Muddana's memorial in poor shape

Society

Nandalike in Karkala taluk is the hometown of well-known poet Muddana, whose real name was Lakshminaranappa. Muddana was his pen name. A memorial built in honour of this great poet is in a state of neglect 23 years after it was built.

The foundation stone to the poet’s memorial was laid on January 24, 1958, to mark Muddana’s birth anniversary, by the then Union minister T A Pai. And then, a good 29 years after the foundation stone was laid, the memorial was inaugurated.

It was on May 16, 1987 that Veerendra Heggade (of Dharmasthala fame) inaugurated the memorial at a programme presided over by none other than poet and thinker Shivaram Karanth.

Now 23 years later, the memorial is in poor shape. Not that there is any dearth of respect for the poet among people. Nandalike’s only claim to fame has been that it is the birthplace of the poet.

The proposal to build an auditorium in honour of the poet came from people of Nandalike in 1956. A local philanthropist Seethamma Heggadathi donated a place for the auditorium. A well-equipped auditorium was set up with the help of the Kannada and Culture department, the tourism department, the district administration and Veerendra Heggade. There is also a library in the auditorium.

But the problem today is that cracks are appearing on the auditorium’s walls, because of poor maintenance. Adjacent to the auditorium is the house where the poet lived. The name plate which said it was the ‘Kavi Mane’ or the poet’s home has now disappeared. Muddana’s kin live in the house. The tree under which Muddana sat and narrated many
stories to his audience can barely be recognised today.

Former Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court N D Krishna Rao’s children have donated six acres of land at Nandalike in memory of the Justice to the government. A primary health centre has been built on two acres. There are still four acres of land remaining. The Muddana Smaraka Mitra Mandali has sought that a sports training centre and a playground be made on this land in memory of the poet, who was also a physical training teacher.

There is a statue of Muddana in Mangalore. The MGM College in Udupi gives away the Muddana Poetry Prize every year. At Nandalike, the poet’s birth anniversary is celebrated by the Mitra Mandali there with the help of the local school authorities. The Kannada Sangha in Moodabidare’s Kantavara also gives away the Muddana Sahitya Prashasthi every year.

Muddana is said to have served in some schools in Udupi district. There is an auditorium built in his memory in Udupi’s Christian High School. And yet, in spite of all this, the district administration seems to have neglected the memorial built for the great man in his hometown. The poet’s admirers are hoping that some positive action is taken in this connection.

Muddana’s works

* Ratnavathi Kalyana, Srirama Pattabhishekha, Adbhuta Ramayana and Sriramashwamedha are his important works.

* The poet died at a young age after suffering from an illness.

* Muddana was a great lover of the Yakshagana. He has composed Yakshagana episodes such as Kumara Vijaya.

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