A portion of Karanth's home may go

A portion of Karanth's home may go

With the widening of National Highway, a portion of Kota Shivaram Karanth’s ancesoral house is likely to be demolished. DH photos

The apprehension that the front portion of the house where the Jnanpith Award-winner, late Kota Shivaram Karanth was born, would be demolished during the widening of the National Highway 66 (formerly NH 17) at Kota village in the district, has raised the eyebrow of literary circles in Udupi.

The littearateurs of the region demanded that the house should remain as a memorial. The elected representatives should work towards it. “When the houses where litterateurs like Da Ra Bendre, Kuvempu were born, have been retained as heritage structure, the same rule should be applied to the house at Kota. Shivaram Karanth is popularly called ‘Kadalathadiya Bharghava.’ After spending his childhood in this house, he had changed his residence to Puttur.

The first objection to the move came during the seventh Udupi District Kannada Sahitya Sammelan held in Kundapur on May 17 and 18.

Sammelan President A S N Hebbar urged the Union and State governments to protect the house in which the legendary writer was born in Kota.

In fact, the house is more than 100 years old. Though none of the Karanth’s family members reside in the house, a care taker takes care of the house.

Another factor is that Sri Hiremahalingeshwara Temple is located in front of the house. To protect the house, the authorities will have to demolish the temple. Hence, the NHAI authorities must have thought that it would be better if they demolish a portion of the house. 

There is a need to preserve the house by modifying the design of the highway and thus give respect to the literary stalwarts. However, there is lack of will power among the elected representatives to attract the attention of the matter to the government, say locals.  Udupi district Kannada Sahithya Parishat President Ambathanaya Mudradi said: “We have already urged Kannada Sahithya Parishat to preserve the structure as a memorial. We will pressurise the government in this regard.”

Litterateur Shantharaj Aithal said “the house should be preserved with its original structure. Karanth brought Jnanapeeta award to Kannada through his writings. Instead of demolishing the front portion of the house, NHAI should modify their design.”

Dr Muralidhar Upadhya said “the respect towards Dr Karanth has not declined in undivided Dakshina Kannada. The government has already built a memorial ‘Balavana’ which is maintained well.”

The house where Karanth lived during his last days at Saligrama has been converted into a trust and has been maintained well. A memorial in the name of Karanth—Kalagrama is coming up at Alevoor in Udupi.  The house has an old wall clock, a swing, the room where Karanth was born, agricultural equipment used by Karanth’s father Shesha Karanth, are still preserved in the house.

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