Legendary novelist Triveni’s house to be a museum soon

Legendary novelist Triveni’s house to be a museum soon

December 15, 2022

House No. 1152 on Chamarajapuram Railway Station Road will be named ‘Belli Moda’

Mysore/Mysuru: The 120-year-old house — No. 1152, “Triveni S.N. Shankar” — located opposite Tennis Club on Chamarajapuram Railway Station Road that was once owned and occupied by the legendary Kannada novelist Triveni will soon be converted into a museum. The museum will be named ‘Belli Moda’, after her most popular novel that has been adapted into a movie by the same name, directed by Puttanna Kanagal. The ground-breaking ceremony of the conservation and museum project was performed yesterday by Triveni’s daughter Meera Shankar.

Born as Anasuya at Chamarajapuram to B.M. Krishnaswamy and Thangamma couple on Sept. 1, 1928, she, under the pen name “Triveni”, authored 21 novels and three collections of short stories. If ‘Belli Moda’ is her most famous work, equally famous and well-known are her other works including ‘Sharapanjara’, ‘Hoovu Hannu’, ‘Doorada Betta’ and ‘Hannele Chiguridaga’ — all super hit movies of yesteryears. People even now recall Puttanna Kanagal’s adaptation of ‘Sharapanjara’ where actress Kalpana earned accolades for her portrayal of a mentally challenged person.

Keeping legacy alive

Many of Triveni’s works have been translated into English, Telugu and Malayalam. Some of her novels have also been turned into serials. Her small stories collection ‘Samasyeya Magu’ got ‘Devaraja Bahadur Prize’ in 1950. Her novel ‘Avala Mane’ earned the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award in 1960.

The house will be converted into a museum and works have begun in that direction. Her Bengaluru-based daughter Meera Shankar told reporters — taking them around her mother’s house — yesterday that she wants to keep her mother’s legacy alive and make it a place for literary activities.

Triveni was also called by the name Bhagirathi. She graduated with a gold medal in her Bachelor of Arts degree from Maharani’s Arts College in Mysore. She later married an English Professor, S.N. Shankar. Triveni died on July 29, 1963 due to asthma at the age of 34 but by then she had authored more than 20 novels.

Picture shows a full view of Triveni’s house in city.

Memorabilia to be showcased

“Triveni and ‘Belli Moda’ are synonymous with each other and this is the reason why I chose the name. The memorabilia of my mother including her make-up kit, a couple of manuscripts, personal diaries, her wristwatch, saree and dress collection, dressing table, the table Triveni used to write, photographs, Siddegowda Gold Medal awarded by the University of Mysore, bookmarks and notes of the author will be on display. My father had preserved my mother’s memories,” she said.

Apart from the memorabilia, there are nearly 500 to 600 condolence letters that were received when Triveni passed away. These letters have been preserved and will be on display at the museum, Meera revealed.

“The house has been built on a 75×105 sq.ft. plot and has two portions. The front portion of the house that has a wooden staircase is 120-year-old and the second portion (about 90-year-old) was built by my mother for her literary activities. We will not demolish any part but will strengthen, restore and beautify the house to give it the shape of a befitting museum,” she added.

Inspiration from Stratford-upon-Avon

“I got an idea of converting my mother’s house into a heritage museum after I visited William Shakespeare’s house in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Even I wanted to keep my mother’s legacy alive and enable visitors to experience some of the moments of her life,” she said.

Conservation and the museum project have been handed over to conservation architect Pankaj Modi from ‘Brick and Stone’ and the entire project is being fully funded by an admirer of Triveni’s literary works and who wishes to remain anonymous.

“We will first study the building, its intricacies and will identify the problem areas and the parts that need end-to-end restoration. We will retain the originality of the structure including the materials used in construction,” Pankaj Modi said and added that the estimated time for the project completion is one year.

Psychological counselling centre

“We have decided to continue literary activities after the completion of the museum and we will open a psychological counselling centre here as the central theme of many of my mother’s novels revolves around issues related to mental health and trauma,” Meera said.

Triveni’s granddaughter Arusha Kumar, who is pursuing a Master’s course in Clinical Psychology in the US, proposed this idea of a counselling centre. It will be run by Parvathi Vattam who is trained at NIMHANS, Bengaluru.

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Legendary novelist Triveni’s house to be a museum soon”

  1. Jalandhara says:

    S N Shankar was our English lecturer at Sardavilas College, where he served all his professional life and became a professor towards reaching his retirement age. We had met Triveni his wife, a very quiet lady, who was a very good novelist, who wrote novels focusing mainly on the women’s issues.
    Shankar was a good lecturer, produced very little output, very interested in Tennis. At that time , there were brilliant English lecturers in Mysore in the Yuvaraja College and in St Philomena’s College, the real legendary Gopala Krishna Adiga whose Shakespeare’s lectures attracted many besides the students there. Shankar was not of that category.
    Triveni died relatively young, and her 20 novels were good. But, to copy the Shakespeare’s museum in his house at Stratford-upon-Avon is not feasible. He was the greatest English literary figure, with Ben Johnson paying his the tribute of: “2He was Not of an Age, but for All times”, and this Museum has been visited by every world figure, almost every \English language lovers , and is not likely to be a model for Triveni museum, a modest novelist in comparison. The visitors book there contains entries by every conceivable world leaders and literary figures-a joy to read their entries.
    Not far from her lived Ta Ra Su, who was very famous in his days, and was very socially active too, ready to come and give talks to students, and admirers..
    Meera Shankar should have been advised to see Jane Austen Museum or Bronte Sisters Museum in England as model. Again these women were far more formidable novelists, and hence the international interests in their museums. Emily Bronte’s only novel Wuthering Heights is a classic. The Museum for her and her sister in Howarth, and its surroundings is famed as Bronte Country. Highly interesting Museum, supported by international admirers of Brontes.
    For Meera Shankar, who lost her mother in her infancy of a few days, this is her mission. But there are 2 issues: 1. Are there enough artefacts for display in the museum-20 novels and condolence letters included? 2. Meera Shankar lives in Bangalore, and this museum when created will be in Mysore. She needs to find trustees, and an active museum administrator/caretaker full-time. He/she needs to be paid. If Meer Shankar had really studied Shakespeare’s Museum, she would have found out how it is really run with international trustees, English Heritage funds and the entrance fees. This Triveni Museum is unlikely to be the case. She needs to lobby the government for yearly grants.
    This museum will not be of such importance as say Kuvempu’s Museum or even RK Narayan’s Museum. Meera Shankar has her work cut out to make this Museum a success.
    The film ‘Belli Moda’ based on Triveni novel was released after her deathin 1967. When we came out of the Matinee show on the first day in Padma Theatre in VV Market area,, we could see sad S N Shankar with his bicycle and the very young Meera his daughter seated on the small seat on the bicycle bar, watching the crowd coming out. We had brief chat with him.
    Hope this Museum will be well supported.

  2. Premaleela says:

    Counselling center is a good idea.
    We miss triveni .


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