Dr. Mathoorji’s bust unveiled at BVB Mysuru
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Dr. Mathoorji’s bust unveiled at BVB Mysuru

September 25, 2021

Mysuru:  The bust of late Dr. Mathoor Krishnamurthy, former Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), Bangalore, was unveiled at  BVB premises in Vijayanagar 1st Stage here this morning by K.B. Ganapathy, Founder-Editor of Star of Mysore and Chairman of BVB Mysuru Kendra.

Speaking on the occasion, K.B. Ganapathy said that Mathoorji, who was a man with a purpose, vision, mission and foresight, established BVB in Mysuru.

Pointing out that Mathoorji, an iconic Sanskrit Scholar and a writer, was also instrumental in setting up BVB in London, he said that BVB Mysuru Kendra initially functioned from Mahajana College in Jayalakshmipuram, before moving to its own premises in Vijayanagar.

Recalling that he was a member of BVB right from the beginning, Ganapathy said: “I studied at BVB, Bombay and as such have a sentimental bonding with the Institution. Mathoorji came to Mysuru along with N. Ramanuja to set up BVB. Mathoorji shares a mother-son, guru-shishya and country-citizen relationship with BVB. An inspirational character that he was, Mathoorji encouraged all of us to establish BVB in Mysuru, which stands today as one of the prominent educational institutions of the city.” He further said that Mathoorji’s scholarly discourses still remains afresh in the minds of people of the city.

Dr. Mathoorji's bust unveiled at BVB Mysuru

About Mathoorji

Dr. Mathoor Krishnamurthy, who was popularly known as Mathoorji for his scholarly discourses on Hindu epics, was born in 1929. A Sanskrit scholar and a versatile writer, he had widely studied great epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Serving as a Director of BVB at Bombay, he was credited with establishing BVB at London in UK. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2009 in recognition of his services to Literature. He was conferred a Hon. Doctorate from Shivamogga-based Kuvempu University in 2004. He  passed away in 2011.

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BVB Mysuru Hon. Secretary P.S. Ganapathy, Hon. Treasurer Dr. A.T. Bhashyam, Administrative Officer Sudhindra Raj, Committee Members Wg. Cdr (retd.) S.C. Balasubramanyam, B. Yogeesh, K.M. Harish, K. Krishnegowda, T.S. Gangadhar and S.A. Thimmaiah, BVB School Principal Vijaya Narasimham and others were present.

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Dr. Mathoorji’s bust unveiled at BVB Mysuru”

