Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bhyrappa and Karnad

D. H. Shankaramurthy, minister of higner education at a function orgainsed to protest the distortion of history textbooks mentioned that - "Bhagat Singh, Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Guru Gobind Singh etc are being portrayed as terrorists and Aurangazeb as a saint. This kind of distortion of historical facts is not correct. The mysore kings had used Kannada as administrative language which was changed by Tipu Sultan, who made it Persian. His coins have persian writings on it, while Mysore kings had used Kannada". This appeared as headlines in newspaper under the title "Tipu was anti-kannadiga", and all the "intellectuals" got together to demand the apology of Shankaramurthy, asked CM to sack the minister and prove his secular credentials, how "dangerous"/"anti-natiaonal" these statements are etc.

Last year too, govt of Karnataka lead by Congress planned to spend crores of rupess to celebrate some-centenary of Tipu Sultan, and when BJP protested for his atrocities against malabar hindus - the newspapers carried lots of reports on how Tipu donated money to Sringeri, to SriRanganatha temple at SriRangapatnam and Nanjunda temple etc. This prompted Girish Karnda to write a novel "Tipu kanda kanasugalu", which was "critically accliamed", "highy appreciated", dramatised by his chelas etc.

Remeber how during the aftermath of demolishion of Babri structure "Sword of Tipu Sultan" used to get telecast on TV ? It portrayed the kings of mysore as baffoons (the king was a connosure of arts and has written treatise on them), Maharani lakshmi-ammanni who was an able administrator as a 'wicked witch', and Hyder Ali as a great man(who was a treacherous man and whose army was defeated once by Onake Obavva). Tipu again was potrayed as a saint sent directly from heaven and epitome of hindu-muslim unity - serial often showed a priest and a mulla sitting and discussing.

I would like to mention 3 short stories of Shri Masti Venkatesh Ayengar, stories of whom are considered historically accurate.
1. Story of Recovery of a temple in "Ranganahalli" by Ferguesson - remember "kanna mucche kade goode" song. It is story of a temple of Shri Rama that was buried as Tipu's army was destroying all hindu temples. The historian based on this song, excavates the temple
2. Story of Biligiri Ranganatha - This is a temple of Srinivasa/Lord Venkatesha (Lord in the standing posture). For the fear of Tipu's army, temple authorities and people started calling the Lord here as Ranganatha (Lord in sleeping posture) and still now he is called Biligiri Ranganatha, though it should have been Biligiri Srinivasa. Tipu did not destory Sri Ranganatha as his own capital had a large population of followers of SriRanganatha at SriRangapatna.
3. Story of a brahmin boy who was outcaste by ortodox hindus as he was made to eat beef by Sultan's men. This man became a muslim but connived against Tipu as he could not tolerate Tipu's acrocities against hindus.

You may also read

Shri S. L. Bhyrappa is not given to political controversies. He stands as the tallest writer of Kannada literature today, with a huge following. 4 of his novels have been successfully made into award winning movies, 1 into a TV serial (all by socialist directors). Though he never associates himself with any sort of "isms", political parties - reason why he still hasnt received Jnanapeetha, or any kind of govt. posts and honours - he is the most read author and along with Karnath-described as the "father of kannada novels". Almost all his novels get translated into many of the indian langues and he has huge following in Marathi/Gujarati literary cicles, languages which he is familiar with.

Bhyrappa in this article also mentions how history should be dealt with - how to react when incidents related to atrocities of then muslim leaders are taught, without hurting our secular credentials.

Artilce courtesy : Vijaya Karnataka


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