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Language History

Kannada, the language used in Karnataka, is recognised by the Indian Constitution as one of the principal languages of the country. Kannada is the mother-tongue for the majority of the people in Karnataka. Even the neighbouring states such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Daman and Diu have a substantial number of people using Kannada as their mother-tongue. The language has acquired various forms, styles and dialects corresponding to the regional variations and other factors that have influenced the land.

Kannada belongs to the group of south Indian languages popularly known as the Dravidian family of languages, with several regional dialectical variations. Presently, at least three well-defined regional dialects, popularly known as Mysore-Kannada, Dharwad-Kannada and MangaloreKannada are spoken in the three respective cultural centers of Karnataka i.e. Mysore, Dharwad and Mangalore. Within these main divisions, there are several other dialectical subdivisions such as Havyaka, Badaga, Nadava, Koosa, etc. which are local dialects mixed with other language forms.

The written characters of the language are derived from the Brahmi script which is the parent-script for all modern Indian languages, first popularised all over India through the edicts of Asoka. The earliest form of Kannada script is found in the Halmidi inscription dated 450 A.D. Many of the Badami Chalukyan records in Sanskrit are written in this script. The Kannada script has been changing continuously and the present Kannada script is the result of such evolutionary changes for over 2,000 years. The present script was standardised after the introduction of printing, in which letter forms are mechanically reproduced with unchanging uniformity.

Since Kannada, Tamil and Telugu belong to the Dravidian family, all three languages are similar in structure. Though these have also passed through various stages of development, from being a dialect of the Dravidian stock to the status of a cultured language with a script of its own, the technical, scientific and philosophical vocabulary was nourished by the Sanskrit language. The earliest form of the language is known as Halegannada (Old Kannada) and Nadugannada (Middle Kannada) of later stages paved the way for Hosagannada (Modern Kannada). Halegannada nurtured classical literature and most of the popular literature belongs to either Nadugannada or Hosagannada.


Kannada as the Administrative Language

Many royal orders issued in Kannada from the 6th century A.D. onwards reveal that although Prakrit and Sanskrit were used in earlier and later periods respectively, Kannada was also used for administrative purposes by successive rulers of Karnataka. The Halmidi record of the Kadambas and the Badami cave record of the Chalukyas are the earliest Kannada records announcing royal grants. The use of Kannada for administrative purposes increased during the rule of Kalyana Chalukyas and later during the period of the Hoysalas and Seunas. A majority of the inscriptions belonging to these dynasties are in Kannada, containing a number of administrative words in Kannada, as well as Sanskrit terms. In some of the Sanskrit orders, the operative portion is written in Kannada to facilitate easy understanding by the general public. A large number of records belonging to Vijayanagara rulers are in Kannada. Successors of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Keladi Nayakas and Mysore Wodeyars also used Kannada as the only administrative language of the state. Inscriptions and royal orders of Bijapur rulers, Shahji, Ekoji and Shivaji are found in Kannada. Kannada was extensively used by the British, Kodagu rulers and Mysore Wodeyars, both for administrative and general purposes. In present times, Karnataka government has made Kannada the official language of the state and has introduced several schemes and measures to promote the use of the language as well as implement its use at all levels of the state machinery. Thus, Kannada language now enjoys support both from the government as well as the general public.


Antiquity of Kannada Literature

The beginnings of Kannada literature are shrouded in obscurity due to lack of literary evidence prior to 8 - 9th century A.D. since very few epigraphical evidences are available. The majority of inscriptions belonging to the early stages of history are in Prakrit language written in Brahmi script and characters. Most of them are short memorial records paying tribute to heroes.


Halmidi Inscription

The Halmidi inscription (in Belur taluk, Hassan District) is the earliest Kannada inscription, dated 450 A.D. This inscription, in prose form, reveals mature expressions which has led many scholars to believe that by this period, Kannada had developed as a literary language. It sheds light on the early stages of the language and literature and on the already established influence of Sanskrit on Kannada. In fact, the mangalasloka (invocatory verse) of the inscription is in Sanskrit.

The Anaji (Davangere District) inscription which belongs to about 5th century A.D. contains a metrical passage in Kannada which could probably be the first line of Kannada verse. From the 6th century A.D. onwards, Kannada inscriptions became increasingly popular. The kappe arabahatta inscription of Badami dated 7th century A.D. is in tripadi style, i.e., three-lined verse in Kannada. Belonging to the same period is an inscription in Sravanabelagola praising a Jaina guru named Nayasena, written in a vritta metre. All these show that Kannada began to grow as a cultured language for literary use from about the 5 - 6th century A.D.


Early Literary Works

Kavirajamarga, written or compiled by Srivijaya, the court poet of the Rashtrakuta king Nripatunga (808 - 880 A.D.) is the first available work in Kannada literature. This is a work on poetics, a free rendering of Sanskrit Kavyadarsha of Dandin which is dated to about 850 A.D. Many scholars nowadays have agreed that it was written by Srivijaya for his patron, Nripatunga. The very fact that this early literary work is on poetry points to the prevalence of a rich literary tradition before his period. In fact, Kavirajamarga itself mentions names of many authors who had written prose and poetry in Kannada such as Durvinita, the Ganga king, Nagarajuna and others.

Vaddaradhane, a Jaina work written in narrative prose is also a work of this period, according to some scholars. Tambaluracharya’s voluminous work on philosophy called Chudamani is believed to have been written in Kannada.

From the 10th century A.D. onwards, Kannada literature witnessed continuous development with various literary forms enriching both the language and literature. Some scholars have identified three stages of growth in Kannada literature as Jaina, Virasaiva and Vaishnava yugas (periods) corresponding to the religions that dominated the history of Karnataka in successive periods.

Another school recognises five stages of development as Heroic and Epic Age, The Age of Religious Propaganda, The Age of Revolt, The Age of Glory and The Age of Revival.


The Heroic and Epic Age

The period between 6th - 11th century A.D. is considered as an age of struggle and strife, with ruling dynasties such as Chalukyas, Pallavas, Rashtrakutas, Gangas and Cholas trying to establish their supremacy over one another. This resulted in heroism being recognised as a great virtue and this is reflected in the literature of this period.

The Epic Age which followed the Heroic Age during 900 - 1200 A.D. reveals the efforts made to Sanskritise Kannada language by empowering it with the rich vocabulary, rhythm, syntax and prosody of Sanskrit language. This gave a secure literary base to the language, which continued till the 12th century A.D. These efforts led to the emergence of the Champu style of writing, which is a mixture of prose and poetry. Epics written in Champu style became very popular during this period which flourished for a very long time. The themes for these epics were drawn from great Indian epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Jaina biographies and legends of the period. Several writers such as Pampa, Ranna, Nagachandra, Gunavarma and others enriched Kannada literature during this period by using metrical style in their works.