  1. Gautam says:

    I am posting this knowing that what I say will not be palatable for the BVB office bearer and others. I am a Londoner, a Mysorean by birth, a professional who followed closely the establishment of the London Kendra , right from early 1970s, when it was just a bookshop premises with a living quarters upstairs in the New Oxford Street in London. This in no way disrespects people involved in this Kendra, past or present.
    For too long, the misinformation about Mathoor Krishnamurthy establishing London BVB Kendra, as if he was the sole driving force . He was just a director-designate sent to London in early 1970s. The proposed BVB London Kendra, had a president: Manek Dalal (Maneck Ardeshir Sohrab Dalal the regional director of the AIR India, closely connected to Tata family, and his English wife, who were very influential a, and were really instrumental in lobbying for funds in India communities in England. Yet, many other influential persons were missed- the one person who could have donated millions of Pounds, George Harrison, one of the Beetles, whose love of Hinduism was well known and whose ashes, after his mortal cremation was immersed in Ganga, years later, was never approached, never invited for functions as a guest , because Mathoor Krishnamurthy was not comfortable with people like him ,, and in general English politicians and business men, who could have massively helped. A selected few mainly from the Labour party were linked, and of course Prince Charles, who simply visited as a visitor to the Kendra later.
    What was needed was the right approach to the Conservative government and their politicians , as Margaret Thatcher had came to power in 1979, as the PM . A few of her ministers were interested to know more about Indian culture , as they had Indian constituents that Included the PM; both of Indian -origin and English business men very influential in the society were it seemed never approached that includes today!
    Mathoorji was the wrong person for that job of director. This is no disrespect to him, as this directorship required some one who had the vast knowledge of English culture,, owned a car as a minimum, was able to cultivate friendships with English politicians in power, and easy dealing with celebrities like George Harrison; generally very comfortable with dialogues in English to a level that commanded attention. Reciting as a teacher/preacher words of wisdom quoting Upnanishads, Bhagavad Geetha, Vedas and From other Sanskrit literary , may work in India but not in England! This BVB Kendra, had to be evangelical in a way that attracts not only the Indian communities but the English community too. It has not and will never be.
    The strategic error made at the outset while collecting funds for the BVB Kendra site, was not to focus for example selling the tickets for recitals of musicians like MS Subbulakshmi, whose South Indian classical music appealed only to a limited core of the Indian diaspora in England, and the money collected, even in a full house in the HM Theatre in London ,after expenses together with other funds available thanks mainly to the efforts efforts of Dalal and his wife, was just enough to acquire an abandoned church in West Kensington, not an attractive place in London, and for its renovation. The BVB London Kendra , is today, is located in that renovated church building in a cul-de-sac. Other artists like Lata Mangeshkar could have made a massive difference.
    When George Harrison’s name came up, while Mathoorji was selling MS Subbulakshmi’s recital tickets in a renovated rundown premises in New Oxford Street, which functioned for a time as the BVB London Kendra, he laughed and rejected it outright. Lata Mangeshkar’s name was similarly laughed at. Mathoorji for his philosophy and Sanskrit erudition had a closed mind. He was succeeded later by his son-in-law! I would not no more. This BVB Kendra is hardly influential ii creating the awareness of the rich culture of India in all its facets. It gets I suppose the limited funding from the British government ,the same way other non-profit cultural associations get. Nothing unique there. In the presence of the massive Swami Naryan Temple in Wembly in London, and massive Hare Krishna temple premises near London, it fades into insignificance.
    George Harrison was approached by the Hare Krishna organisation in London, whose activities impressed the Beetle, and he donated 20 million Pounds for the construction of the Massive Hare Krishna temple and facilities near London mentioned above.. That was indeed a missed opportunity for the BVB London Kendra run by Mathoorji. The Massive Swami Narayan Temple mentioned above too, to whose construction many from the Indian diaspora contributed generously, is another example, of an effective leadership which is outward -looking , and which was not just simply delivering Sanskrit quotes in a manner that brings out the superiority of Indian culture and indulging in abstract philosophy delivery, which turns off the local English population. The Hare Krishna movement in London for example, sets up vegetarian lunch stands in London University premises, distributing free lunch to university students of all creed, who if they want, can donate a small sum. But that alone beats anything that the philosophising BVB does in a BVB Kendra. Similar activities are supported by the Swamy Narayan Temple to which the British PM, the leaders of opposition visit They would not know where this BVB Kendra is, as none of its high profile ministers or shadow Labour ministers were linked even before this pandemic period.

  2. Gautam says:

    Apologies about the long -winded post above. There are many typos, I noticed too. I am very sorry as i wanted to post this before this news disappeared, and it has, for some strange reason!

