‘Nage Gowda constantly strove to preserve and nurture folk arts’

Janapada Loka near Ramanagaram is an enriching pit stop for those travelling between Bangalore and Mysore. This museum of folk traditions on a sprawling 15-acre campus not only has over 5,000 artefacts, but also offers live demonstrations and special courses in folk arts and practices.

The man behind this unique venture, H.L. Nage Gowda, would have stepped into his 100th year on Tuesday (February 11) had he been alive. Karnataka Janapada Parishat started by the late folklorist and writer, which runs Janapada Loka, is planning a series of programmes through the year in the run up to the birth centenary celebrations.

“We will kick-start our yearlong events with an inaugural function on Tuesday in his native village Heraganahalli in Mandya district,” says T. Thimme Gowda, the former bureaucrat who currently heads the Karnataka Janapada Parishat.

The yearlong programmes include reprinting the entire body of literary and research works of Nage Gowda, honouring 100 folk artistes and bringing out a book of their achievements, instituting a national award comprising a purse of Rs. 1 lakh in the name of the late folklorist and conducting workshops, seminars and folk festivals in all the districts throughout the year.

“We have given a memorandum to the government to start research chairs in universities in Karnataka, in the folk university and Kannada University-Hampi to start with, in the name of Nage Gowda,” says Mr. Thimme Gowda.

The Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Folklore University, Ambalike Hiriyanna, said that the university too is planning a programme later in the year. “Nage Gowda constantly strove to preserve and nurture folk arts, even though his area of work did not cover the entire Karnataka. He also helped several poor folk practitioners get benefits and survive,” he said.

Nage Gowda, who passed away in 2005, started Karnataka Janapada Parishat exclusively for the study and research of folk traditions. Janapada Loka was born as an offshoot of this in 1994.

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