Pampa (941 A.D.) is regarded as one of the foremost and greatest Kannada poets who wrote both secular and religious epics. His work Vikramarjunavijaya is a narration of Mahabharata in a distinctive style, in which he glorifies Arjuna as the hero of the epic. He also made use of a veiled allegory in the personality of Arjuna to glorify his patron king, Arikesari of Vemulavada. By glorifying both Arjuna and Arikesari, he attempted to combine the epic story with contemporary history in a novel way. He has expressed these intentions in the work also. Pampa also wrote Adipurana, a religious epic on the life of the first Tirthankara (Jaina saint) of the Jaina tradition. The work focuses on shanta-rasa (peace) in keeping with the religious and philosophical doctrines of the Jaina faith. Hence, it is aptly said that Pampa represented a rare combination of the Brahmanical as well as Jaina cultures of Karnataka. His greatness as a poet can be established by the fact that although many other writers followed his style of rendering, none of them could excel his inimitable style.

Ponna (950 A.D.), another great poet of the period, wrote Bhuvanaikaramabhyudaya and Shantipurana. Ranna (993 A.D.) wrote Gadayuddha, a classic which depicts the duel between Bhima and Duryodhana in an effective style. He also wrote Ajitapurana on the life of the Jaina saint Ajitanatha. Nagachandra (1000 A.D.) wrote Ramachandracharita, a Jaina version of the Ramayana, and Mallhinathapurana, a religious epic.

Shivakoti’s Vaddaradhane and Chavundaraya’s Chavundarayapurana are considered as standard works in Kannada prose belonging to this period. Several other works such as Nagavarma’s (990 A.D.) Kadambari and Chandombudhi, Durgasimha’s Panchatantra, Gunavarma’s (900 A.D.) Shudraka, in which he draws a comparison between a Ganga king and Shudraka, the author of Mrichchakatika, are some of the highly acclaimed works of the period.

Srivijaya, a general under the Rashtrakuta king Indra III, was a great poet himself. Though his works are unavailable, the Manne copper plate record composed by him is of great merit and serve as a short epic by itself, thus justifying the praises bestowed on him by his contemporaries.

Several Jaina puranas such as Adipurana, Shantipurana, Ajitapurana and others were written in Champu style. Chamundaraya’s Trishashtilakshanapurana seems to be the first Kannada work written in pure prose form. This period marks the composition of both heroic and classical works written by Jaina and Brahmin authors like Nagabhatta, Nagavarma Acharya, Karparasa, Divakara, Narayanabhatta, Kamaladitya and others.

In addition to epics and puranas, other works were also produced during this period. Besides the already mentioned Nripatunga’s Kavirajamarga, a work on poetics, Nagavarma (900 A.D.) wrote Chandombudi, a treatise on prosody. Scientific works like Madanatilaka, on erotics by Chandraraja (1079 A.D.), and Supashastra, on culinary art, belong to this age.


The Age of Religious Propaganda

The period between 12th - 16th A.D. was marked by an intense religious unrest in Karnataka. It was an age when religious leaders like Ramanuja, Madhva, Basava, Vidyaranya and others tried to revive orthodox Hinduism with their new philosophies and faiths. These religious leaders tried to propagate their ideas with a missionary zeal. They also brought many reformative changes in society, much to the displeasure of orthodox and conservative Hindus. Thus, these developments led to a great deal of unrest, bitterness and competition among warring faiths in the land and as a result of these disturbed socio-religious conditions in the society, vast literature which was propagandist in nature was produced during this period.

Jaina writers wrote many puranas narrating accounts about the Thirthankaras to revive interest among the general public towards Jaina religion which was on the decline. Puranas such as Nagachandra Charita, Pushpadantapurana, Chandraprabhapurana, Ananthanathapurana are some of the works written by Jaina authors. Brahmin scholars wrote works like Jagannathavijaya, Haricharita, Krishnalila, Ramayana and others. Virashaiva writers like Harihara, Siddarama, Kondaguli Keshiraja, Maggeya Mayideva, Gubbi Mallanna and others also contributed extensively. Vachanakaras of this period enriched Kannada literature to a great extent through their unique style and form. However, in general, the writings of this period were tainted with malice, intolerance, bitterness, sarcasm and criticism reflecting the socio-religious conditions prevailing in the society.

The voluminous religious literature that was produced during this period lost the grandeur and refinement of the earlier period but nevertheless became popular because of its lucid and simple style of rendering. New forms of literature such as Shatpadi, Sangatya and Vachana came into vogue. Vachana literature made noteworthy impact because of its crispness, rhythmic cadence, chaste and severe diction. Dignity and beauty were introduced into prose as a form of literary expression.


The Age of Revolt

During the middle of the 12th century A.D., Jaina and Virashaiva writers paved the way for a new literary movement in Karnataka. The revolt in the socio-religious spheres gathered momentum because of Virashaivism. Virashaiva mystics and saints under the leadership of Basavesvara preferred vachanas, the simple and popular medium, for expressing their ideas and views. Spiritual leaders belonging to Virashaiva faith such as Basava, Allamaprabhu, Akka Mahadevi and many others, contributed immensely to Kannada literature through their vachanas. While Basava expressed himself as bhakta (devotee) and Allamaprabhu as a jnani (scholar), Akka Mahadevi sought eternal love in her Lord Channamallikarjuna. The members of this movement, popularly known as Saranas, many of them coming from humble professional backgrounds without any education or training, produced meaningful and powerful literary compositions based purely on their rich experience in life and wholehearted spiritual leanings. Thus, the vast vachana literature that emerged during this period, which was more of a mystical nature and prose-lyric in form, became a significant branch of Kannada literature and contributed enormously to the growth of the language. Jaina writers like Nayasena and others wrote popular stories in simple Kannada as against the grand language of earlier times.

By the end of 12th century A.D., works employing new metrical forms, Ragale and Shatpadi, by writers like Harihara and Raghavanka were written. They gave new impetus to the language in terms of metre and style. Harihara wrote many biographies of Saivite devotees among which, that of Basaveshwara stands out as an excellent work in Kannada literature. Raghavanka’s Harischandrakavya brings out the artistic and dramatic skill of the writer in narrating the central theme of the valuable work.

Between the 12th - 14th century A.D., a distinctive style of classical poetry known as Champu was developed. Eminent poets like Nemichandra (1170 A.D.), Rudrabhatta (1180 A.D.), Janna (1209 A.D) and Andayya (1235 A.D) used this style in their works. Rudrabhatta was the first brahmin poet to use this style in treating religious themes from Vishnupurana. Janna, the author of Yashodharacharite and comparable to Pampa and Ranna in merit, wrote on love and lust with great insight and understanding. Andayya wrote Kabbigarakava in pure Kannada without using any Sanskrit words, except for a few derivatives. In this work, Kama, the God of love, wages war against Siva, believing that Siva had stolen the moon which belonged to him. Out of rage, Kama turns Siva into a hermaphrodite. Though the theme derived its inspiration from Hindu mythology, because of its originality, imagination and narration, it is acclaimed as an excellent work of the period. Kesiraja (1260 A.D.) of the same period wrote Shabdamanidarpana, which is a standard work on Kannada grammar.


