Friday, August 22, 2014

URA ( 1932 - 2014 ): Quest-full and Intense.

When I joined Maharaja's College, Mysore, in 1959 for my Degree Course, U R Ananthamurthy ( URA ) had just joined as teacher in the English Department of  Mysore University, in which he had studied his Degree and Post graduation. My close friends and school and college mates( also known as three inseparables ) since my secondary school days, Giri and G S Sadashiva, were prominent short story writers at that time itself and in whose circle of friends I always would be there as much as they were in my circles, took me to URA first in the College Canteen and subsequently to his residence, URA became a part my intellectual, social and personal climate ever since. What else! Being part of him is irresistible. Although he was a teacher and we were students, he treats us/everybody as equals and would jump into discussion on variety of issues with deep involvement and fresh ideas with a style that has a magical attraction for anybody who listens to him, and it is impossible not to be impressed and influenced, more often lastingly, or in any case in the initial stages at the least. Subsequently, much later, there were many functional relationship with us as well. When I was a President of the Federation of University Teachers Association, he was the President of on of its constituent Mysore University Teachers Association and together, among others, we used to conduct Meetings and even waged a demonstration and went on strike on some issues plaguing university teachers where URA was one of my staunch supporter. Later on, when I was Vice Chancellor, he came to Bangalore University as a visiting professor of English in the Kannada Department ( the post was vacant that time ) for full one year. He was also instrumental in getting Prof. Ramachandra Gandhi, renowned Philosopher ( also grandson of Mahatma Gandhi ) as visiting professor for Bangalore University.

The close interaction we had was of course in Mysore City, both at his residence and in Coffee House at Dasprakash Hotel circle. Almost every evening we used to visit Coffee House, two large tables were occupied by two groups each, one led by Poet and Professor Gopalakrishna Adiga  where URA, K Sadashiva, P Lankesh(whenever he visited Mysore from Bangalore) and others formed the group. The other table is lead by D V Urs with V K Natraj, G N Ramu, and others with we triumvirate- Me, Giri and G S Sadashiva- shuttling between the two tables. Well known Kannada Literary Periodical, sakshi emanated from the Adiga group and an English periodical with socio-economic and political bent chanakya emanated from Urs group. ( Both the magazines are not in now ). Literary circle there was abuzz with URA, Girish Karnad, P Lankesh and C Kambar, besides Adiga, Bendre, Kuvempu, Kanavi, Putina, GSS and Karanth those days.

It was URA who introduced us to modernity and modern literature both in English such as T S Eliot, W B Yeats, J P Sartre, Albert Camus and Franz Kafka, and in Kannada such as Gopalakrishna Adiga andYashwant Chittala among others. There used to be heated discussion, as we walked from city or Crawford Hall to Saraswatipuram, all the heat by URA, on D H Lawrence to Simon De Bouvir, Shivaram Karanth to Rao Bahadur, R K Narayan to Rajarao. URA always bristled with fresh ideas, deep thinking and wide reading.  His openness, affection and respect given to all around him is something astounding and endearing.

People have alleged URA as an opportunist, sides the power be to curry favour of awards or position. Whenever you interact with him or read his short stories, novels or other works he has written we at once realise  that those allegation fall aside as irrelevant to his genius. His many short stories, novels and non fiction writings have brought light and freedom to many I have come across.


Dr.Keshava SR said...

Good tribute to great soul sir, your narration skill make us to realize not only of in depth contribution of URA, but also the way you adore him.

Thimmappa M.S. said...

Thank you Dr. Keshav

Gururaj Dandapur's Blog said...

Sir,Nice reading this article. On a couple occasions,I had an opportunity to go near him and talk but to tell he was very humble, warm and intimate to even an ordinary and unknown person like me. Whatever mongers say,it is not for nothing he had been cared powers that be...For me,what all he achieved is manifestation of his luminous intelligence.