The km-long procession took almost four hours to reach the National College Grounds from N.R. Square
Kannada and culture was the flavour of the day on Friday, bringing back the nostalgia in the quintessential Bangalorean.
The cultural diversity of the State coupled with the Kannada patriotic fervour filled some thoroughfares of the city during the grand procession in which the president of the 77th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan G. Venkatasubbaiah was taken to National College Grounds from the Narasimha Raja Square.
From Dollu Kunita to Garadi Gombe, Kamsale to Karadi Majalu, the rich folk forms were displayed even as many who had come to watch the proceedings joined the crowd and danced joyously. Among other art forms, Bootada Nrutya, Somana Kunita, Bedara Vesha, Goravara Kunita, Keelu Kudure, Jaggalige, Pooja Kunita, Mysore Nagari, Veeragase, Hulivesha, Kuruvantike, and others gave a glimpse of the State's varied folk art forms.
The nearly a km-long procession took almost four hours to wend its way through the four-km route via J.C. Road and Minerva Circle, frequently pausing to perform before large crowds lined both sides of the road.
“This is among the best crowds I have seen for the sahitya sammelan procession. We are also enjoying ourselves,” grinned Shivraju, a Veeragase artiste who has participated in six previous sammelans.
Star of the procession
The cynosure of all eyes — the 98-year-old Prof. Venkatasubbaiah — was greeted, felicitated and offered tender coconut/buttermilk by the enthusiastic crowd, which he cheerfully accepted. Kannada Sahitya Parishat president R.K. Nallur Prasad was with the renowned lexicographer in a decked up chariot.
The procession, which saw an overwhelming presence of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists sporting the red and yellow state flag, also had members of nearly 82 industrial units, including the State and Central PSUs that have Kannada Sanghas.
With a big fan following, it was the Kannada actors, who garnered maximum attention. Among the star attractions were Puneeth Rajkumar, Shivarajkumar, Upendra, Ganesh, Vijay, Jayanthi, Leelavathi, her son Vinod Raj, Rangayana Raghu, Arun Sagar, Jaggesh, Srinath, Anu Prabhakar, Doddanna, Ramesh Bhat, Gurukiran and others, who were frequently mobbed by enthusiastic fans, who followed their every move.
Starting from the Freedom Park, these stars joined the procession en route and exited soon after Minerva Circle. Television and character artistes also joined, bringing lustre to the procession.
The procession also had caparisoned elephants, brought from Bannerghatta, camels, mounted police, Home Guards and the KSRP band belting out classical numbers.
Stuffed wildlife, including sloth bear, tiger and elephant mounted on the tableau of Forest Department drew the attention of the people along with the chariot carrying Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. The Tourism Department depicted Hampi and Pattadakal, while Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation's tableau had miniature buses of different makes,.
Homage to founder
Earlier, Prof. Venkatasubbaiah garlanded the statue of Bangalore's founder Kempe Gowda before getting into the chariot. He was also felicitated by Mayor S.K. Nataraj and Mr. Nallur Prasad, while Home Minister R. Ashok and BJP leader H.N. Ananth Kumar handed Kannada flags.
The procession culminated at National College Grounds which has seen many public meetings, particularly political party rallies. But never in recent years has it perhaps seen crowds of this magnitude.
An estimated 1 lakh people attended the sammelan over the entire day most of it a floating crowd.