The Age of Glory

The period between 14th - 16th century A.D. is remembered as the Golden Age of the Vijayanagara empire. During that time, poets of all faiths enriched Kannada literature with their works. Kumaravyasa (1430 A.D.), a popular poet of the period, wrote Karnataka-Bharata-Kathamanjari, popularly known as Gadugina Bharata, which covers the first ten parvas of Mahabharata in the distinctive Kannada metre called Shatpadi. Because of his varied narrative skills and resilient style, Kumaravyasa was considered as one of the greatest poets of Kannada literature. While Pampa unfolds the human aspect of conflicting emotions in his Bharata, Kumaravyasa emphasises the play of divine power in human affairs through his characterisation of Krishna and others. Kumaravalmiki (1500 A.D.), another great poet, also belonged to this period. Lakshmisha (1600 A.D.) wrote Jaimini Bharata which is considered one of the most popular narrative poems of Kannada literature.

Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa, under the inspiration of the Madhva saint Vyasaraja, composed many devotional songs using simple spoken Kannada as their medium of expression. They inspired Dasakuta, a segment of the Bhakti movement in Karnataka. Because of its devotional appeal, Dasasahithya reached every household in Karnataka. Even today, it holds its sway on the cultural ethos of the people of Karnataka.

Systematic reorganisation of the Virashaiva vachana literature continued during this period. Among the Virashaiva writers of this period, Lakkanna Dandesha, Nijaguna Shivayogi, Virupaksha Pandita, Chamarasa and others made valuable contributions. Prabhulingalile of Chamarasa is an acclaimed work of this period and Nijaguna Shivayogi’s Viveka-chudamani is regarded as an encyclopaedic work.

Eminent writers belonging to the Jaina faith such as Mangarasa, Salva, Ratnakaravarni and others enriched Kannada literature through their meritorious works. Bharatesha-vaibhava by Ratnakaravarni is an example of excellent work in Sangatya metre and is praised as one of the greatest poems of the period. Ratnakaravarni elevated the folk Sangatya style to the status of literary poetry. This period marks the waning or declining influence of the Champu style and the rise of Shatpadi and Sangatya styles as popular forms of Kannada literature.


The Age of Revival

Between 17th - 19th century A.D., old forms of writing prose and poetry and Champu style were revived. Tirumalarya and Chikkupadhyaya, noted writers of the period under the patronage of the Mysore ruler Chikkadevaraja, wrote Srivaishnava legends and biographies in Kannada enriching Kannada literature with Srivaishnava themes and topics. Tirumalarya even wrote contemporary history and paid glowing tributes to his patron king in his work Chikkadevaraja-vijaya.

Sarvajna’s contribution to Kannada literature is popularly known as Sarvajnana-padagalu. This is composed in Tripadi i.e., threelined stanzas. His compositions are an inimitable storehouse of great wisdom and wit which are still spoken by many Kannadigas, to this day.

Shadakshari is another excellent writer of the period. His works, Rajashekhara-vilasa (1657 A.D.), Vrishabhendra-vijaya (1671 A.D.) and Shabara-shankara-vilasa are brilliant compositions displaying the author’s mastery over classical Kannada language.

Yakshagana, a form of folk play, became popular during the 18th century A.D. Muddana, praised as the ‘morning star’ of Kannada literature wrote his famous prose work Ramashvamedha in the 19th century in which he treated the emotion of love as both human and divine. This work was written on one of the chapters in the life of Sri Rama in the Ramayana, the great Indian epic.

Apart from secular and religious works, books on science, astrology, medicine, mathematics, ethics and philosophy were also written by Kannada writers during the long stretch of historical development. Over 1,000 authors of Kannada works can be counted from the recorded history which gives an idea of the immense wealth of Kannada literature.

Old and Middle Kannada Literature

A brief survey of the rich tradition of Kannada literature reveals that the use of various forms and styles used by successive writers from time to time, helped in strengthening the language and literature of Kannada. Literary forms such as Champu, Vachana, Ragale, Sangathya and Shatpadi added variety to the structure of the language and beauty to its literature. The central themes were drawn either from mythology, history and religious lore or the epics which were popular at various periods in the history of Karnataka. The merit of the Kannada writers lies in the reconstruction of old themes according to their own artistic ideas and imagination. Pampa-bharata and Gadayuddha stand out as excellent examples of plot building and characterisation which are essential for a good work of literature. The ability of writers like Pampa, Ranna, Nagachandra, Harihara, Kumaravyasa, Ratnakaravarni and others for creating vivid and intense characters is amazing and praiseworthy. These classical writers delineated epic characters like Duryodhana, Karna, Ravana and others in their own distinctive styles and imagination.

The influence of Sanskrit on classical Kannada literature was more prominent than on popular poetry and prose. The classical writers also made generous use of Sanskrit words and idioms to enhance the value of their works.


Modern Kannada

Modern Kannada which began in the latter part of 19th century blossomed during the 20th century. It began in the fields of translation and journalism and the introduction of printing and spread of liberal education played a significant role in providing a wider reach for Kannada writing. This further helped nourish Kannada writers from all sections of society and all walks of life. The progress of Kannada as a language and a literature was rapid during the second half of 20th century. The freedom to express freely and vehemently galvanised the progress of the language to a great extent. Both forms of poetry, i.e., romantic and modern, made good use of freedom of expression and variety. Extensive use of new themes and new metres which were inspired by outside influences but adapted to Indian situations, furthered the growth of Kannada literature.

The awareness among people of Karnataka to collect and preserve old literary forms is definitely on the rise today. This is being supported by various public and government organisations and universities. In spite of the wide diversity of religion, caste and creed, Kannada language has successfully unified the people of Karnataka in the cultural sphere. Some of the modern works in Kannada are considered masterpieces in art and merit. These have also been successfully translated into other Indian languages and English, thereby contributing significantly to the glorious literary heritage of Karnataka as well as of India. The new movement in modern Kannada started from the time of the Mysore king Krishnaraja Wodeyar III who reigned from 1799 - 1831 A.D.

Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar continued the tradition of his predecessors. He himself was a good writer and extended patronage to many authors and Kempunarayana’s Mudramanjusha deserves a special mention. Wodeyar also started the Raja’s English in School 1833 A.D. and this alongwith the expansion of missionary activities, was responsible for increasing the western influence on Kannada literature. The last two decades of the 19th century under Chamaraja Wodeyar and the first two decades of the 20th century under the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV saw a new era in Kannada literature. M.S. Puttanna’s Madiddunno Maharaya, D.Venkatachalayya and Dr. B.V. Venkateshaiyya’s detective stories like Parimala and Arindamana Sahasagalu, Galaganatha’s social and historical novels, Kittel’s Kannada-English Dictionary, Cha. Vasudevaraya’s BalaBodhe belong to this period. Translated novels by B. Venkatacharya and Galaganatha, mostly historical, made a deep impact on readers.

In 1921, B.M.Srikantayya heralded the Navodaya movement. His English Geethagalu was a free rendering of some great English poems. Around this period, K.V. Puttappa (Kuvempu) had switched over from English writing to Kannada, where the culmination of his work was Sri Ramayana Darshana written in blank verse. Puttappa’s social novels such as Kanurusubbamma Heggadati and Malegalalli Madumagalu are equally well acclaimed. Among the works of the thirties, D.V. Gundappa’s Manku Timmana Kagga stands out as a jewel. It is considered to be unique as it contains ethical principles, philosophical truths and experiences of life. Samsa wrote many plays in Halegannada, of which Vigadavikramaraya is the best example.

