Melige, a village in Tirthahalli taluk, U.R. Ananthamurthy’s birthplace, was in mourning on Saturday. All establishments closed down.
Melige is his mother, Satyavathi’s, native place. He was born in his maternal uncle’s house.
Rajamma, his aunt, told The Hindu that Dr. Ananthamurthy studied up to standard four in Melige. He used to visit the village every year till his uncle passed away in 2008. “He was very fond of pickles prepared from midimaavu (tender mango). He used to carry a container full of the pickle to Bangalore,” she said. Kelakere Diwakar, a member of the Melige Gram Panchayat, said Dr. Ananthamurthy had a close bonding with Melige. A two-day programme was organised in 1997 to observe the centenary of the Government Primary School in the village where he studied up to standard four. Dr. Ananthamurthy, an alumnus of the school, took part in the programme with great enthusiasm. “He even helped the school development and management committee to mobilise funds to construct a new building of the school,” he said.
Narayanamurthy, a resident of Melige, said during his visit to the village, Dr. Ananthamurthy would interact with people from all walks of life. “He visited the Jain Basadi and the Ventakaramana temple in Melige, where he used to play with his friends in his childhood. Dr. Ananthamurthy also liked to spend time in seclusion, near the river Tunga in Chibbalagudde also known as Sibbalagudde near Melige. The pristine environment of Chibbalagudde had inspired poet laureate Kuvempu to write the immortal lines ‘ Devaru ruju madidanu ’,” he said. In Tirthahalli town, where Dr. Ananthamurthy pursued education from standard 5 to 10, the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Tunga Mahavidyalaya and Vartakara Sangha had organised a meeting to condole his death.Memorial
Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar, who is also district in charge Minister has said a memorial to commemorate Dr. Ananthamurthy will be constructed by the State government in Tirthahalli taluk.
“The writer spent his formative years in Melige and in Ranjadakatte near Tirthahalli taluk. The memorial will come up in either of the two places. A decision will be taken after consulting his family members,” Mr. Ratnakar told The Hindu over phone.
Kuppalli, the birthplace of poet laureate Kuvempu, has evolved as a centre for cultural tourism. The memorial of Dr. Ananthamurthy will be developed on a similar model.
A library and an auditorium will also be constructed, he said.
A committee, comprising senior writers will be formed to prepare an action plan for the project.
Mr. Ratnakar will consult Chief Minister Siddarmaiah and get funds for the project.