Guess who comes home as Doctor!
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns, Top Stories

Guess who comes home as Doctor!

October 19, 2023

Yesterday was a memorable day for me because it was the day I was conferred with Honorary Doctorate, known in Latin as honoris causa degree. It is how a University honours those who distinguish themselves in the field of art, science, etc.

In all my life if I had got something that I valued most it was the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (2008) and now the Hon. Doctorate from my own University, Mysore University from where I got my two degrees — one in Arts (BA) and another in Law (BL). Nothing else I valued by way of recognition for whatever I was considered worthy of by those who bestowed these honours on me.

There is another reason for me to feel, to use a spiritual phrase, blissful. I believe that it is not important what one receives and what he receives. What is important is who gives, what is given — no matter gold, diamond, power or honour. Great value comes only when the honour comes from a venerable Master, the benevolent Government or a reputed University. That is why, I used the phrase ‘bliss’ to describe my feeling on receiving this Doctorate. And Mysore University is more than a century-old and also my Alma Mater.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University (2003-2007) Prof. J Shashidhar Prasad, Ph.D in Physics, sent me a congratulatory message which alludes to the sentiment about the Hon. Doctorate I mentioned above. What he wrote was quite revealing and should be a guide to the present and future Vice-Chancellors of this iconic University. Since what he wrote was self-explanatory, let me reproduce it here:

Congratulations Ganapathyji,

It is heartening to hear that a leading journalist of Mysuru, who has done yeoman service to Mysuru and built brand Mysuru, is being honoured by the University of Mysore.

I fondly remember the unique moment when R.K Laxman and H.Y. Sharada Prasad were honoured in 2004 by UoM. Both of them could not attend the Convocation because of health reasons. I pleaded with His Excellency, the Governor, to honour them in Mumbai and Delhi respectively. My idea was appreciated and approved.

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A grand function was arranged. Both recipients were moved by this gesture and said that their Alma Mater came to their doorsteps to honour them. I was extremely happy that University of Mysore honoured itself by honouring the veteran journalist and a cartoonist.

As the statement goes — when we honour the well-deserved, we are bestowing honour upon ourselves. That is what UoM has done now through this honoris causa to you.

Prof. Shashidhar Prasad also mentioned about the noble and sublime personal quality of the then Governor of Karnataka T.N. Chaturvedi (also Chancellor of the University) in going with him to Bombay to confer the honour on R.K. Laxman and also to Delhi to honour H.Y. Sharada Prasad (both were Mysureans).

In Bombay Times of India newspaper house, where R.K. Laxman worked as a cartoonist, had arranged the function at its hall and all the employees and friends of R.K. Laxman had gathered. Likewise at Delhi the function was organised for H.Y. Sharada Prasad at the Karnataka Bhavan.

However, the humane and nay even divine quality of the Governor T.N. Chaturvedi (eponymous name as one who has mastered four vedas) touched its acme when he agreed to arrange a special function at his Raj Bhavan to confer the Hon. Doctorate on an 85-90-year-old litterateur lady, who wrote a Mahakavya though had studied only up to primary class and deeply into social service. Her name was Mallika and her husband was the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Kadidal Manjappa.

And as I write this I remember a gift hamper received from my friend’s son Arjun Ranga of Cycle Pure Agarbathi (N.R. Ranga Rao and Sons). Not because of what gifts the hamper contained but because of the covering letter attached. Again, let the letter speak for itself:

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Dear K.B. Ganapathy Uncle,

As a Mysurean, I cannot thank you enough for bringing Mysuru to our home, every evening.

Quite like the evening filter coffee from Kodagu, the Star of Mysore was another evening fix, delivered to us, strong and refreshing, from a son of Kodagu.

Your keen senses missed nothing and reported every-thing worth knowing.

One would say that the Star of Mysore is a “Local Newspaper.”

But as any Mysurean will tell you, local news means the world to us.

Thank you for bringing our world to us, for 45 years!

Hearty Congratulations on the Doctorate.

Here’s to your health, wealth and happiness!

Here’s to the ‘Star’ behind the Star of Mysore!

I pray that you shine on…

Best Wishes

—Arjun Ranga

I was touched. I am speechless and my fingers refused to move on, probably because there is nothing more to comment on it except say Thank You. So, it is. Dear Arjun, may your pure Cycle Pure Brand Agarbathi continue to spread its divine fragrance and dispel the contaminated political and social atmosphere.

Another friend wrote thus:

You brought laurels for small-paper-journalism with quality news. I am told R.K. Narayan, Prof. CDN, Ha.Ma. Nayak, T.S. Satyan and Prof. GTN appreciated your (our) SOM. Congratulations Dr. Ganapathy Sir. — C.P.V. Gupta

And finally, here is the last word from my good friend Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy. The oracle speaks: Congrats on getting the Honorary Doctorate. It is tougher than getting ordinary Doctorate.

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