Kannada literature has the unique distinction of receiving the highest number of the prestigious Bharatiya Jnanapitha awards which are given to eminent authors. Except for U.R. Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, all five of the seven Jnanapitha awardees in Kannada - Kuvempu, Da Ra Bendre, Shivarama Karantha, Masthi Venkatesha lyengar and V.K. Gokak - have been writing since the Navodaya period. Da Ra Bendre won the award for Naku Thanti, a metaphysical poetic work, but his popularity is based more on his writings drawn from folk culture. Shivarama Karanth’s writings range from encyclopaedia to novels, essays, drama and poetry. Marali Mannige is his oft-mentioned novel, but Bettada Jiva, Chomana Dudi and Mookajjiya Kanasugalu are also noteworthy. His works mirror the cultural ethos of Dakshina Kannada. Masthi Venkatesha lyengar is primarily noted as a short-story writer. His Chennabasava Nayaka and Chikaveerarajendra are historical novels dealing with the degeneration of monarchy, while Subbanna is a long story which reaches metaphysical heights. V.K. Gokak began as a Navodaya poet, but his magnum opus is Bharata Sindhu Rashmi which seeks to find answers for the modern man’s dilemmas in the ancient epics. Significantly, Ananthamurthy’s Samskara also seeks inspiration from traditional wisdom. Girish Karnad is basically a playwright whose plays have been staged all over the world and translated to various Indian and foreign languages. Dr. B. Chandrashekara Kambara has become the eighth recipient of this prestigious award.

K.S. Narasimha Swamy’s Mysuru Mallige, a collection of poems with love and separation as the theme is a landmark of the Navodaya period. G.P. Rajarathnam’s Rathnana Padagalu stands unique in world literature in seeing truth and beauty in a drunken man’s gibberish. Pu Thi Narasimhachar’s Gokula Nirgamana has Krishna’s separation from Radha as its theme and this again reaches spiritual heights. Gorur Ramaswamy lyengar chose the essay form to portray the life of rural Karnataka. His Halliya Chitragalu is considered the best example of his writings. His tradition was continued by A.N. Murthy Rao in Hagaluganasugalu and M.R. Srinivasa Murthy in Rangannana Kanasina Dinagalu.

The period also saw a spurt in works on literary criticism and of these, T.N. Srikantaiya’s Bharathiya Kavya Mimamse is considered as classics. A.R. Krishna Shastry nurtured a whole generation of writers through Prabuddha Karnataka, a periodical brought out by the Kannada Sangha of the Central College and later by the Mysore University. S.V. Ranganna, an English Professor, who had established himself as a Kannada writer through Ranga Binnapa, wrote literary criticism in Shaili and Ruchi. V. Sitaramayya’s works varied from Hana Prapancha, an economic treatise, to Pampa Yathre, a travelogue, to a host of writings, from poetry to literary criticism. R.S. Mugali wrote Kannada Sahitya Charithre, a succinct and balanced history of Kannada Literature.

In the mid-forties, the Navodaya movement gave way to Pragatishila Chalavali. A.N. Krishna Rao was the torchbearer for this movement which connected writers in their ivory towers to the common man. A. Na. Kru’s short stories are good examples of this genre of writing and he is noted for his bestselling novels such as Sandhya Raga, Udaya Raga, Nata Sarvabhauma, Grihini and Kanneeru. Basavaraja Kattimani, hailing from North Karnataka, wrote Nee Nanna Muttabeda, Shivadara Janivara and Nanoo Polisanagidde portraying the netherworld behind the facade of Kaavi and Khaki. Although Ta. Ra. Su started as a progressive writer with novels like Hamsagithe, Masanada Huvu and Munjavinda Munjavu , he found his forte in historical novels woven around his birthplace Chitradurga; Durgasthamana is the finest example of his writing. Niranjana who was an active communist during the freedom struggle, wrote down-to-earth novels as Doorada Betta and Rangammana Vathara as well as Chirasmarane based on the agrarian movement, but his magnum opus is considered to be Mrityunjaya, dealing with Egyptian history. Chaduranga wrote Sarvamangala and Uyyale both dealing with extra-marital love affairs. Interestingly, his Vaishaka, written many decades later, also deals with extra-marital relationship in a rural setting.

Among the works of women writers, Triveni’s novels like Bekkina Kannu, Sharapanjara and Muchchida Bagilu were essentially psycho-analytical. Anupama drew themes from her rich experience as a medical practitioner in stories like Aranyadallondu Aragini and M.K. Indira’s forte was the portrayal of Malnad life in novels such as Phaniyamma. All of them were part of the progressive movement.

After the progressive movement came the Navya movement. This was influenced mostly by post-war English writers like T.S. Eliot, Auden, Ezra Pound, D.H. Lawrence, Sartre and Camus. Gopalakrishna Adiga was the foremost exponent of the Navya movement and his Bhumi Githa is said to have been influenced by T.S. Eliot’s ‘Waste Land’. P. Lankesh’s collection of stories Kurudu Kanchana and his absurd play Teregalu, Srikrishna Alanahalli’s long story Kadu, Shanthinatha Desai’s Vikshepa, Poornachandra Tejaswi’s Nigoodha Manushyaru, Nissar Ahmed’s poems like Masti and Ramanu Satta Dina, U.R. Ananthamurthy’s stories like Prashne and Clip Joint, Yeshwanth Chittala’s Shikari and Vyasaraya Ballala’s Bandaya are some examples of the new writing in Kannada. Chandrashekara Kambara and A.K. Ramanujam widened the frontiers of Navya poetry. Kambara used his command over the diction and tunes of folk poetry to embody the tensions of life caught between tradition and a new culture. He has made a mark as a poet, a novelist and a dramatist. His Jokumara Swamy is a very popular play. A.K. Ramanujam, a remarkable poet, presented clear, vivid pictures with an apparent casualness. S.L. Byrappa who shot into fame with his Vamshavriksha is one writer who has scrupulously avoided conforming himself into any frame. Some of his celebrated works are Anveshane, Grihabhanga, Thabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Daatu, and Aavarana.

Post Navya writing is sometimes called Navyotthara Sahitya, Bandaya Sahitya or even Dalita Sahithya. The writers belonging to this movement are of the firm view that only Dalits can authentically write about their trials and tribulations and anything written by others, however impressive, will still remain a secondhand experience. It is however interesting to note that Devanuru Mahadeva who does not like to classify himself into any group or ‘ism’ has written some of the finest Dalit literature. His Odalata and Kusuma Bale have won many laurels. Chennanna Valikar, Siddalingaiah, B.T. Lalitha Nayak, Aravinda Malagatti and Geetha Nagabhushana are other important writers who are known for their notable Dalit works. G.Venkataiah of Maddur Taluk had written some books as early as 1940, highlighting the pains and pleasures of the Dalit people, even before there was any such movement.

