Following an intervention by Mysore City Corporation

The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has stayed the demolition of a house where novelist R.K. Narayan lived and wrote some of his fiction located in the imaginary town of Malgudi.

The house in Yadavgiri was being taken down to pave the way for a multi-storeyed luxury apartment building. Chowdegowda, Joint Director of the Town Planning Wing, MCC, visited the spot on Monday and directed the contractor to stop the demolition work till further orders.

The move followed an intervention by MCC Commissioner K.S. Raykar.

The contractor in charge of demolishing the building said the work commenced on Sunday and it would take about 10 days to bring the entire structure down. He argued with the officials that necessary clearance and permission had been secured from the MCC. However, the officials directed him to withdraw his workers from the site till further orders and the contractor relented. The property is registered in the names of C.S. Chandrashekar, Bhuvaneshwari and Srinivas and measures about 100'x 120.'

Mr. Chowdegowda who inspected the house said they were not concerned about the material cost of the building nor were they arguing that it was a heritage structure. “We are not sure if the house has been declared as a heritage structure but the issue is about emotional-connect with the place and the house in which a renowned literary personality stayed and hence we will explore what options are available to conserve it, if possible,” he said.

The engineers at the spot said even if the MCC had issued permission to demolish the house, it could be withdrawn and the building licence issued to construct the apartment cancelled. However, the decision was up to the higher-ups in the bureaucracy, they said on condition of anonymity.

Narayan is said to have lived here for more than two decades before relocating to Chennai in the 1990s on health grounds. It had a steady stream of visitors from the literary world when he lived here. The writer conjured up his master pieces from the oval shaped “bay-room” with huge windows through which he could enjoy the greenery outside. The ceiling of this room has been partially demolished while the doors and the chajja of the house have already been removed.

During a seminar held to mark his birth centenary in October 2006, a group of writers paid a visit to the house to imbibe the spirit and flavour of the place. There were suggestions that the house be conserved with writings and original scripts of Narayan or converted into a museum. But the suggestions have remained on paper.

K.C. Belliappa, former Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University and a resident of Mysore who knew Narayan personally said the house should without doubt be preserved. It should be seen as a slice of heritage and not as a piece of real estate, he said.

More In: News | National | Karnataka