Posted On Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 09:54:07 AM
Art helps build bridges and transcend borders. That’s the noble thought that must have stayed with Bangalorebased S Yogalingam for the 50 years that he has been performing ‘keelu kudure’ (a pantomime with a wooden horse) on stage.
Starting at age 14, he has showcased this folk dance far and wide, and has the distinction of performing for Indira and Sonia Gandhi.
|Yogalingam underwent a hip replacement surgery recently
Now 67, his legs have given way from years of pounding the boards — he had to undergo a hip replacement surgery recently. But his hopes of being getting the state’s Rajyotsava award and the accompanying pension seem doomed on account of a narrow official mindset.
Bureaucrats have turned down his application on several occasions, saying his dance form is ‘native’ to Tamil Nadu and he is thus not eligible for aKarnataka award or pension.
Yogalingam blames the Department of Kannada and Culture and its directors, down from the time of H D Deve Gowda’s regime, for turning down his application. “Each time I applied, they would drop my name.
When I questioned them on the rejection, they would say it is an art form from Tamil Nadu and I should approach the TN government,” he recalls. Yogalingam represented Karnataka at various fora.
“The government sent me to Delhi in 1974 to perform at the Karnataka Carnival. I headed the team and performed continuously for 10 days. I also performed at the King Memo festival in Goa on behalf of the Karnataka tourism department four times. I was the lead folk dance performer when Dr Ambedkar Veedhi in front of the Vidhana Soudha was inaugurated,” he reminisces.
The versatile artiste has also performed in several Kannada films, including Bangarada Manushyawith Dr Rajkumar, Kitturu Rani Channammaand Upendra. “Recently, I approached home minister KJ George at a function with my request.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah and Kannada and culture minister Umashree were also there, but they left before I could meet them. I have lost hope of ever getting the award. None of the committee members, or directors, or ministers of the department have informed me formally of the reason for rejecting my name,” he says.
B Basavaraju, secretary of the Kannada and culture department, said, “It is unfortunate that instead of the department recognising and awarding talent, people have to apply for the award. Yogalingam need not ask the TN government, let him apply again.
We get over 35,000 applications every year and select around 50 people. It is possible his application may have been left out.”
Yogalingam’s father TC Sundara Murthy, a pioneer of the dance form, was conferred with the Rajyotsava award when Ramakrishna Hegde was chief minister. All of 96, Murthy started performing in 1936.
“Though I was born in Bangalore, I went to Thanjavur to learn ‘poikkal kudirai atam’ and when I came to Bangalore I named it ‘keelu kudure’. I am a freedom-fighter and participated in satyagraha movements.
But so far the government has not considered me a freedomfighter though the then Mysore Pradesh Congress Committee and Freedom-Fighters Association gave me certificates and former ministers declared me a freedom-fighter.
I don’t want money, but recognition as a freedom-fighter and official invitations to Independence Day and Republic Day functions,” says the nonagenarian.