Ananthamurthy had a special affinity for Gulbarga

Ananthamurthy had a special affinity for Gulbarga

Was fascinated by Sannati, the Buddhist pilgrim centre on the banks of Bhima.

Eminent Kannada author U R Ananthamurthy had a special affinity for Gulbarga, not because he was the first chancellor of the Central University of Karnataka (CUK) located here but because the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of the region fascinated him. 

The Jnanpith award-wining author was particularly fascinated by the discovery of Sannati, the famous pilgrim centre on the banks of river Bhima, as the earliest Buddhist centre. Another factor which mesmerised him was fact that the first-ever Kannada literary work ‘Kavirajamarga’ was produced here.

It is a magnum opus on Kannada poetics written by Srivijaya, a scholar in the court of Rashtrakuta emperor Amoghavarsha alias Nrupatunga in the ninth century. The capital of the Rashtrakutas was Manyakheta (now Malkhed) on the banks of river Kagina in Sedam taluk in Gulbarga district. ‘Kavirajamarga’, a guide book on earlier poets whose works are yet to be found, played a crucial role in getting the classical language status for Kannada from the Union government. 

At the inauguration of the CUK campus at Kadaganchi village, Ananthamurthy was fascinated by the linguistic diversity of the region and wanted it to be explored properly for higher academic and literary excellence. “No other part of the State perhaps has such a rich linguistic diversity as the Gulbarga region. It is for the CUK to make use of this intrinsic advantage’’ he had remarked.

Two literary movements—Vachana Sahitya and Dasa Sahitya—and the rich folk literature generated by them since time immemorial also enthralled the eminent litterateur. He formalised his relationship with Gulbarga when the President of India appointed him the first chancellor of the CUK on August 17, 2012, for a period of five years. He had three more years left in office. 

Not the one to mince words, Ananthamurthy created a controversy by openly supporting the Congress and even canvassing for the party in the Lok Sabha elections. Despite being chancellor of the CUK, he did not mind taking a political stand and making political statements. 

This irked the Bharatiya Janata Party which had made a formal complaint against him for violating the model code of conduct, and demanded his removal from the position.

 A leading politician had wildly alleged that Ananthamurthy was drawing a salary of Rs one lakh per month from the CUK, forcing the university to clarify that it was giving him only Rs 15,000 per month for maintenance of his office in Bangalore, and that no salary was attached to his position. 

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