Puttur: After two years of struggle of the people of Puttur and admirers of Late Dr. K Shivaram Karanth- the national litterateur, were able to save his fabled house at the Balavana in Puttur, 55 kilometers from Mangaluru. The house which had almost reached point of dilapidation in 2014 caught the attention of the admirers of Dr.Karanth and today their hardwork and persistence has paid rich dividends as the 70-year-old house shines like a new penny.
Dr. Karanth lived in this house for over 40 years and many of his award winning works including 'Mookajjiya Kanasugalu', 'Chomana Dudi', 'Baluveya Belaku' and many award winning plays including 'Garbha Gudi', Domingo and various literary series including 'Bala Prapancha', 'Vishwa Kosha' and 'Kaliyuva Aata' were created her. The House has been restored by the Indian National Trust for Culture and Heritage under the guidance of Pankaj Modi, an expert in restoration of heritage buildings who is known to have restored the building of the Institute of Oriental studies in Mysuru, which houses the original manuscript of Kautilya’s 'Arthashastra'.
The State government had released Rs. 30 lakhs for the work through the Kannada and culture department after a bitter battle of verbal and words in print. In 2015 the condition of the building was so pathetic that it was expected to collapse during the monsoons of 2015. “In fact we found the walls of the house were in good condition but prone to water seepage due to leaking tile roof. But then restoration to the INTACH standards is always meticulous and painstaking as the standards of restoration values every detail, be it mortar, wood, bricks and many other material that went into the construction of the house originally. We followed every thumbnail and benchmark that was laid down in the INTACH manual,” said Arvind, co-ordinator of INTACH, Bengaluru.
“There could not have been a better occasion for the government to re-dedicate the restored house of the great litterateur on his 115th birthday. He spent 44 years in Puttur- from 1930 to 1974 and it was here that many of his books, novels and children’s literature including the Jnanapeeta award winning novel ‘Mookajjiya Kanasugalu’ was penned by him. This a part, he has experimented with film making here.
His first and last detective novel ‘vichitra koota’ was also written in Puttur. His novels. ‘Chomana Dudi’ ‘Karulina Kare’ Bettada Jeeva went on to become films,” said B Purandara Bhat, President of the Karnataka Kannada Sangha, Puttur.
The Sangha was also started by Karanth with help from the venerable patriarch of co-operative movement in Karnataka Molahalli Shiva Rao.
Rededicating the restored house former chief minister M Veerappa Moily showered praises on Dr.Karanth and compared him to the Leonardo Da Vinci and Tolstoy. “I happened to read an article in the Manchester Guardian that wrote about the Yakshagana ballets choreographed by Dr. Karanth. I remember the editors of that paper had equated Dr.Karanth’s ballets with the musical renditions of Tchaikovsky on many counts, especially the co-ordination of dance-music and the interpretation (Arthagarike)," he said adding that Puttur was the ‘Karma Bhoomi’ of Dr. Karanth and it was here that he became great. “ I would rate him much higher than the European masters as the range of his study encompassed the global attribute of the art forms, He was all comprehending” Moily said.
The development of Karanth’s Balavana will be taken up on a larger and wider canvas, he said adding that he wants the Balavana to be developed on a national scale, just like the monuments of Kuvempu at Kuppalli in Shivamogga district, Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre in Hubballi and Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai in Manjeshwara in Kerala. "This place should become a focal point for deliberations on culture, literature, music, Yakshagana and performing arts," he said.
Speaking to Newskarnataka on the sidelines of the re-dedication ceremony, Moily said all the three themes that the Dr. Karanth worked like the Bala Prapancha, Vishwa Kosha and the Vijnana Prapancha will be given special emphasis.
Others who spoke on the occasion included MLA Shakuntala Shetty, district in-charge minister B Ramanatha Rai and daughter of Dr.Karanth Kshama Rau who recalled on Karanth’s life and works.
As a part of the 115th birthday celebrations and rededication of his restored house well-known writer, intellectual and thinker Vydehi of Manipal was honoured with Dr.Karanth Award.