He learnt, taught English at Mysore University

He learnt, taught English at Mysore University

U R Ananthamurthy was a proud product of Mysore University that later came to be known as the University of Mysore.

He came to Mysore for his higher education and got his MA in English literature in 1957, before starting his career as a lecturer in 1970. Prior to that, he taught for sometime at the Regional Institute of Education here. Despite selling his house in Mysore, Ananthamurthy’s love for the city didn’t diminish.

He lived at the seventh main, Saraswatipuram, and later built a house on New Kantharaja Urs Road. However, he sold the house to buy one in Bangalore.

An avid nature lover, whenever he came to Mysore, he used to spend quality time with his friends at his agricultural farm at Alanahalli on Gaddige Road near Bogadi. The farm named after his daughter Anuradha had a country-tiled house with a library. He stopped visiting his farm in the last two years after his health started to deteriorate.


Noted litterateur Prof Kalegowda Nagawara, a student of Kannada literature at that time and a close friend, recalled him as, “An Englishman by education, but a Kannadiga in practice.”

Though Ananthamurthy was teaching English at Maharaja’s College (also the PG wing of the varsity at that time), he was in the forefront, promoting Kannada language. He was known for his famous line ‘English ilisi Kannada Belasi’. He was vastly influenced by the socialist ideology of Ram Manohar Lohia.

It was due to his pro-Kannada thinking and yearning for the welfare of the downtrodden, that he was denied promotion in the department, it is said. However, it couldn’t deter URA from practising what he thought was right.

K M Chandar, Professor of English at the University of Mysore and an early student of URA at the varsity from 1973 to 1976, recalled him as a multi-faceted personality. “His classes were always interactive,” said Chandar.