MISCELLANY


A memorial for  Bendre

The great poet Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre lived in this house for nearly fifty years. Today, a memorial constructed next to the house doesn’t have many things that the man used in his daily life, or the books that he had collected. Till such a time that the memorial is full of all these things, it remains an incomplete one for his admirers.

The house he lived in was called Sakhigeethe, and Bendre has dedicated more than a couple of verses to the house he lived in. It was bought in November 1929. The house was built with traditional tiles, and in front of the house was a garden that Bendre loved.

The house and the trees were a source of inspiration for the great poet. The house still stands, and retains some of its old charm. Bendre’s son Vamana Bendre’s family lives in the house. In front of the house is a small open air theatre. Programmes in memory of Bendre are often held at the auditorium.  The state government established a National Trust in 1993 in memory of Bendre. An artist from West Bengal prepared a blueprint on the lines of Shantiniketan. The construction of the Bendre Bhavan began in 1994, and was completed in 1999 at a cost of Rs 40 lakh. There is an auditorium on the ground floor, and a library on the first floor. Works penned by Bendre and some works that refer to him are housed in the library. Also, there are stills of the great poet and visuals from his works. Behind the Bendre Bhavan is a guest house called Sakhi geethe. Initially the Trust was headed by the Minister for Kannada and Culture. Later, it was headed by researcher M M Kalburgi. Many state level competitions were held here. They include Beladingala Noda (Bendre Geetagayana), Kuniyona Bara (ballets set to the tunes of Bendre’s poetry). The Trust also gives away the Ambikatanayadatta Prashasti every year on January 31. This comprises a cash award of Rs one lakh. The Trust also takes up many activities to encourage upcoming writers. But, the Bendre Bhavan is a bit of a disappointment, because nearly 6,000 books that should have been here ideally are at Bendre Kuteera in Hubli. Meanwhile,  it has been several months since President of the Trust M M Kalburgi stepped down, and the Trust has no President incharge.

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