Kumara Vyasa's birthplace lies neglected
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai, TNN Feb 9, 2010, 10.27pm IST
HUBLI: Gadag has been chosen as the venue of Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, as it was where Kumara Vyasa wrote `Karnata Bharat Katha Manjari', the pioneering `Mahabharata' in Kannada, in the 14th century. However, his birthplace of Koliwad, 30 km away from Gadag, has no signs of development.
Worse still, there is nothing in the village to tell a tourist that this was where Kumara Vyasa was born __ no statue, no memorial, no hall and not even a cultural group or youth association named after him. An arch on the Hubli-Gadag Road is the only sign that speaks about Koliwad's association with Kumara Vyasa.
The magnum opus `Kumara Vyasa Bharata' owes its popularity to the oral tradition. Poets, saints and Gamaka singers across the state render chapters from the epic by heart. However, there is no one in the village who has studied or memorized the narrative or who can analyze it. A library named after the poet has closed down years ago. Children aspiring to study beyond SSLC have to travel to Gadag or Hubli, both of which are 35 km away.
The 6-km-long single-lane approach road to Koliwad is riders' nightmare, thanks to the innumerable potholes there. Villagers say they have not seen the road being tarred in the last 10 years. Roads in the village are also ill-maintained.
Most taps and borewells in the village supply brackish water. That is supplied even when there is enough power supply to fill water tanks in the village. Long rows of empty pots are seen before the taps. Tarakka Jamagi, who had five pots to fill, said she had been waiting for over two hours.
Villagers suffer a power cut for at least 12 hours daily. "Power cuts are mostly during the day and we face a lot of inconvenience," farmer Tirakappa Benagi said, adding: "We are forced to walk to farms at night to switch on/ off our irrigation pump sets. Sometimes when the transformer burns out, we suffer power cuts for days on end. Flour mills don't run and we won't have power even to charge cellphones."
DRAINS ON ROADS
There is no proper drainage in the village. Open drains run right in the middle of the road. Most houses have no toilets as the government is yet to fully implement the Nirmala Grama scheme of promoting toilet construction and usage.
HEIGHT OF APATHY
The villagers are apologetic about their indifference to Kumara Vyasa. "When we go to Dharwad or Gadag, people identify us as the residents of Kumara Vyasa's village. But neither has the government taken steps to build a memorial, nor have the villagers volunteered to organize cultural programmes to keep alive the heritage. It is sad and unfortunate," says Koliwad resident H R Boodihal.
PLEA FOR MEMORIAL
The Gram Panchayat is yet to get an invitation to the Sammelana. GP members plan to take a memorandum to the CM when he arrives for the Sammelana. "We will urge him to build a Kumara Vyasa Memorial and take up development works in the village," GP president Yallamma Moolimani said.
The arch on Hubli-Gadag Road leading to Koliwad village
An artist's rendering of poet Kumara Vyasa
The house where Kumara Vyasa is believed to have lived in the 14th century