After burglary, Kuvempu museum steps up security

Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa, also known as Kuvempu  

An unprecedented blanket of security has been thrown around the memorial and museum of Kuvempu at Kuppalli village after the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the third and second highest civilian honours of the country, conferred on the Kannada poet-laureate were stolen.

Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishtana, which manages the museum, has decided to go for a dramatic overhaul of the security system there. At present, a security guard is deployed only during night at Kavimane, the museum, and Hemangana, the auditorium. Surveillance cameras were installed here only last month, which have been damaged by the burglars.

For the first time after Kavimane was established in 2001, it remained closed for tourists on Tuesday as forensic experts and policemen arrived there to collect evidence. A meeting of the pratishtana would be held shortly to discuss upgrading the security system. Kadidal Prakash, secretary of the pratishtana, said additional security guards and more surveillance cameras would be put in place.

The police have even suggested the pratisthana to allow visitors to the memorial and museum after collecting their personal information at the entrance.

‘Santiniketan of the South’

Kuppalli has emerged in recent times as an important centre of tourism and has earned the sobriquet ‘Santiniketan of South India’. There has been a steady increase in the number of visitors to Kuppalli in recent times. In 2014–15, 1.3 lakh people visited the place.

Besides the museum, the pratishtana in 2011 established an art gallery in Kuppalli where the sculptures and paintings on characters and situations from Kuvempu’s novels, photographs of his plays and so on are displayed.

Kannada University, Hampi, has established Sahyadri Desi Museum where a variety of artefacts related to rural life of the Malnad region is on display. Literature and art appreciation camps are regularly held in Kuppalli.

Jnanpith is safe

Kuvempu was the first Kannada writer to receive the Jnanpith Award. While the Padma awards have been stolen, both the Jnanpith and the Pampa awards conferred on the writer have remained with his family and are safe. Only the photographs of Kuvempu receiving these awards are displayed in the Kuppalli museum.

Pre-planned and well-designed act: Hampana

Eminent Kannada scholar and president of the Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishtana, Hampa Nagarajaiah, has described the burglary at Kavimane as a “pre-planned and well-designed” act.

Prof. Nagarajaiah noted that it was the handiwork of somebody who “knows every inch of the place”. Otherwise, how was it possible for the burglars to identify the position of the CCTV cameras and destroy them, he reasoned. This was a “heinous crime and intentional”, he said.

He urged the government to take steps to contain such “systematic attack” and appealed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to act swiftly to nab the culprits.

‘Incident happened in 19 minutes’

Reacting to the burglary, Home Minister G. Parameshwara on Tuesday said burglars had ransacked Kuvempu’s museum in “just 19 minutes”.

He said, “The police have obtained some clippings of the closed-circuit television camera showing a masked person entering the house.” He said the burglars barged into the house during the time of changeover of security guards.

“The security guard who was supposed to relieve the one who was on duty came late by 19 minutes. Burglars had made use of those moments,” he said.

Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa


December 29, 1904


November 11, 1994

Awards and titles

Karnataka Ratna (1992)

Padma Vibhushan (1988)

Pampa Prashasti (1987)

Jnanpith (1967)

Rashtrakavi (1964)

Padma Bhushan (1958)

Sahitya Akademi Award (1955)

Significant works


Kaanuru Heggadati

Malegalalli Madumagalu


Sri Ramayana Darshanam

Collection of poems




Prema Kashmira




Nenapina Doniyalli

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