Veteran Kannada scholar and researcher M Chidananda Murthy passed away at the age of 88 Saturday at a private hospital in Bengaluru. He died due to age-related ailments at around 3.30 am. Murthy was known for his campaign to save the monuments of Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Murthy, born on May 10, 1931, at Hirekogalur, in Channagiri taluk of Davanagere district, served as a Kannada lecturer in Tumakuru, Kolar, and Bengaluru and later became Head of Department of Kannada in Bangalore University. He got his PhD on ancient Kannada poet Pampa.
He is survived by his wife and two children. His mortal remains have been kept at his residence in RPC Layout in Bengaluru for the public to pay their last respects. The last rites will be performed Sunday.
Dr. M Chidananda Murthy was a doyen of culture and literature. His passion towards Kannada language was noteworthy and so were his efforts to preserve unique aspects of our rich history. His demise is saddening. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 11, 2020
Murthy specialised in the history of the Kannada language and ancient Karnataka. Through the Kannada Shakti Kendra in the 1960s, he fought to secure classical language status to the Kannada Language. He was also vocal against the decision to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanthi, taken by then chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Recently, Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa renamed Hyderabad Karnataka region as Kalyana Karnataka as per the demands of Murthy.
Murthy has authored more than 25 literary works in Kannada and was popularly known as ‘Chi Mu’ in the Kannada literary circles. Malathi Pattanashetty, Kannada writer said, “Murthy was one of the great Kannada scholars who fought for Kannada language and Karnataka. He was proud of Kannada so he fought to get the Kannada classical language status.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Congress leader Siddaramaiah, JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, Kannada activist Vatal Nagraj, several cabinet ministers and other political party leaders have condoled Murthy’s death.
“He was a thinker, researcher, and historian who always worked for the interest of the Kannada language. His place in history is unique and irreplaceable. His role in protecting the monuments of Hampi and in Kannada getting a classical language status is memorable,” said Yediyurappa in a tweet.