An engineer will be awarded the Thathaiah Prize by Mysuru-based Anathalaya to mark the 178th birth anniversary of Mr Venkatakrishnaiah, popularly known as Thathaiah, on Saturday at 4 p.m.
S Murali is a pedagogue and computer engineer, who already has titles like ‘Software Ratnakara’. The prize will be awarded to him at the premises of Anathalaya.
Venkatakrishnaiah, also described as Vruddhapitamaha, Grand Old Man of Mysuru and Daya Sagara is the founder of Anathalaya, which has served poor students by providing accommodation facilities, since 1896, said CV Gopinath, president of Anathalaya and former Additional Secretary to the Union Government. .
Gopinath said the Anathalaya, on Narayana Shastri Road in the city, confers the award, which carries a scholarship of Rs 25,000, every year to mark Founder’s Day. The award is given to high-level individuals in the fields of education, journalism, social reform and service to society.
He said Murali, who holds a PhD in computer engineering from Mysore University, has a teaching experience of 33 years. He has to his credit more than 250 research articles at the national and international levels. Murali has led several workshops on computer vision and image processing technology and guided 16 PhD students. Currently, he is president of two technical colleges, 20 degree colleges, two MBA institutes, an Ayurvedic college and a nursing college, Gopinath said.
In addition, Murali sits on the board of directors of numerous corporate bodies. He served on the board of the National Standards Organization, as a special officer, and other institutions, he said.
Murali has received national and international awards such as IEEE Best Researcher, Ratnakara Software, Dakshina Kesari Award, Ramanujam Award, Mandya District Sahitya Parishat Award and Devaraja Urs Award, Gopinath said.
Venkatakrishnaiah from Magge village under Anatarasanthe hobli of HD Kote taluk from Mysuru district, belonged to a poor family, who migrated to Mysuru to earn a living. Like-minded people such as Ambale Annaiah Pandit and C Narasimhaiah joined in serving poor students, providing them with free food and shelter.
Initially, Anathalaya was established by Swami Nanjunda Saraswati at Niranjana Mutt on Krishna Vilas Road where the Vivekanand memorial stands. Later, land was allocated on the banks of Subbarayana Kere. At this point, Thathaiah was asked to take charge. At first, Thathaiah walked around with a begging bowl to feed the students.
Later lawyer K Chandrashekharaiah, Chartered Accountant PR Hariharan, Mirle Najundaiah, SV Ranganna and Thathaiah’s grandson MS Srinivasa Rao made major contributions to the development of Anathalaya.
Visitors to the Anathalaya include Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, the Seer Sringeri Narasimha Bharati Swami, Chandrashekhar Bharati Swami and the late President VV Giri.
Anathalaya’s list of illustrious alumni includes C Narasimhamurthy, IAS; Keshavamurthy, economist; SLN Simha, actor; SR Rao, space scientist; Dr G Ramakrishna, SL Bhyrappa, writer; N Krishnappa and CV Gopinath.
Until 1975, the Anathalaya derived income from Mirle, Holenarsipur and other places, through farmland owned by it, which in turn was donated by donors and elders. Under the Land Reform Act, all land was lost for meager compensation. Currently, Anathalaya runs a separate hostel for female students. Its building is donated by P Hariharan Charitable Trust.