Ananthamurthy's death has left void in academia: Gandhi

A condolence meeting for Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy was held at the UGC-Academic Staff College in the University of Mysore here on Saturday.

Speaking at the condolence meeting, college Director Lingaraja Gandhi said Dr. Ananthamurthy was a great initiator of dialogues who believed in discourse, ideas and generating conflict of ideas.

From the publication of his path-breaking novel ‘Samskara’ (1965) till his death, Dr. Ananthamurthy’s writings and public utterances generated public debates on issues that are crucial for culture, society and politics. “He was always deliberately provocative, and perhaps he loved to live amidst controversies,” he said.

Hailed by Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul as the most outstanding work of fiction, Samskara, which pioneered (among other texts) the Navya Movement, has been translated into several languages. It is a textbook in some of the world-renowned universities, which made Kannada literature known globally. The novel initiates an important dialogue between what is ‘sacred’ and what is ‘profane’; ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’; ‘individual’ and ‘community’, and ‘freedom’ and ‘oppression’, Prof. Gandhi explained.

Dr. Ananthamurthy, who came into prominence with the controversies that his first novel generated, lived amidst them till his last, Prof. Gandhi said. Recalling his three-decade relationship which began in 1980 when Dr. Ananthamurthy was his teacher in the Postgraduate Department here, Prof. Gandhi remembered the affection, love and concern he showered on each one of his students. “Dr. Ananthamurthy was possessive of his students and believed in free thinking,” he said.

Prof. Gandhi remembered the great insights with which Culture and Anarchy (by Mathew Arnold), poems of Wordsworth and other Romantics were taught.

He believed in ‘spontaneity of thought’ and his views on all issues were more philosophical, rather than social and political, said Prof. Gandhi.

Dr. Ananthamurthy’s demise has left a void in the academia, intellectual, literary and cultural domain, he said.

A minute’s silence was observed in respect of the departed soul.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 6:40:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ananthamurthys-death-has-left-void-in-academia-gandhi/article6345317.ece

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