Thousands of people paid their last respects to veteran Kannada writer and former vice chancellor of University of Mysore De Jaware Gowda popularly known as De Ja Gow who passed away on Monday night at a private hospital.
On Tuesday, his body was kept at the Vivekananda School, Jayalakshmipuram, for the public to pay their last respects. People stated making beeline to have a last glimpse of the litterateur since Monday night. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Formers Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Veerappa Moily, Suttur Seer Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamy, MLA Vasu, Revenue and District In-charge Minister V Srinivas Prasad, Cooperation minister H S Mahadeva Prasad paid their respects. A large number oi his followers, Kannada activists, students from the University of Mysore also paid their respects.
De Ja Gow was admitted to the hospital on Sunday following a cardiac arrest. He developed respiratory problems and was put on ventilator since then. He leaves behind his son Prof J Shashidhar Prasad who was also the former VC of University of Mysore and J Shashikala. His wife Savithramma had passed away on May 30, 2005.
De Ja Gow is one among the few Kannada writers who was very active even in old age. A Padmashri awardee writer, he has also been bestowed with Karnataka Ratna, Gorur, Nadoja and Pampa Awards. Having served as the Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore from 1969 to 1975, he has had the privilege of being taught by none other than Rashtrakavi Kuvempu.
He has been synonymous with the struggle demanding classical status for the Kannada language, implementation of Sarojini Mahishi report that stressed that a major percentage of employment in Karnataka should be reserved to the local people i.e. the Kannadigas and his thrust on the use of Kannada as the medium of instruction in schools.
He played a pivotal role in bringing out the Kannada encyclopaedia project to the University of Mysore. His struggle demanding classical status for Kannada language was so intense that the writer had not only staged an indefinite fast but had also threatened to return the Padma Shri conferred on him in 2001.
Hailing from Chakkere village in Channapatna taluk in Ramanagaram, De Ja Gow was born on July 6, 1918 to Devegowda and Chennammana. He completed his master’s degree in Kannada from the University of Mysore and started his career as Kannada lecturer in 1946. He became the university’s vice-chancel lor in 1969.
A staunch disciple of Kuvempu, De Ja Gow wrote several books including Sahitya Nayasenana Dharmamruta Sangraha, Lakshmishana Jai-mini Bharata, Kanakadasara Nalacharitre, Andayyana Kabbigara Kavya, Chikkupadyayana Rukmangada Charitre, Nemichandrana Leelavati Prabhanda, Janapada Adhyayana, Janapada Soundarya, Janapada Vahini and Janapada Geetanjali (1983).