Memorial for Swami Vivekananda leaves activists divided

Some support it, others want it constructed elsewhere to save school

The protests against the proposed closure of Maharani’s NTM School to pave way for a memorial for Swami Vivekananda continued on Saturday with activists showing no signs of relenting.

The genesis of the issue is traced to a proposal mooted in 2010 to construct a memorial for Swami Vivekananda who had stayed at Niranjana Mutt during his visit to Mysore in November, 1892. But there is also a Kannada medium school which has a history of over 130 years and the activists want it to be saved and the school developed.

The issue has divided the people of Mysuru with a cross-section of them in support of the memorial while there is also strong opposition to it. Though a court order went in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Mission which is set to implement the memorial project, the activists want the government to pass an ordinance to bypass the court ruling and save the school which was among the earliest schools for girls.

On Saturday, Kannada activist and progressive leader Pa. Mallesh led a protest and said that the agitation to save the school will continue. He said they were not opposed to the memorial which, he said, could be constructed elsewhere but the school too has a history and has to be conserved and developed.

The issue has even left the political class divided and though Chamarajanagar MP V. Srinivas Prasad has supported the memorial, his stance has been criticised by activists. They said the recent statements of Mr. Prasad in support of the school exposed his double standards. When he was in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet he was opposed to the memorial but now he is in the BJP and is supportive of it, said Mr. Mallesh.

The memorial entails a meditation centre, an auditorium, a yoga training centre, coaching classes for competitive examinations, vocational training centre and a library. The proponents of the project aver it will be a major cultural centre for youth and that the opposition to it was misplaced.

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