Hey, where's the divide?

Aug 10, 2009, 06:58 IST | Swathi Narayan

A day after the Tiruvalluvar statue unveiling, MiD DAY brings you three heart-warming stories of Tamil-Kannadiga and Kannadiga-Tamil achievers in Bangalore. They represent this city's true liberal spirit

A day after the Tiruvalluvar statue unveiling, MiD DAY brings you three heart-warming stories of Tamil-Kannadiga and Kannadiga-Tamil achievers in Bangalore. They represent this city's true liberal spirit

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Applause: The audience at Ulsoor, under watchful police eyes

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Much is said about Kannada-Tamil rivalry in Bangalore, but living in our midst are people who have effortlessly bridged the two cultures.

A day after Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar's statue was installed in Ulsoor, MiD DAY brings you heartwarming stories of people who've never believed in the divide.

Tamil professor P Krishnaswami won the 2006 Central Sahitya Akademi award for his translation of Chidambara Rahasya, a Kannada novel by Purnachandra Tejaswi.

Krishnaswami has been living in Bangalore for 30 years, and considers himself a Tamil-Kannadiga.

"I still have my roots in Tamil culture but I'm very much a part of Karnataka. I'm aware that I'm living outside Tamil Nadu and I take in the positives of Karnataka and its culture. Vachana literature in Kannada and the bhakti tradition in Tamil are both secular. They address eternal human values," he told MiD DAY.

He believes the statue should have been unveiled years ago, but "better late than never".

Krishnaswami can read and write Kannada and has also made sure that his children know and love the language. His son topped in Kannada in his 10th standard board exams.

N Ganesh, Tamil by birth and born in Karnataka, has been passionate about Kannada since his school days.

The Bharatnatyam dancer and teacher went on to get a master's degree in Kannada, and speaks to his brother Nagaraj only in Kannada. The brothers' love of Kannada is such that their relatives in Erode jokingly call Nagaraj 'Vatal', after the Kannada leader.

"Tiruvalluvar is a great poet and it's good that they are finally unveiling the statue. Governments should address other problems, but our cultures should keep talking," he said.
 

PRESS THE BUTTON: Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa helps his Tamil Nadu counterpart unveil the Tiruvalluvar statue by remote.
FINALLY: The Tamil poet smiles on Bangalore


Dr G Nanjundan, whose mother tongue is Kannada, is on the editorial board of a monthly Tamil literary magazine called Kalachuvadu. The statistics professor has translated many Kannada works of literature into Tamil, and helps Tamil publishers in their book editing. He believes the Tamil-Kannada issue has been blown out of proportion.

Nanjundan urged better translations of the Tirukkural into Kannada and English. "G U Pope, who was a warden of Bishop Cottons Boys' School in Bangalore, translated Tiruvalluvar into English. But people know little about this," he told MiD DAY.

Nanjundan believes Kannada and Tamil are equally rich. "The Tamil Sangam should have made a cultural icon unveil the statue instead of a politician," he said.

DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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