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'I never thought I would live to see unveiling of statue'

Last updated: 06 August, 2009
S Lalitha, Bangalore, DH News Service 22:16 IST

Octogenarian sculptor euphoric

'I never thought I would live to see the day the statue of Tiruvalluvar gets unveiled in Bangalore,' gushes 83-year-old Mani Nagappa.

The Chennai-based sculptor created the statue, that is scheduled to be unveiled at Neelakanta Circle in Ulsoor, 18 long years ago. And Nagappa has plans to travel all the way to Bangalore to witness the occasion live.

Nagappa is a fourth-generation sculptor. This 400-kg bronze statue is the second of his creations that would be installed in Karnataka, the earlier one being that of Sir Visvesvaraya.

In a telephonic conversation with Deccan Herald from Chennai, Nagappa said, “I have created over 200 sculptures, mostly of prominent personalities, in my long career and continue to do so. But no other statue has been clouded by controversy like this one!”
However, the octogenarian is now thoroughly relieved that the world would get a chance to view this creation. “I would give full credit to the Chief Ministers of both States for ensuring the event actually takes place,” he adds.

He charged the Bangalore Tamil Sangham Rs 1.15 lakh for his bronze creation in 1991, which he took four months to create.

The beginning itself though was slightly problematic. The statue was originally proposed to be inaugurated by the then Chief Minister Bangarappa on September 1. “As I was unable to complete the statue before the deadline, I was asked to rush a fibre statue, costing Rs 80,000 then.”

At this ripe old age, Nagappa is active and is busy sculpting the statue of former President R Venkatraman.

The sculptor, who has a band of assistants, had sculpted statues of several personalities in the past. Jawaharlal Nehru, Shivaji Ganesan, Muthuramalinga Mudaliar, Dr Rangachari were some of the key personalities he had sculpted. Most of them adorn the streets in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Sangham Secretary Damodaran says that the bronze statue of Tiruvalluvar had been safely preserved in the premises of the Sangham office for 18 years.

“I am looking forward to Sunday and I am proud that I created the statue of this great poet,” he says.

CM-Kannada activists’ meet

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has decided to hold a meeting on Friday with Kannada outfits which were opposing the Government’s move to unveil Tiruvalluvar’s statue in Bangalore, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Speaking to reporters here on Thursday, Yeddyurappa said during an all-party meeting on August 3 a majority agreed on the issue and only a few expressed reservations. “I will meet them tomorrow and try to convince them,” the chief minister said.
The Kannada outfits have called for a Karnataka bundh on Sunday.

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