nam. Srikantiah, Ta. Su. Shama Rao honed the literary sensibilities of students. There are sepia pictures on the wall, which hold in them the history and heritage of the place. When poet G.S. Shivarudrappa went to the college for a felicitation and visited the room he recalled how he had listened to lectures of literary stalwarts, and later worked as a Kannada professor.

On entering the room, he took a look at the sepia-tinted photographs that hung on the walls of the department. Unhooking some of them, he took a closer look, lost to the people around him. .

It is not unusual for G.S. Shivarudrappa, (he is just GSS for his students) to become nostalgic on entering the premier educational institution. For anyone who studied in this 150-year-old college, it is an institution that shaped their lives and sensibilities.

Scholars who taught in Maharaja College such as J.C. Rollo, Eagleton and A.B. Mchintosh imparted social values, besides educating the students. But it is great teachers such as M. Hiriyanna, S. Radhakrishnan, D.L. Narasimhachar, B.M. Srikantaiah, T.S. Venkannaiah, Ti. Nam. Srikantaiah, who sharpened their literary sensibilities, expanded their philosophical dimensions and scholarship — all that was absolutely original in nature. Significantly, K.V. Subbanna, Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy, P. Lankesh, G.H. Nayak, G.S. Shivarudappa, Poornachandra Tejaswi, who emerged as the pioneering figures of the modernist movement in Kannada are all products of this great institution. According to the old students of this college, it was Maharaja's that gave many of them a democratic understanding of society and its times.

G.S.S. dedicated every success he achieved in the field of literature over the years, including the recent Rashtrakavi honour, to his teachers who guided him. "It is because of teachers such as Kuvempu, T.S. Shama Rao and T. N. Srikantaiah that I could achieve the great position attained by Govinda Pai and Kuvempu," he said.

Describing Room No. 4 of Maharaja College, where he listened to lectures of three stalwarts of Kannada literature — Kuvempu, T.N. Srikantaiah, and T. S. Shama Rao as a "pilgrimage centre", he said, while Kuvempu introduced him to the finer aspects of literature, Shama Rao exposed him to the land and its culture.

Recalling the days he spent in college, both as a student and the teacher, GSS said literary personalities such as A.R. Krishna Shastry, D.L. Narasimhachar, N. Anantha Rangachar and K.V. Raghavachar honed his literary skills through invaluable lectures and advise. Even after becoming a teacher in Maharaja's College, he used to listen to the lectures of T.N. Srikantaiah in M.A. classes.

Getting emotional he recalls how Bendre and Kuvempu honoured him with a prize for his first poem. "I got a recognition for my first poem on the same dais, where I am standing now," he says, his voice almost choking. He also recalled the greatness of his teachers, who published his first collection Saamagana for which Kuvempu wrote the foreword.

Chintana-Manthana — a symposium was organised by the College, Mysore University. B. Prabhu Prasad, one of GSS's closest friends recalled the days he spent with the poet.Dr. Aravinda Malagatti inaugurated an exhibition of GSS' works and photographs. Noted litterateurs such as K. R. Nagaraj, H.S. Raghavendra Rao, Preethi Shubha Chandra, K.V. Narayana, K.G. Nagarajappa, H.S. Venkatesha Murthy, Chi. Sreenivasaraju, C. Sarvamangala and Abdul Rasheed participated in the seminar and presented various angles of GSS' works.

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