The Feminist movement began after the Dalit movement. Women writers started writing independently about their own experiences which had quite a different dimension and perspective. They not only questioned the male supremacy in society but also tried to bring about equality with men. R. Kalyanamma who published Saraswati, a monthly for 42 years, Nanjanagudu Tirumalamba who published Sati Hitaishini and then Karnataka Nandini, Sarawathi Bai Rajawade (Giri Bale) who envisioned modern education for women, Kodagina Gouramma, Belagere Janakamma, Shyamala Devi Belagaumkar and the like gained prominence in the 80’s and after, through their feminist writings. Phaniyamma by M.K. Indira, Itigeetike by Vijaya Dabbe, Gandasuru by Veena Shanteshwar, Sahana by Sara Abubakar, Seetha Rama Ravana by H.V. Savitramma are some commendable works. The Karnataka Lekhakiyara Sangha, a feminist writers’ organisation founded in 1978, played an important role in giving a feminist touch to social values and also in mirroring them in the writings of women. Streevani Praveshike edited by B.N. Sumitra Bai and N. Gayathri is noteworthy. Many women writers wrote books on different fields from a woman’s point of view. Among them were Hemalatha Mahishi (Law), H. Girijamma and Leelavathi Devadas (Health), Vijaya and S. Malathi (Theatre), Namichandra (Science and Fiction) and Vaidehi (Fiction). B.N. Sumithra Bai, Vijaya Dabbe and many others are good feminist critics. There were also many feminist poets during this period.

Any survey of Kannada literature would be incomplete without the mention of some writers who did not specifically represent any particular school or movement, but were still successful in drawing enormous attention. Krishnamurthy Puranika is one such and his novels like Dharmadevathe, which faithfully depicted the middle-class life of old Mysore or Hyderabad Karnataka or Mumbai Karnataka, were a rage among women readers. Likewise, N. Narasimhayya who wrote detective stories under the series Patthedara Purushotthamana Sahasagalu was so successful that the series included over 100 titles. Though he was seldom seen at any literary meet yet nevertheless, his books helped in inculcating the reading habit in school children. Ma Ramamurthy of Mandya District also wrote detective novels.

At the other end of the spectrum, B.G.L. Swamy blended humour and science writing very effectively. His Hasiru Honnu on the botanical wealth remains a classic many decades after its publication. His Kaleju Ranga and Kaleju Tharanga are masterpieces of humour dealing with his experiences as a college teacher. In the sphere of drama, Girish Karnad’s plays and performances have attained national fame. His Tughlaq and Nagamandala made tremendous impact with all the dramatic elements. Hayavadana and Agni Mattu Male, Tipu Kanda Kanasugalu, Yayati are also notable plays. Most of Karnad’s plays are drawn from history, folklore and epics. Similarly there are writers like C.K. Nagaraja Rao, Ma.Na. Murthy, Devudu Narashimha Shastry and K.V. Ayyar who have written scholarly novels like Pattamahishi Shanthala, Shanthala, Mahabrahmana and Mahakshatriya, and Rupadarshi.

Many travelogues were also written. Among them, Shivaram Karanth’s Apoorva Paschima, A.N. Murthy Rao’s Apara Vayaskana America Yathre, Gorur’s Americadalli Gorur, popular detective story writer T.K. Rama Rao’s Golada Melondu Suttu, N. Lakshminarayan’s Nirdeshakana Videsha Yathre, D. Javere Gowda’s Videshadalli Nalku Vara, Krishnananda Kamat’s Naanoo Americakke Hogidde, Navarathna Ram’s Pyarissininda Preyasige, K. Anantharamu’s Udaya Raviya Nadinalli, Susheela Koppar’s Paduvanada Pathramale can be cited as outstanding examples.

Historical research studies also contributed to the literary scene. Among them, M. Govinda Pai, Panje Mangesharao, R.S. Panchamukhi, S.C. Nandimath, K.G. Kundangara, F.G. Halaktti, S.S. Basavanal, R.C. Raja Purohit, Kapataral Krishnarao, R.V. Dharawadkar are notable. Among the recent scholars, M. Chidananda Murthy, M.M. Kalburgi, T.V. Venkatachala Shastry, Hampa Nagarajaiah, Srinivasa Ritti, B.R. Gopal, K.K. Kurlkarni, Srinivasa Havanur, Suryanatha Kamath, Lakshmana Telagavi and others may be cited as those involved in these studies.


Folk Literature

Kannada literature can boast of a wide variety of folk literature too. The themes of these folk songs and poems are centered around the domestic and social life of the people of Karnataka. Though described as ‘lyrics in miniature’, sometimes they equalled other serious forms of literature because of their style and finish. The group songs, ballads, tripadis (three-line songs), lullabies and others afforded variety and richness to the folk literature of Karnataka, making it one of the distinctive and significant branches of Kannada literature.

Folk tradition in Karnataka, as elsewhere, began orally. The systematic study of folk literature was initiated by European scholars. The Kittel dictionary has a rich collection of proverbs, most of which are of folk origin. Kittel was helped in this effort by his immediate superior at the Basel Mission Church, Mangalore, Rev. Moegling. Abbe Dubois’ work Hindu Customs, Manners and Ceremonies contains a number of folktales. May Frere’s Old Deccan Day is an independent collection of folktales. Among Kannadigas, Nadakeriyanda Chinnappa, a scholar from Kodagu, published a book in Kodava language called Pattole Palame in 1924, which is a collection of regional folklore with Kannada commentary.

This was followed by Halasangi brothers of North Karnataka who published three volumes of folksongs and ballads, titled Garathiya Haadu, Mallige Dande and Jeevana Sangeetha. Archaka B. Rangaswamy Bhatta of Mandya District brought out a book Huttida Halli Halliya Haadu, which depicts the rural traditions of an entire village. During the pre-Independence period, B.S. Gaddagimath was perhaps the first scholar in Kannada to secure a doctorate for his thesis on folklore. This was followed by Jee Sham Paramashivayya’s series of articles in Kannada journals on folklore. Haa Maa Naik, a scholar in linguistics, published many papers on the study of folk culture. D. Javaregowda, as ViceChancellor of Mysore University, established a Folklore Research Center at Mysore. The Universities of Bengaluru, Dharwad and Gulbarga also offer Doctoral Degrees in the study of folk culture. Recently, Hampi Kannada University and Shimoga University have also been at the forefront for promoting folk literature.

Two other main centers for the study of folk literature are the Karnataka Janapada Trust and the Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Academy. The former has a collection of more than 1,000 folk songs recorded from all over the state. The latter brings out a collection of folklore of about 100 pages annually at a very low cost.

