A Letter from A.N. Moorthy Rao
Prof. A.N.Moorhy Rao's letter to K.L. Kamat after reading American travelogue in Kannada,
Nanoo Amerikage Hogidde.
Editor's Note: Moorthy Rao was a
great litterateur in Kannada language. In this personal letter, he refers to
Indians as "we" or "our" and Americans as
"they". Both the Kamats revered Prof. Rao, and this letter of
appreciation from him was a great moral boost to K.L.Kamat.
25, Kalidasa Road, V.V. Puram,
Mysore 570 002
July 5, 1986.
My Dear Sri Krishananand,
It is with very great pleasure I read your travelogue. I have read other books of the kind which merely list the places the author visited, and the dinners or teas he had with
X, Y, and Z, and I am convinced that some of the episode s in those books bear witness to their imagination rather than to their love of truth. Your book is a most refreshing contrast. There is sincerity and honesty in every page; and an unostentatious
humor peeps in every now and then. More than that I value the thought content of the book – your reflections on the dangerously permissive nature of their culture, their failure to distinguish between real living and the mere accumulation of things-things they have no time to enjoy because they are too busy earning money to buy more things; and their arrogant assumption that they are the roof and crown of things; and their
supercilious attitude to countries of which their ignorance is abysmal. All this you have
brought out without forgetting to praise them for their pleasant informality, and their efficiency.
I am glad you have not spared our country either: That dispassionateness is a great mental asset. We badly need plain speaking of the kind you give e.g. that
feckless old fellow who interviewed you. Our young people blossom out when they go to U.S., and even brilliant people here just crumple up and decay. We should ask ourselves why? Your reader understands why there is this brain -–drain. India plans it:
We seem to believe that we were born in this world only to prepare for getting away from here
-- we have no faith in life. I am so happy you have touched on all this.
Just a word about "Devara Makkalu" (Children of God). I too was once all sympathy for the
African race and all indignation against the Whites. A year in Nairobi (Kenya) diluted both the
sympathy and the indignation. I am underested the dislike of the whites, I know also that
the U.S. has come a long way since the days, when escaping Negroes were hunted down with hounds and houses. It seems to me racial arrogance did operate and the
Ku-Klux-Klan was a reality. If the whites had been more sympathetic right from the start, much more might have been done. I must add that I have met militant Negroes in U.S. Who are taking more advantage of the rights they have won. I am reminded of what our
untouchables do. But I also remember my friend T. Krishnamurthy (in the thirties) inviting two
Panchamas to dinner. They came in scrupulously clean clothes: The Americans might have given their slaves a status to live up to. These are just casual thoughts- when I remember how we treated the
Panchamas, I realize we have no right to talk high and mighty morals to the Americans. And educated Negroes (like educated Panchamas) are certainly not all behaving like angels:
Warm regards and best wishes to you and Mrs. Kamat.
- A.N. Moorthy Rao