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Chidananda Murthy: A literary stalwart and champion of the Hindu cause passes away at the age of 89

Chidananda Murthy is a champion of the Hindu cause and was one of the key articulators of the argument against tyrant Tipu Sultan. He had also launched a campaign to save the monuments of Hampi.

Kannada writer, historian and scholar Dr M Chidananda Murthy passed away at the age of 89 at a private hospital in Bengaluru around 3.30 am on Saturday, after a brief illness.

Reportedly, Chidananda Murthy was ill for some time and was being treated for age-related illness at a private hospital in Bengaluru.

Chidananda Murthy is a champion of the Hindu cause and was one of the key articulators of the argument against tyrant Tipu Sultan. He had also launched a campaign to save the monuments of Hampi. Interestingly, the renaming Hyderabad Karnataka — a group of six districts formerly under the administration of Nizam of Hyderabad to ‘Kalyana Karnataka’ was done by the present BJP government as per the recommendations of Chidananda Murthy.

Born in Horekogaluru in Davangere district, on May 10, 1931, Murthy did his schooling in his village, before joining the Mysore university to study bachelor of arts. He pursued post-graduation in Kannada literature in 1957 from the University of Mysore. He obtained his doctorate from Bangalore University in 1964 for his valuable thesis ‘A cultural study of Kannada inscriptions’, under the guidance of another literary giant TN Srikantaiah also known as Thee Nam Shri. Murthy had also served as head of Kannada department, Bangalore university.

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As a supporter of Kannada cause, he led the Kannada Shakti Kendra in 1960s to invoke the Kannada pride. Murthy, known for his researches and pro-Kannada stance, heralded a new dawn in the field of literary research. For the Kannada cause, he had even entered the Tungabhadra river in Hampi to commit suicide. He had a special love for Hampi.

Popularly known as “ChiMu”, he was known for his work on Kannada inscriptions and has authored more than 25 literary works. His work played a key role in deciding the antiquity of the Kannada, which helped get the language Classical Language status from the Union government in 2008.

Recalling his contribution to Kannada language and protection of monuments at Hampi, Yediyurappa recalled that Murthy had declined his offer as Chief Minister earlier, to become MLC, citing his age.

“He was a thinker, researcher and historian who always worked for the interest of Kannada. 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,” Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa tweeted.

His last rites will be performed with state honours, the Chief Minister added.

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