Mathigghatta Krishnamurthy has brought out a series of voluminous books like Grihini Githegalu, a collection of folk songs. S.K. Karim Khan has travelled the length and breadth of Karnataka giving lectures on folk literature. Popular playwright and novelist Chandrasekhara Kambara, who has won the Jnanapitha award, has to his credit, many popular adaptations of folk stories like Siri Sampige, Singaravva Matthu Aramane, Kadu-Kudure and SangyaBalya. Girish Karnad won international acclaim for his play Nagamandala based on a folk story, and so did A.K. Ramanujan for his collection of folk stories. B.V. Karanth and C. Aswath are pioneers in composing folk music for films. They made their debut as music directors in Vamsha Vriksha and Kakana Kote, respectively. H.L. Nagegowda, B.B. Handi and H.K. Rajegowda have done remarkable work in this field. Janapada Loka of Janapada Parishat at Ramanagar is functioning well due to H.L. Nagegowda’s efforts and has a rare collection of folk materials. Arambhadettu Inooru, Anebanthondane, Nannuru, Veriyar Elvinnana Girijana Prapancha are some of the important collections. H.K. Rajegowda’s Kempanna Gowdana Yakshagana Kavyagalu, Vokkaliga Janangada Sampradaya, Itihasa Janapada are notable works. K.R. Krishnaswamy (Karakru), Hi.Chi. Boralingaiah and Mudenur Sanganna’s works are also praiseworthy.

Some folktales are common to all regions. One such is about a Harijan youth masquerading as a brahmin and marrying a girl from that community. When the girl discovers the deceit, she throws herself into a pyre and becomes a goddess. Another narrative, Kerege Hara is woven round a chaste woman who sacrifices herself for the successful completion of a village tank. In addition to this, there are many animal tales in which the fox is the trickster.

In the realm of songs, there is one for every rural activity - grinding, pounding, christening the baby, lullaby, marriage, nuptials, or even tattooing. The last named is the forte of a distinct community called the Koravanjis. The songs used for Kolata, a stick dance performed in Karnataka, also have lilting lyrics. The ballad or narrative folk song is another distinct form. Jeeshampa has classified them into twelve groups or traditions as (1) Devara Guddas (2) Neelagaras (3) Ganeplayers (4) Gorvas (5) Choudikeyavaru (6) Aradigalu (7) Karapaladavaru (8) Tamburiyavaru (9) Kinnara Jogigalu (10) Dombidasaru (11) Helavaru and (12) Telugu Jangamaru.

Some of the popular ballads are Gunasagari, Sarjappa Nayakana Kathe, Madakari Nayaka, Kitthuru Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna, Balanagamma, Malaya Madeswara Kavya, Manteswami Kavya, Yallammana Kavya and Mailaralingana Kavya. There is a large collection of books on folk medicine such as Padartha Sara, Vaidyaratnakara etc. Many of these were brought out by or with the help of the royal family of Mysore.


Sanskrit Literature

Sanskrit influenced the different regional languages of India and the relationship between Sanskrit and other languages was always intimate, intrinsic and profound. For centuries, Kannada literature practically served as a channel through which Sanskrit ideas and ideals of culture flowed unceasingly. Had it not been for the harmonious assimilation of Sanskrit thought and spirit, Kannada literature would not have blossomed in richness, variety and magnificence. Sanskrit set the standards for Kannada writers and provided the norms for fine writing. When decadence in taste set in, the corrective also was, to a certain extent, made by Sanskrit. Even during the literary renaissance of the modern period, Sanskrit opened an inexhaustible reservoir of unexplored realms of thought, embedded in the Vedas and Vedanta, Sankhya and yoga.

Karnataka has made an impressive contribution to Sanskrit literature on topics like philosophy, ethics, poetry and literary sciences. The Vijayanagara monarchs were known for their religious tolerance which is stated in many inscriptions. This tolerance provided impetus for the growth of different systems of philosophy and religion, each of which received equal encouragement and patronage from the Vijayanagara rulers. In fact, it was the avowed object of the founders of this empire to save the Hindu religion and culture from assaults by Muslim invaders and to restore the sanatana dharma.

It was, therefore, natural that much of the philosophical literature was produced during this period. Under the enthusiastic patronage of the benevolent monarchs, the talent of the poets and scholars expressed itself in various forms such as kavyas (historical, mythological and legendary), dramas, prose romances and champus and scientific literature such as grammar, rhetoric and music. It is difficult to trace the advent of Sanskrit language in Karnataka. Perhaps the earliest epigraphical evidence for the use of Sanskrit in India comes from Karnataka. There is a two- word sentence, Chapadena likhitam, at the end of the Asokan edict in Brahmagiri, but this is not enough evidence to infer that Sanskrit had spread to Karnataka at that time. The earliest available Kannada record, the Halmidi inscription contains many Sanskrit expressions. Its mangala verse itself is in Sanskrit. The early inscriptions found in Karnataka from 3rd - 4th century A.D., are mostly in Prakrit. More recent research has shown that the earliest use of Sanskrit is seen in the Chandravalli inscription of Mayurasharma (325 A.D.), the first king of the Kadamba dynasty. The Talagunda inscription of Shantivarma, written by the famous Sanskrit poet Kubja, is an excellent composition in chaste Sanskrit in Kavya style. The next important Sanskrit inscription is the Aihole prashasti (637 A.D.) composed by Ravikirti in which poets like Kalidasa and Bharavi are mentioned. For about three centuries from the 5th - 7th century A.D., inscriptions were mostly in Sanskrit.

The early Jain writers of Karnataka originally wrote in Prakrit and only later, wrote in Sanskrit. Many Prakrit and Sanskrit works were produced by the Jaina scholars of Karnataka before they started writing in Kannada.

Vijayambika or Vijjika, the daughter-in-law of Pulakesi II, was a great Sanskrit poet. Her literary works on drama such as Kaumudi Mahotsava, which is a historical play with a romantic theme, are famous. She was a rival to Dandin and used to taunt him with admiration though her verses are quoted in alankara works.

Many writers of Karnataka also wrote in Sanskrit. Chudamani of Vardhamanadeva is the earliest known Sanskrit poetic work written by a Karnataka writer. It is referred to by Dandin, but the text is not extensive. The credit for the first translation of the great collection of stories, the Brihatkatha of Gunadya written in the Paisachi language, goes to the Ganga king Durvinita. Kathasaritasagara of Somadeva is a later Sanskrit translation of Brihatkatha. Vidyadhananjaya, a court poet of the Ganga king Bhutuga, has written a dvisandhanakavya, i.e., Raghava Pandaviya which delineates the story of both Mahabharata and Ramayana by using the technique of puns and is very unique. Jatasimhanandi’s Varangacharita, Viranandi’s Chandraprabhacharita, Vadiraja’s Parswanatha Charita and Janna’s Yashodhara Charita, Jinasena’s Harivamshapurana, Gunabhadra’s Uttarapurana and Jinadattacharita, Mallisena’s Nagakumarakavya, Vadibha Simha’s Gadya-Chintamani, etc. are some of the Sanskrit Mahakavyas written by Jaina poets of Karnataka, most of which are produced between 9th – 12th century A.D.

Trivikrama’s Nalachampu is the first champu-kavya in Sanskrit. He was at the court of Rashtrakuta kings. Madalasa champu is also his work. It is quite likely that the champu style was first developed in Kannada and later adapted in Sanskrit. Somadeva Suri’s Yashastilaka champu is another fine example of champukavya. Prashanottara ratnamalika of Amoghavarsha is a small poem with a philosophical touch. Halayudha’s Kosha, Kavirahasya and Mritasanjivini deal with lexicon and prosody.

