Capt. G.R. Gopinath, soldier, farmer, columnist, author and entrepreneur, will inaugurate the 4th Mysuru Literary Fest-2023 organised by Mysore Literary Association (MLA) at Maharaja’s College Centenary Hall in city on Sunday (Jan. 22) at 10 am. Association President Prof. K.C. Belliappa, who is also the former Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, will preside over the programme.
Dr. Deepti Navaratna, Neuro Scientist and author, Prakash Belawadi, actor and director, Prof. H.S. Shivaprakash, poet and playwright and Dr. Abhimanyu Acharya, actor and educationist will participate in the day-long event.
Here we publish the profiles of the chief guest Capt. G.R. Gopinath and two guest-speakers. Two other speakers will be featured in tomorrow’s Star of Mysore.
Capt. G.R. Gopinath
Capt. G.R. Gopinath is the Founder of Air Deccan, India’s first low cost airline set up in 2003. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, had said, “He is generally acknowledged as the father of India’s low fares airline, which enabled the common man to fly.”
Air Deccan went on to revolutionise Indian aviation with its ‘no frill’ business model that tightly controlled costs and offered affordable air fares to the Indian people, enabling millions of first-time fliers. Within 3 years Air Deccan’s operations spanned over sixty-eight destinations including dozens of unconnected cities, with a reach that extended beyond even the State owned Indian Airlines.
Capt. Gopinath is also the Founder-Chairman of Deccan Charters and Aviation India’s helicopter company in private sector. Deccan specialises in activities as diverse as: Heli-tourism, aerial mapping, geophysical surveys, gas pipeline surveys, support to oil rigs and medical evacuations among others. Presently Deccan Charters operates & maintains helicopters and fixed wing aircraft across fifteen locations in India.
Born in 1951, in a remote village Gorur in Hassan district, Capt. Gopinath studied in a Government Kannada medium village school till class VII walking barefoot. He later got selected to the Sainik School at Bijapur and joined the National Defense Academy (NDA). In 1971 he was commissioned as officer in the Indian Army and served in the Bangladesh Liberation war. He resigned from the Army after eight years of service in Kashmir, Bhutan, Assam, Sikkim and other parts of India, decided to chart a new path for himself. Returning to his village, Capt. Gopinath took up agriculture on a barren piece of land and within a few years went on to become not only a successful farmer but also established himself in India and abroad with his environmentally conscious and effective farming techniques. In 1996 he was awarded the “Rolex International Award for Enterprise for breaking new ground with his project Ecological Silk Farming to Improve Living Standards”.
On Nov. 1, 2005 Capt. Gopinath was honoured with Rajyotsava Award by Government of Karnataka. In May 2006, he was knighted with “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” or Legion of Honour, the highest civilian award conferred by the French Government. The same year he was also awarded “Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award” by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
His business autobiography ‘Simply Fly’ [translated into Kannada under the title ‘Baana Yana’ by Vishweswar Bhat] are both runaway hits. It has become the ‘must read’ book for all entrepreneurs and MBAs as recommended by late Dr. Abdul Kalam. His second book ‘You Cannot Miss This Flight,’ also published by Harper Collins with a foreword by eminent economists Lord Meghnad Desai [also translated into Kannada under the title ‘Naanu Devama Manavanaagiddare’ by Padmaraj Dandavate], is a collection of essays of contemporary issues and diverse subjects on India. He is a frequent contributor to the major print and online media on economics, enterprise, politics, governance and societal issues.
His third anthology of essays “Our India – Reflections on a nation betwixt and between” with a Foreword by Gopalkrishna Gandhi published by Harper Collins was released in Sept. this year.
Dr. Deepti Navaratna Topic: The Maverick Maharaja
Dr. Deepti Navaratna is a musician-neuroscientist-author whose interests span the arts, science and history. An accomplished South Indian Classical musician, her music has been presented at premiere performing spaces in the United States such as Asia Society (New York City), Symphony Space (New York City), Jordan Hall (Boston), Harvard Arts Museum (Cambridge), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Yale School of music (New Haven, CT), Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Sri Lanka, Central Conservatory, Beijing and Tsing Hua University, Taiwan among others.
In a parallel avatar, she studies music as a fascinating window to the brain, mind, human cognition and culture – as the T.V. Raman Pai Chair Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.
Deepti holds a doctorate degree in Neuroscience, after several years of post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School, USA, her current research interests span the interdisciplinary crossovers between music and neuroscience. She is a Chevening Clore Fellow (2021-22) and holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to have performed at the Parliament of World Religions in 2021.
Until recently she served as the Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Bengaluru.
Her foray into the world of words is through her book: ‘The Maverick Maharaja’ – the definitive biography of the Maharaja of Mysore Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, published by Harper Collins India in 2022.
Topic: Sharing Space, Sharing Time
Prakash Belawadi is a stage and film actor and director, teacher, activist and journalist from Bengaluru. He has a degree in mechanical engineering, but has devoted the bulk of his life to the stage, cinema, journalism and teaching.
Belawadi has spoken, participated or performed in TEDx events, shows, conferences and festivals in India and abroad, at Edinburgh, Birmingham, Gothenburg, San Francisco, Boston, Berlin, Seoul, Sydney and Adelaide.
His debut film ‘Stumble’, which he wrote and directed, won the National Award for Best Film in the English language, 2003. The film has now been included in the national telecaster Doordarshan’s Best of Indian Cinema series. He won the Helpmann Award, Australia (2019) for Best Actor – Male in the play ‘Counting and Cracking’, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney. He has also acted in the blockbuster Hindi movie ‘The Kashmir Files.’
He was conferred the Karnataka Nataka Academy Award (2011-12) for his contribution to English and Kannada language theatre. He received the Government of Karnataka’s ‘Rajytosava award’ in 2021.