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Durable Link to this BlogFriday, April 15, 2011

Function Remembering Krishnanand Kamat

In Kamats' town of Honavar, programs on eco-awareness are arranged often, by Krishnananda Kamat Foundation. Competitions in elocution, essay writing, drawing and Rangoli are being organized in and around the town in schools and junior colleges along with exhibition of photographs and books of Kamat. Many of his works reflect the environmental changes of North Kanara district and the fast disappearing forest-life, growing pollution and a warning that people are heading towards big disaster by their apathy, ignorance and indifference.

Mindless and short term projects of the government which lack vision are adding to the havoc in the district which once abounded in forest and water wealth. Publicity regarding prevention of environmental destruction is on paper and government propaganda only. Kamat Foundation's efforts are felt as "cry in the wilderness" only, albeit the forest is not of trees but teeming population.

Hence it was a pleasant surprise when S.D.M. Junior college of Honavar came forward to arrange a program on Kamat's writings and exhibition of pictures in which scenes of his town figure prominently. An essay competition on Kamat's books was arranged and the students, especially girls did very well.

The main speaker, who was invited for a short address on Kamat's life and works was Dr. Shridhar Balagar a distinguished fiction writer and educationist. Though he could never meet Kamat in person, Balagar expressed that his personality revealed clearly in most of his twenty-four books. He had incidentally visited Kamat Kuteer and Krishna-Kalpa a week earlier. He felt "Kamat touch" at both places and used Kamat Kuteer as symbol in an essay he wrote later.

"Kuteer" means a small cottage or hut in Kannada. It signifies Kamat's love for simplicity. A man of few words, Kamat was more vocal in writing and all the more in pictures he clicked. Balagar said photography was not just a hobby for Kamat. It provided rare insight into the surroundings he moved, about the people and their every-day-life as also man"s co-existence with nature and numerous species of plant life or animal world, whether it was Rajasthan, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, or his own district. For him man in his environment provided a vast canvas and the animal world provided an endless album.! For Kamat, insects, birds, quadrupeds revealed human traits, Balagar said.

Kamat was an undeclared Gandhian. Discipline, self-reliance, calmness and perseverance have influenced his life and writing. His first book, Naanoo Amerikege Hogidde to his last once Marupayana, reflect the values he stood for. He did not care for a cushy job or fat salary. But his concern for environmental decay, modern farming with chemical fertilizers, disappearance of handicrafts, which has rendered lakhs of people jobless and on the verge of destitution was great. Kamat felt that the boom in consumer goods brought in a new class, " a market-minded lot". Balagar concluded.

G.V. Bhat, a well known writer and columnist who chaired the program told about Kamat, he knew from his childhood. Liked by one and all for his simple and smiling nature, he knew no bitterness in life inspite of so many hurdles, Bhat said.

Nagraj Hegde Apgal, who teaches in the college was instrumental in arranging this program titled Smarananjali. It was an heartening experience to witness, the affection and regard, expressed towards Kamat, nine years after his demise.

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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