His contribution to theatre, literature and linguistics was immense
Linguist and Director of Nataka Karnataka Rangayana Lingadevaru Halemane passed away at his residence early on Wednesday following a massive heart attack. He was 62. He is survived by wife and two daughters.
Prof. Halemane's body was kept on the Rangayana premises for about an hour to allow his admirers,friends and the public to pay their last respects.
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, Minister in-charge of Mysore district S.A. Ramdas, former Minister H.C. Mahadevappa, A.H. Vishwanath, MP, G.K. Govinda Rao, writer, theatre personality Srinivasa Kappanna, and several theatre artistes paid their respects.
The body was later taken to his birthplace of Alagona village in Chikkanayakanahalli taluk of Tumkur district for the last rites. Prof. Halemane's contribution in the fields of theatre, literature and linguistics was significant, and he was a consistent opponent of communal and divisive forces. Born in 1949, Prof. Halemane did his MA in Kannada at the University of Mysore. Later, he did his MA in Linguistics from Annamalai University, and joined the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) here in 1973. He also worked as Director of the State Resource Centre (SRC).
Prof. Halemane was instrumental in organising the Kannada play Tayi, based on a novel by Maxim Gorky, and directed by Prasanna, in Mysore. When workers of a major hotel in Mysore were retrenched, he wrote his first play, Koneganada Horata, based on their plight. As a result of the play, negotiations with the management commenced and the workers were reinstated.
When Samudaya organised the ‘Raithanatta Jatha' in 1978, he played a major role in organising workers from Kodagu, Mangalore and Mysore.
His Chikkadevabhoopa, depicting the uprising of the peasantry against the ruler Chikkaveeraraya, was a major success. His close associate Ramesh, coordinator of Parivarthana Theatre Troupe, says: “He was fascinated by the history of Mysore and its monarchy.”
Prof. Halemane's Neralillada Manushyaru, a translation of Jean Paul Sartre's Men Without Shadows was another success.
His major plays are Hyder, Antembara Ganda, Taskara, Shapa, Matash Raja, Mother Courage and Dr. Bethune. Vanaprastha was the last play that was staged.
Prof. Halemane also wrote poetry. He wrote songs for the plays Kusumabale and Devanuru Kathegalu by Devanuru Mahadeva.
Basha Mandakini, his documentation of the cultural history of Kannada during his days at the CIIL is considered an important contribution to the cultural history of Karnataka.