Karnataka Sahitya Mandira in Hyderabad - 80 years and counting

Karnataka Sahitya Mandira in Hyderabad - 80 years and counting

Submitted by Editor on Thu, 2016-03-03 00:04 Hyderabad: Kannada and Hyderabad share a strong historical bond. During Nizam’s rule, Kannada was one of the administrative languages. After merger with India, the north-eastern districts of Karnataka such as Gulbarga, Raichur and Bidar became parts of Hyderabad state and Hyderabad became the state capital for them. In 1956, these districts got merged with parts of Mysore state to form Karnataka state. It has been nearly 60 years since Karnataka came into existence, but till today this north-eastern region is identified as Hyderabad-Karnataka. And for the people of this region Hyderabad still remains close to their heart than Bengaluru. This is not only because of geographical positioning alone, but also due to the emotional bond they share with this city and sadly because of the apathy of government of Karnataka. Whatever the conflict, the bond between Kannada and Hyderabad is still strong. Kannada is the third most spoken language in Hyderabad after Telugu and Urdu. Hyderabad is home for nearly 8 lakh Kannadigas. Osmania University has a Kannada department. Hyderabad has “Nriputunga” a Kannada educational institution in the hearts of the city. But there ends the brighter side of the story. Because, when it comes to unifying Kannadigas for any Kannada activities, Hyderabad lags far behind than other major cities of India. You don’t find at least 1/10th of these 8 lakh Kannadigas getting united for any cause or celebration. Having said that, there are few organisations which are a silver lining in this direction and are trying hard to keep Kannada alive in the hearts of Kannadigas. The most prominent among them is Karnataka Sahitya Mandira, a literary and cultural organisation, now in its 80th year of existence. Established in 1936, Karnataka Sahitya Mandira (KSM) has its own building at the heart of the city with an auditorium and a library. The library has more than 10,000 books, mostly in Kannada. KSM publishes a literary magazine ‘Paricahaya’ for which many eminent Kannada writers contributed in the past, and are still contributing. KSM conducts free Kannada classes, the only of its kind in Hyderabad.  Many distinguished personalities including Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, S. Nijlingappa, B.D Jatti, Veerendra Patil, and Ramakrishna Hegde graced various functions of the Kannada Sahitya Mandira in the past. Almost all prominent literary figures of Kannada including Da Ra Bendre, Shivram Karanth, BM Sri, TaRaSu,  ANaKru,  BeeChi, UR Ananthamurthy, G S Shivrudrappa, Dr Chandrashekar Kambar, SL Bhyrappa have also visited Sahitya Mandira. This is the only literary hub for any Kannada literature enthusiast of Hyderabad.KSM is also striving hard to fill the Kannada cultural void which exists in this city. Because of KSM, NeeNaSam tirugata plays have become an annual affair in Hyderabad. Other than this many theatre and musical troops of Karnataka have entertained Kannadigas with their performance. Kannada stand-up comedy shows organised by KSM are a big hit among Kannadigas of Hyderabad. All eminent Kannada writers who resided in Hyderabad earlier, including veterans like GSS, Vi kru Gokak, Sidhiah Puranika, shared a very special bond with Karnataka Sahitya Mandira and were very active members of KSM.Now, because of the IT boom, a sizable number of software engineers from Karnataka have made Hyderabad their home. But, they often are part of the floating population who stay in the city for just few years. But many Kannadigas from the northern side of Karnataka, hoteliers from Coastal Karnataka, labourers from border districts have settled in the city since ages. They are the real Kannadigas of Hyderabad who are struggling to keep their roots firm with an undying passion for their language and culture. But can the next generation of this multi ethnic group, who mostly don’t know to read and write Kannada, hold the same love and affection towards their roots? For me the distance seems to be increasing with each future generation. Unfazed by all this, the Karnataka Sahitya Mandira is doing its duty with the same passion, and that is a bright prospect.