Recognising the contributions of slain scholar and rationalist M M Kalburgi, Annigeri town in Dharwad district has named a road after him. It is perhaps the first in the state to do so.
SS Harlapur, secretary, Adikavi Pampa Pratisthana said that Kalburgi had established Annigeri’s intellectual status through his research, according to a report by Sangamesh Menasinakai in The Times of India.
“His relationship with the town was strengthened in 1985, during a seminar on Pampa, widely recognized as the first poet of Kannada in the 10th century, organized by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Bengaluru. Using evidence, including inscriptions, at Kurkiyal village in Kareem Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh, Kalburgi said Pampa was born in Annigeri. When Kalburgi was honoured with the Pampa Award in 1997, he returned Rs 1 lakh to the government, saying it be used to construct a memorial in Pampa's name in Annigeri,“ he said.
According to activist Shantakumar Harlapur, Kalburgi had countered the opinion of archaeological experts when about 600 human skills were discovered during excavation of a site on the town’s outskirts.
“The state archaeology department had concluded that the skulls belonged to victims of a severe famine, between 1792 and 1796, which had affected Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Annigeri and other parts of North Karnataka. Various theories were doing the rounds since the skulls were unearthed. One theory indicated that the skulls were the outcome of a massacre and killing for witchcraft,“ the activist said.
“Mentioning the inscription of Goddideva that's available at Veerabhadreshwar temple in Annigeri, Kalburgi had said that members of the Veera Maaheshwaras, a sect, sacrificed their lives in an age-old practice termed ` Atmahuti' (self-secrifice). According to him, they used to chop off their body parts one by one and this place had religious significance for them,“ he added.