KOCHI: U R Ananthamurthy came to Kerala with a freshness and left with a fragrance of his style, remembers his friends and colleagues in the state. His tryst with Kerala was a continuation of the Renaissance era, said Dr B Iqbal, former VC , Kerla University, who had a close association with him. “He came with a vision which is now lacking in many of the heads of the institution,” he said.
According to Dr Iqbal, Ananthamurthy’s style of functioning had left a mark on him and it influenced him when he later headed Kerala University. “He initiated inter- disciplinary and multi-disciplinary courses which were a revolution then,” said Iqbal. Kottayam municipality attained cent per cent literacy when Ananthamurthy was MGU VC and the National Service Scheme unit of the varsity had played a vital role in the mission.
“When we presented the literacy mission programme, he said he will come personally to meet the municipal chairman. He came with us to meet the municipal chairman. Chairman Mani Abraham could not even believe that a vice-chancellor was at his office to meet him. His humility was more revealed when he personally visited the house of a poor man for the literacy survey. He entered the house only after removing his white canvas shoes,” remembers Thomas Abraham, former director, adult education, who was also the NSS programme coordinator and head of the department of continuing education. George Varghese, Syndicate member of MGU, had a chance to experience the depth of his affection. “I, along with two other colleagues, were in the ill- fated Island Express which met with an accident at Peruman bridge near Kollam. The first information from the accident spot was that all might have lost their lives. Murthy sir came to Kollam government hospital in search of our bodies. But his joy knew no bounds when he learned that we all were alive. He just embraced us with all the warmth, which was quite unbecoming of a top official,” he said.
However, Ananthamurthy left rather dissatisfied as he had to bear some unpleasant experience from some colleagues, said Dr Iqbal. “He was about to resign from the job. But he had to continue to complete the term for some reason or other. So he said Kerala doesn’t have a politics and it only has a party politics,” he said.