None could speak about Kannada poet Da. Ra. Bendre the way Ki. Ram. Nagaraj could. Anyone who heard him speak felt that he was not only reading and analysing Bendre's poems in the manner of a scholar, but experiencing them at a deeper and more personal level.
But unfortunately, Ki. Ram., the much-loved literary critic who passed away earlier this year, wrote little. What he has left behind are memories of his inspiring lectures in the minds of thousands of his admirers and students. Given that memory is elusive by nature and may not be passed on to the next generation unless it is put down on paper, compiling his lectures would be a very useful exercise now.
Last lecture too
Publishing house Aharnishi Prakashana has started this process by putting together five of Ki. Ram.'s lectures on Bendre in a slim volume titled Matte Matte Bendre. Editor of the book, Akshatha K., has pooled together the lectures from the collections of institutions and Ki. Ram.'s students and admirers.
It includes the last lecture he delivered at Suchitra Film Society on the day he passed away.
Poet and playwright H.S. Shivaprakash, who has written the back cover blurb for the book, says that the book would perhaps help readers understand what made Ki. Ram. and his brand of literary criticism so unique in the entire Kannada tradition. He also says that it is an important step towards preserving and presenting Ki. Ram.'s thoughts to a younger generation, who did not have the good fortune to listen to him in person. The introduction to the book has been written by critic O.L. Nagabhushanaswamy.
Matte Matte Bendre is being released on Sunday (November 28) by poet Chennaveera Kanavi in Shimoga. The day will also see the release of translated works of Nitsche by T.N. Vasudeva Murthy.