Bilhana, though hailing from Kashmir, was a court poet of Chalukya Vikramaditya of Kalyan, whose work Vikramankadevacharita is a historical poem. Mitakshara, a commentary on Yajnavalkyasmriti, which is regarded all over India as the most authentic source book for Hindu law, was written by Vijnanesvara in the 12th century A.D. under the patronage of the Kalyana Chalukyas. King Bhulokamalla of the same family wrote the great encyclopedic work Manasollasa.

During the Hoysala period, the poets of the Vidyachakravarti family made significant contributions to Sanskrit poetry. Gadyakarnamrita of Vidyachakravartin II and Rukminikalyana of Vidyachakravartin III are outstanding works. Trivikramapandita, a contemporary of Sri Madhavacharya, wrote Ushaharana and Narayana Pandita, son of Trivikrama Pandita, wrote a biographical poem, Madhvavijaya. This became a model for the biographical poems of Madhva saints. The works Jayatirtha Vijaya, Vadiraja Charitamrita, Vidyadhishavijaya, Satyanathabhyudaya, Raghavendra Vijaya, Satyabodha Vijaya, Satyasanda Vijaya, etc. are biographical poems which contain a good deal of historical information of the respective periods. Vyasayogi Charita of Somanatha Kavi is a unique champu-kavya written in scholastic style with a rich vocabulary. Guruchandrakalodaya is a drama describing the events in the life of Satyadharma. Guruvamshakathakalpataru is a biography of Madhva saints, from Sri Madhva to Sri Satyabhoda. Shankaradigvijaya of Anandagiri and Vidyaranya are two biographical poems depicting the life of Shankaracharya.

Sanskrit literature developed in all its branches during the Vijayanagara period. Bhoganatha, a brother of Sayana, was a great poet and his Udaharanamala was a collection of illustrations for different concepts of Alankara Shastra. Ramollasa Tripura Vijaya, Sringaramanjari are his other poems. Sayana himself has composed Alankara sudhanidhi and Subhashitha sudhanidhi. Gangadevi, the daughter-in-law of Bukka, composed a poem Madhuravijaya or Veerakamparaya charita. Some of the kings of the Vijayanagara empire were poets. Important works of the period were Virupaksha’s Narakasuravijaya, Saluva Narasimha’s Ramabhyudaya, Krishnadevaraya’s Jambavatikalyana and Madalasacharita, etc., Praudha Deva Raya’s Mahanatakasudhanidhi and Immadi Deva Raya’s Ratiratnapradipika, which were some of the works that were produced by the members of the royal family. The poets of Dindima family, Anantabhatta, Shivasurya, Vamanabhattabana, Bhaskara, Ekambaranatha, Arunagirinatha, Mallikarjuna, Vidyaranya, Madhavamantri, Bhoganatha, Svayambhu and Diwakara and several other poets and writers flourished during Vijayanagara days. Vadiraja of Sodematha, a philosopher, poet and saint, wrote Rukminishavijaya and Tirtha Prabandha. Women poets like Kamakshi, Tirumalamba, Madhuravani, Mohanangi, etc also have produced great works.

It was during the Vijayanagara rule, under the guidance of sage Vidyaranya, that there was extensive activity in the Sanskrit literary field. The prodigious commentaries on the Vedas were written by Sayana, with the help of a large number of Vedic scholars. Vidyaranya himself is credited with more than 30 works covering almost all branches of Hindu traditional knowledge, including philosophy, astronomy, music and so on. It is apparent that there was a sort of movement to preserve the traditional Hindu culture, which was under threat at that time. Works on all aspects of Hindu inheritance were produced in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit literary works continued to be written even after the disintegration of the Vijayanagara empire. A large volume of work produced show the unbroken tradition of contribution to Sanskrit literature by Karnataka poets, such as Yadavapandavaraghaviya of Anatacharya, Kavikarnarasayana of Shadaksharadeva, Veerabhadravijaya of Ekambara, Nanjarajayashobhushana of Narasakavi, Subhadradhananjaya of Sudindrayogin, Subhadraparinaya of Sumatindra and Konkanabhuydaya of Ramacharya. Pradhani Venkatamatya tried his hand at all forms of Sanskrit plays. He has written Nataka, Prakarama, Prahasana, Bhana, etc. and his Alanakaramanidarpana is a work covering all aspects of poetics.

The contributions of Karnataka in the field of shastra, particularly in Vedanta, are very rich. The name of the great Sureshvara Vishvarupa is associated with Sringeri Peetha. His Brihadaranyabhashyavartika and Naishkarmyasiddhi are well known. Anandagiri’s commentaries on Gitabhashya and Upanishads are helpful to understand Shankara. Among the outstanding works of Vishishtadvaita written by the scholars of Karnataka, the works of Ramamishradeshika, Vatsyavarada and Varadavishnumishra, who were all relatives of Ramanuja and migrated to Karnataka with him, deserve mention. The works of Parakalyati, Srinivasacharya and Anantacharya are also significant. Classification of Vishistadvaita scholars on a regional basis is more difficult than that of Advaita scholars. Their association with Melukote, Mysore and some other Vaishnava centers in Karnataka is sufficient for their works to be considered as contributions of Karnataka.

Karnataka has exclusive claim over the contributions made by the founders of the Dvaita School of Philosophy. Madhvacharya wrote bhashyas on Prasthanatraya, i.e. Brahmasutra, Upanishads and Gita. He also wrote a bhashya on Rigveda and prepared digests of Mahabharata and Bhagavata. In his 37 works, he has re-evaluated the entire Hindu sacred literature and established the Dvaita doctrines. Jayatirtha, his chief commentator, wrote Nyayasudha in which all major problems of Indian philosophy are discussed, bringing a fresh approach to many of them. Vysaraja is another great Dvaita writer. His Chandrika, Nyayamrita and Tarkatandava are great dialectical works.


The Fine Arts

The fine arts, particularly music, developed to a great extent during the Vijayanagara period. The Rayas of Vijayanagara were great lovers of music and were also scholars on the subject. The celebrated Vidyaranya has made a considerable contribution to the music of Karnataka. His Sangitasara though not available now, was undoubtedly a source of inspiration and the basis for the later writers on music, like Raghunatha and others. Chaturakalanatha, of the court of Praudhadevaraya, is a commentator par excellence of Sarngadeva’s Sangitaratnakara. The commentary is said to be an encyclopaedia of music and is an indispensable work for understanding Bharata’s theory of music. Gopa Thippa, the minister of Saluva kings is the author of Taladipika, a treatise of Marga and Deshi Talas. Devacharya, another musician of this period, is the author of Sangitamuktavali, a treatise on dance and music.

