April 11, 2020
Mahesh Bhat
Comments Off on Karnataka

U R Ananthamurthy, 1989. I made this portrait at his room in Hotel Anshraya International, Bangalore. He stayed there for over a week and wrote the essay, Growing Up in Karnataka.


In the initial days of my career, in 1988-89, I had the opportunity to work on a book on Karnataka titled Karnataka Impressions. My dear friend Jayadeva was the editor. U R Anantha Murthy wrote a brilliant essay titled ‘Growing Up in Karnataka’. He wrote it in English and translated to Kannada.

I did another book on Karnataka in the mid 90s. When I look at it today, it book feels like a journey of land that exists only in those images. I remember my drive through the winding roads of Kodagu an early winter morning. I reached Talacauvery (birth place of Cauvery) at sun rise. The only the person there was the priest who was performing a pooja. The image of 2 boys selling Kanakambara flowers by the highway (they were narrow roads then). The image itself was inspired by one of Poornachandra Tejasvi’s book – I guess Jugari Cross or is it Chidambara Rahasya? There are images of sunset over Halsanadu, rain in Agumbe and of Bangalore before it boomed, ITPL still under construction.

Both were published by Gangarams Publications and second time around, the same essay accompanied by images.

Ananthmurthy wrote (in 1988) “History is of full of warnings, but whoever has learnt from the past? Isn’t it a fact that whatever our motivation, every movement which liberates us from the stranglehold of traditional society, may also result in the furthering of a consumer-oriented, individualistic, ravenous modern civilization? Isn’t Kaiga a symbol of things to come? We desire freedom from a dependence on nature and from the constraints of subsistence economy that is dependent on nature. Then can we wish away the need for a nuclear plant? However, groups which oppose nuclear energy do not like the options to be presented this dramatically. We must explore an alternative technology, they argue, where material progress and a holistic view of the world do not clash.