‘Mysore Generation’ H.Y. Brothers Remembered

H.Y. Brothers Remembered

Mysuru: Mysuru city has produced many illustrious individuals in the early and mid-twentieth century. Historian Ramachandra Guha dubs this line, which begins with R.K. Narayan, the English novelist, as the ‘Mysore Generation’ and in this bracket falls another well-known name H.Y. Sharada Prasad, an eminent journalist and former Media Advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

His younger brothers H.Y. Mohan Ram and H.Y. Rajagopal also fell into the same category of ‘Mysore Generation’ as they were the ambassadors of the Mysurean culture, one at New Delhi and the other at Philadelphia, USA. Both of them passed away this year — Rajagopal on April 2 and Mohan Ram on June 18.

Born in an illustrious family to H.Y. Saraswathi, who started the Mysuru Makkala Kuta and Y. Yoganarasimhan, Principal of Maharaja’s Sanskrit College and venerable music composer, both the brothers grew up in an atmosphere of music, literature and academics. While Rajagopal was famous as the ambassador of Kannada literature in America, Mohan Ram was a celebrated botanist at Delhi University popularly called as the ‘doyen of Indian botanists.’

Their sister Neeraja Achuta Rao, a noted classical vocalist, had organised a remembrance ceremony at her house in J.P. Nagar in her brothers’  memory on July 1.

Speaking on the occasion, A.C. Lakshmana, former Forest and Environment Secretary, spoke about Mohan Ram’s life and times. He said that in his student days at St. Philomena’s College he knew every plant in the wild garden like it was in his own backyard.

“Mohan Ram as a student had the nerve to invite Sir C.V. Raman, who was already a Nobel Laureate, to the inaugural Science Club talk in the college. He, who was inspired by his mentors Dr. R.P. Singh, Prof. Bahadur Singh, Prof. Maheshwari and Prof. F.C. Steward, became an inspiration himself as an academician and as a Guru,” he said.

He recalled that Mohan Ram had published more than 250 research papers on wide-ranging topics, the most renowned of which is plant tissue culture, a paradigm in Indian Botanical achievements and especially his successful cloning of banana plants. And as a Guru, a Professor of Botany at the Delhi University, he dedicated his life to his students, nurturing more than 150 doctoral students.

Lakshmana read out a poem written by Mohan Ram — I wish I could be like a Tree — which introduced the audience to both his (Mohan Ram’s) love for plants and his principles of life.

Nagalakshmi Harihareshara, Editor of Amerikannada, remembered the contribution of H.Y. Rajagopal to the Kannada literati community in America, his relentless pursuit of literature and his contribution to her home publication.

Rajagopal was also the founder of ‘Kannada Sahitya Ranga’ and through his works earned the sobriquet — ‘Amerikannadigara Hiriyanna.’

Neeraja Achuta Rao, brother H.Y. Mukunda (Biochemist, who runs a Diagnostic Laboratory in Bengaluru) and niece M.A. Jyothi also recollected fond memories of the duo.

The remembrance concluded with music by Vidu. Surabhi Pustakam who stirred the souls of the gathering with bhakti-filled Karnatak concert rendering Dasarapadas in moving ragas, according to a press release from H.J. Vighnesh, a student of Literature Studies, Ashoka University, Sonipat, Haryana.

We Mysureans remember  H.Y. Sharada Prasad, an eminent journalist, writer and famous as the Media Advisor to Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. But his two brothers, who passed away in April and June this year,  too were achievers in their own way, though not as famous as H.Y. Sharada Prasad. —Ed

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