| A lot of public funds are being spent to celebrate the 50 years of the formation of the state of Karnataka. A lot of fanfare, a lot of abuse of power, a lot of nepotism, a lot of wastage.|
But we must remember that the state of Karnataka and the Kannada language and culture has survived not because of Government subsidies, change of laws making Kannada or Kannada movies mandatory. It survived and flourished because of devoted volunteers and visionaries who spent a lifetime promoting the ancient language while experimenting with new sciences, themes, techniques, and media. (Kannada language is on the decline today for the same reason -- the leaders are fewer, and the love for the language has diminished among its practitioners and patrons.
I have this long introduction because I have personally known many men and women who have spent a lifetime in the service of Karnataka and no one knows about them. They never grew rich, nobody recognized them for their contributions, but they did (or continue to do) it anyway, in the most selfless manner. They have remained modest, and many have suffered grave difficulties, because their work didn't get the attention it deserved.
One such person is Virupaksha K. Naik of Dharwad. Now in his 80s, he has dedicated his entire adult life in promoting the theatrical arts of Karnataka. With some friends, he founded the Karnataka Kaloddharaka Sangha (Society for Revitalizing of Kannada Theater) in 1954 and has been running a newspaper called Ranga Torana with his savings. I have seen him struggle to no avail for patronage, subscriptions, and sponsors, and the very thought of his struggles is inspiring for me.
Today we live in the world of self-seekers. Persons without a personal ambition are considered incompetent. (I think it is called "Personal-branding" akin to a Gorilla thumping its own chest). But I feel that greatness of a person doesn't come from how famous he or she is, but what an inspiration a person is.
I once read a Kannada poem about the "Basava's Worm", you know the the snail that goes where there's no path -- it makes a path, and in doing so it wears out its own shell. Then it leaves behind a silvery track -- the traces of its worn out shell.
© K. L. Kamat
Theater Activist, Publisher Virupaksha K. Naik
Naik-mama, thank you for being the snail and for the silvery tracks!
If you dig Kamat's Potpourri deep enough, you will come across many inspiring stories of most common of Indians exhibiting extraordinary character, virtue, courage, and intellect. I am just proud that we are able to document these untold stories of India.
Amma remembers D.V. Gundappa
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Sunday, August 20, 2006|
Last Modified: 8/29/2006 12:09:27 AM