  3. Kautilya says:

    I read the news which appeared in the SOM, and it is gone now! Indians have the propensity to claim any effort-establishing the BVB Kendra in London was such an effort, as the work of a single person-In this case-Mathoorji. I am not surprised in attributing this effort to him alone!
    @Gautam, I agree with you all you have said. The Late Maneck Dalal, had to be credited as the lead in establishing this Kendra In London. Where as Mathoorji did not even know any person of importance in Indian diaspora in England, it is hard to assume, he knew any one of importance in the host English community. That was the situation , when I met in London. He was totally unreceptive any ideas , except his-the strange thing was he did not know the country and its people, and did not realise most Indians in England or that matter in any Western country, were settled for long, and the approach to be made is the way one approaches fellow Indians in India. Gujarathis form the largest Indian diaspora in England and in America, and inviting MS Subbulakshmi for a concert was not going to attract a large audience. The money collected should have been a paltry sum. Mr Dala’s effort did yield some bunds. Together it could only get a derelict Church, and renovate it. The large hall, filled with people, if it could hardly seat 100! The BVB Kendra which the misinformation often claims as the work of Mathorrji only, is tucked ibehind a street, in a poor part of Kensington borough. At best of times, it attracted a small number of visitors, despite advertising for membership, did not attract many. As the poster said above, it survives , I guess many from some donations from the Indian diaspora, plus the grant given to such minority organisations by the British government. But it had to hose Mathorrji’s son-in-law family. Interesting for any effort, there is always a dynastical interest. Nehru is not an exception.
    This BVB Kendra is irrelevant to day or even in those days, as Indians , Mathorrji was no exception , tend to preach and demonstrate how Indian culture is so superior, as if others are nonsensical! That approach alone kills any attempt to talk about Hinduism, as the world knows, India is a corrupt country needing its own medicine-the preaching!
    Well, George Harrison, the best ‘Hindu’Beetle, was ignored, knowing well he did meet many South Indian classical musicians from to time, and was an ardent admirer of the ancient culture. A pop concert by him would have collected at least 1 million Pounds, and he would have donated a few more millions to ad d to it. What was required was to involve him at least as a vice-president or at least the major Patron. Mathorrji would not countenance it. Even Lata Mageshkar was not considered.
    Well the ISKCON succeeded in approaching George Harrison, and got 20 million Pounds donation to construct its massive Baktivedanta Manor in Watfford, near London. Yes, it is distributing free lunch at the lunch hour of the London University, near the Oriental and African building in London. Very nutritious vegetarian lunch all free. One can see a queue of students, of all nationalities queueing to get the free lunch. On BVB, George Harrison’s money would have been wasted in bringing in interested relatives to settle in London! The good old Indian way!
    The Swami Narayan Temple, mentioned is another massive effort, which attracts hundreds of worshippers, the kind of crowd that BVB can only dream. The temple is a cultural centre too.
    Organisations like the BVB had its day, in 1950s at best. It has been to put it mildly serving as an esoteric centre of abstract philosophy, that upper middle class Hindus would like. Not many read its monthly journal even in the past. Other religions take their messages to their common folk in more practical way.
    Though, not a member of ISKCON, and a traditional -minded Hindu, who studied Sanskrit and scriptures in my younger years, now living in the Western world, a simple practical approach is needed. The temples in Britain -there a few and in America-there are many serve this purpose.

  4. Roopadarshi says:

    BVB reminds me of another institution-NIE, Mysore, which started its life with very good mission and noble precepts, and over the years, the typical Indian disease that men in power indulging in parochialism, appointing who they want and not who the best person/s for the job, basking in their own glory etc.,.and finally becoming irrelevant. The story of missing opportunities, and hence reducing into a minor player, thus letting other nimble players to flourish with better goals and right approach. No wonder, all the credit is attributed to a single person, who did not know the world he was sent to.
    Who on earth would send a South Indian-a Kannadiga, however good in Sanskrit and a few Indian languages to an international Western city like London, inhabited by a diaspora of north Indians. The BVB NY Kendra is a bit better, but both have only Indians on their board, talking to themselves without reaching the wider community.
    Music lessons, language lessons, events of Indian music concerts, sound good, but are they enough? Like NIE talking to those converted and treating any one with any suggestions and offer of help with massive disdain.
    These days of globalisation, the Web and the Internet, and the Covid pandemic with different virus strains evolving, making such organisations relevant needs people with fresh thinking and fresh approach. BVB NY Kendra is irrelevant in its present form as does the BVB London Kendra, for those Indians spread out in the countries concerned living hundreds of miles away! Mere fancy moving web pages showing the past events and personalities that the second generation Indians born and brought up in the two countries do not even recognise and relate to.
    BVB and NIE-a lot of past glory, but not fit for purpose today.
    BTW, I was an old student of NIE, and was a time participated in BVB activities-hence I know the working of both institutions, incestuous in their approach. Both BVB London Kendra and NIE would do well, by bringing in men/women of vision and ideas, and that means replacing the governing board totally.

  5. Kautilya says:

    Should read: ” the approach to be made is NOT the way one approaches fellow Indians in India”

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