Source : The Hindu
52-year-old was born in Belgium, but speaks Kannada fluently and has written a book in the language
Stall number 21 is a special attraction for people thronging book stalls at the Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. That is where they find a Belgium-born man speaking fluently in Kannada, marketing his Kannada works. Some of them stop and chat on the woks of Shivaram Karanth, Poornachandra Tejaswi, Lankesh, Jayant Kaikini or Abdul Rasheed.
Hendrik Hardeman’s collection of short stories Namune is on display at the stall, besides a book of Sudoku puzzles.
After living in several countries, the 52-year-old has settled down in Mysuru. He had lived for some time in Bengaluru, where he founded the first dedicated Puzzle Company in 2001. For six years from 2002-08, as a representative of the World Puzzle Federation of India, he organised several puzzle and Sudoku tournaments.
He learnt Kannada with the help of dictionaries and grammar books. “I have not learnt Kannada through a guru (teacher),” he says. Shifting to Mysuru has made a big difference. “Mysuru’s Kannada environment helped me learn Kannada and hone my skills in writing,” he told The Hindu.
His favourite Kannada author is Poornachandra Tejaswi. “I have read eight of Tejaswi’s important works. My favourites are Karvalo, Chidambara Rahasya and Jugari Cross.” he says. He also likes Mukajjiya Kanasugalu of Karanth and short stories of Abdul Rasheed.
He now works as a translator. “I am translating Amruthaballi Kashaya of Jayant Kaikini into Dutch. If I am satisfied with the translation, I will think of publishing it,” he said.
He favours making mother tongue as the medium of instruction. “Children learn better in their mother tongue. I don’t know what will be the future of Kannada because of the increasing hegemony of a colonial language. The next generation may feel closer to English than Kannada. It is a must for those living in Karnataka to learn Kannada,” he said.