A one day symposium on Ananthamurthy in Retrospect was jointly organized by the departments of English and Kannada at the School of Sciences, Jain University. Ms. Cicilla Cyril, Assistant Professor, Department of English, School of Sciences welcomed the gathering and Dr. H.N. Prakrithi, Chairperson, Department of English, Jain University introduced the theme of the symposium.
Prof. N. Manu Chakravarthy, recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for Best National Critic and Sahitya Academy Awardee delivered the keynote address. He threw light on the current trend being seen among the teaching fraternity in India, in the departments of language and literature. He said the theoretical way of reading and understanding literary texts does not help the reader to be open for creative reading. “Understanding a literary text should become less theoretical and more metaphorical because, when texts are seen as metaphors, they allow for more creative interpretations,” he added. He quoted works of Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy to substantiate his claim. “Ananthamurthy’s last works became more metaphorical than the initial works,” he said.
Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Jain University recollected his experiences of working with Dr. Ananthamurthy. Remembering him fondly, Dr. Shastri spoke of how deep Dr. Ananthamurthy’s love for Indian regional languages was and how with his literary accomplishments became one of the respected personalities of Kannada literature.
While talking about the works of Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy, Prof. Nataraj Huliyar, Cultural Critic and Sahitya Academy Awardee said, Ananthamurthy was known as a rebel against the conservative Brahminical society. Prof. Huliyar said that a close reading of his works would reveal that he was not anti-conservative, rather, he wanted to talk about specific ills of the traditional society, so that they are kept at bay. He too substantiated his claim through a range of works of Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy.
This was followed by screening of a documentary on Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy. The gathering was also attended by his wife, Esther Ananthamurthy; his son, Dr. Sharath Ananthamurthy; his daughter, Anuradha and renowned novelist and playwright, Mr. Vivek Shanbhag. After the screening of the documentary, his wife was felicitated by Dr. H.N. Prakrithi. Dr. Sharath Ananthamurthy announced that a Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy Memorial Lecture would be held every year in collaboration with Jain University.
The last session of the symposium began with Prof. N. Manu Chakravarthy and Mr. Vivek Shanbhag discussing the present landscape of Kannada literature and Dr. Ananthamurthy’s impact on it. Mr. Shanbhag and Prof. Chakravarthy also discussed the thematic explorations by Kannada writers in the past 30 years. The symposium was attended by academicians and students from various parts of Karnataka. The programme was also attended by Dr. Mythili P. Rao, Dean, Languages and Dr. Asha Rajeev, Director, School of Sciences. Dr. Manjunatha, Head, Department of Kannada, School of Sciences delivered the vote of thanks.