Little efforts to perpetuate first Rashtrakavi's memory

Literary loss
Last Updated 07 September 2011, 18:46 IST

The name for the cultural centre, ‘Gilivindu’ is taken from his first anthology of poetry published in 1930 and means ‘a flight of parrots.’

Govind Pai (1883-1963) was a prolific writer of prose and poetry. In 1949, the then Madras Government conferred on him the "Rashtrakavi" Award. His literary works "Golgotha", "Vaishakhi", "Yesukrishta mattu Gauthama Buddha" and "Shri Gommata Jinasthuthi" are some of the works that have got high acclaim. He was the President of Kannada Sahitya Sammelan at Mumbai in 1951.

On his 125th birth anniversary, a national award was instituted in his name and his old house at Manjeshwar, where he spent most of his life, was proposed to be a national monument.

The foundation stone for ‘Gilivindu’ was laid on March 23, 2008. The cost of this monument was estimated at Rs 1.40 crore (now revised to an additional Rs 4 crore). The project has stagnated soon after laying the foundation stone.

The ambitious project envisaged a local touch to the building in the vicinity of the Centre with slanting tiled roofs and traditional architectural concept.

It will have a library called "Saraswata" and a room to preserve manuscripts to be called "Kanthapathra", besides an archive called "Mahithi Kosha".

The Gilivindu complex will have "Bodhiranga" an open-air theatre; "Bhavanika" an indoor theatre with "Bannada Mane" being its dressing room; "Manasollas" is the place for exhibiting artworks while "Parthisubba-Yakshadegula" will be the place for folk and Yakshagana artistes to showcase their talents. A part of the premises, to be called "Nalanda", will be earmarked for study and research on various aspects of culture and traditions. Researchers and scholars will stay in buildings to be named "Vaishakhi", "Saketh" and "Anand".

At the time of laying the foundation stone, former Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily, and the then Chairman of the Central Administrative Reforms had assured that he would get Rs 1 crore from the Union Ministry of Culture.

The initiative towards this memorial was jointly undertaken by the Union government and the State governments of Kerala and Karnataka. So far the Kerala Government has released Rs 20 lakh and the Karnataka Government has released Rs 25 lakh.

In the midst of this, an auditorium in the name of the poet has been removed and a blue print for a new auditorium at a cost of Rs 2 crore placed. The memorial committee has written letters to Kerala and Karnataka governments seeking funds towards this auditorium. However, the Kerala Government has stated that more funds cannot be granted to this project.

The Rastrakavi Govind Pai Memorial Trust has taken the responsibility of completing the project. For the present, the Committee has decided to take up conservation on the existing house of the poet with the Rs 45 lakh it has with it. The local legislator has taken the initiative to construct two guest houses, near the home of the poet, at a cost of Rs 13 lakh.

While one of the guest houses has been inaugurated and the other is ready for inauguration. However, the guest houses have never been used. The existing library in the home of Govinda Pai is sparsely used by a few readers. The poet’s collection of books are housed in Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Memorial Trust at the MGM College in Udupi. Apart from this, there is no Kerala-Karnataka memorial for the great poet.

(Published 07 September 2011, 18:46 IST)

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