Lakshminarayana who migrated from Cuttack to Vijayanagara, was a musician of repute in the court of Krishnadevaraya. This artist who earned the title Abhinava-bharatacharya is the author of Sangita Sarvodaya which deals with different aspects of music. Ramayamatya in the court of Aliya Ramaya is the author of Svaramelakalanidhi. Pundarika Vitthala, another noted musician, was the contemporary of Ramayamatya. Laksmidhara who flourished in the court of Tirumalaraya is said to have written Bharata Shastra Grantha, a work on music. The illustrious patron Raghunatha was himself well-versed in music and is the author of Sangeeta Sudha. Venkata Makhi, son of Govinda Dikshita, is the author of a treatise on music entitled Chaturdandiprakashika.

Vijayanagara witnessed brisk activity in all walks of life like politics, philosophy, religion, literature and fine arts and thus, played an important part in preserving and enriching Indian culture and learning. Kannada women did not lag behind in contributing to the literary field. Women like Gangadevi, Tirumalamba, Madhuravani, Ramabhadramba and others have, through their poetic talent, earned a permanent place in the galaxy of Indian women poets. They have enriched the beauty of Sanskrit literature and provided authentic sources of our history.

Gangadevi, the talented queen of Kampana, the son of Bukka, is the author of Madhuravijayakavya which describes the conquest of Madhura by Kampana. Instead of choosing her subject matter from the well-known Ithihasa which was the usual practice with most Sanskrit poets, the poet has chosen the biography of her royal consort, a befitting theme to exhibit her remarkable poetic talent. She adapts the style of a Mahakavya, and so the ingredients of the Mahakavya like the descriptions of seasons, battles, romance have aptly found their place in the kavya. In paying obeisance to the ancient poets, she humbly acknowledges her indebtedness to the great poet Kalidasa whose works inspired her. Some descriptions bear the stamp of Kalidasa’s influence, but they are transformed by her imagination and invested with new significance, and therefore exhibit new beauty and freshness.

Tukkadevi, the daughter of Prataparudra Gajapati of Orissa, was one of the queens of Krishnadevaraya, but their marriage was not a happy one. Being a virtuous lady, she resigned herself to her fate and composed a few verses on her forlorn situation. The five verses of Tukkapanchakam ascribed to her, aptly describe the sorrowful situation that she was trapped in.

Tirumalamba, who lived in the court of Achyutaraya, is the author of Varadambikaparinaya, a beautiful prose romance of historical importance. A born genius and versatile scholar, she had a wonderful command over Sanskrit language which is evident in her work. Her husband Achyutaraya had chosen another bride and she was overcome by jealousy, yet she has exquisitely described the marriage of Varadambika with Achyutaraya. The literary piece ends with the installation of their son, Venkatadri as Yuvaraja. The vivid descriptions and beautiful language remind us of Bana’s prose. Mohanangi, the daughter of Krishnadevaraya and the wife of Ramaraya, is ascribed with the work Marichiparinaya, a love poem. Another poet, Abhiramakshi belonging to the family of the Dindimas, is said to be the author of Abhinava Ramabhyudaya, a kavya in 24 cantos on the story of Rama.


Literature in Other Languages


Tulu is one of the ancient languages of the Dravidian family. Tulu speaking people are called Tulavas and are mostly found in Dakshina Kannada and Kasargodu district of Kerala. Tulunadu is bound by the Kalyanapura River in the north, Arabian Sea in the west, Western Ghats in the east and the Payaswini / Chandragiri river in the south. Tulu has its own linguistic peculiarities but shares a number of common features with Kannada and other Dravidian languages. It has a very vast folk tradition which is mainly found in the form of Paddanas, Sandi, Kabita, Uralu, Padipu, Nritya-padya, Gadi, Ogatu, Jogula, Ajjikathe etc.

Tulu brahmins are generally familiar with the Vedas and Shastras. Their folk songs are based on episodes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Among the lower castes and untouchables, the tradition of Bhuta worship is prevalent.

When compared with other Dravidian languages, Tulu has very little classical literature. During the past 150 years, Tulu has adapted the Kannada script for its literary works. Even though the works of Tulu literature, initiated by the Basel Mission Christians, were only translations of the teachings of Christianity in the beginning, a few important works like the Tulu English Dictionary, etc. were published later. Collections of their folksongs and histories of Dakshina Kannada and Tulava culture were also published. Works on Tulu grammar, dialects and a doctoral thesis on the structure of Tulu verb transformation analysis were published in the latter half of the 20th century. The Kerala and Karnataka governments have helped in developing lexicons and text books of Tulu. Many Kannada plays of Yakshagana and religious works have also been translated to Tulu. Notable early writers of Tulu literature are Sankayya Bhagawat, Sheenappa Hegade, K.B. Narayana Shetty and M.V.Hegde. S.U. Phaniyadi established the Tulu Mahasabha in Udupi in 1928 which was a great boost to Tulu literature and culture and led to a linguistic and cultural movement in Tulu.

Tulu theatre and dramas developed during this period. K. Doddanna Shetty, K.N.Tailor, Rama Kirodiyan, U.R. Chandar, K.B. Bhandari, Machendranath, Ramananda Charya, Sitaram Kulal, P.S. Rao, Vishu Kumar, etc. were the pioneers of the Tulu theatre. The beauty of Tulu idioms, proverbs and expressions is very well represented in the social activities of this period. Yakshagana, the spectacular folk dance of Karnataka, also became popular even in Tulu. Tulu poets like Amrita Someswara, Anatharam Bangady, Purushottama Punja, Nityananda Karanth, Ashok A. Shetty, K. Shekar.V.Shetty, G.Bayaru, Madhukumar and A.N.Shetty have composed Tulu Yakshagana epics. There are some organisations which are working for the propagation of Tulu language and culture. Tulu Koota of Mangalore is one such organisation and some Tulu journals are also being brought out.

Many poets have made a name in Tulu literature, notable among them being Mandara Keshava Bhat whose Mandara Ramayana is a wonderful epic, Venkataraja Puninchittaya, P.V.Acharya, Ramakrishna Achar, Dumappa Master, Vamana Nandavar, K.V.Ravi, Tilakanath Manjeshwar, Ratna Kumar, Yeshwantha Bolur, Bhaskar Rao, Sitaram Kulal, Sitaram Alwa and Bannanje. Three Tulu classics in Grantha script, each of them more than 200 years old, have been found in palm manuscripts. They are Tulu Bhagavato by Vishnu Tunga, Kaveri and a prose work Devi Mahatme.

Many scholars are engaged in research on Tulu language, culture and folklore of the Tuluvas. They are D.N.S. Bhat, S.N. Bhat, M. Rama, S. Mallikadevi, U.P. Upadhyaya, William Madta, T. Gopalakrishna Bhatta, Sediyapu Krishna Bhatta, A. Acharya, Venkataraja Puninchattaya, Vivek Rai, Amrita Someshwar, Sushila Upadhyaaya, Chinnappa Gowda, K. Padmanabha Kekhunaya and other young scholars. Some of the works on Tulu linguistics and folklore brought out are - A comparative study of Tulu Dialects, Tulava Darshana, Folk epics of Tulunadu, Tulu Janapada Sahitya Bhutaaraadh Karaavali Jaanapada, etc.

Tulu Academy was founded by the state government in 1994. Research on Tulu language, folklore and history is carried out in the Kannada department of Mangalore University and the Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Research Center at M.G.M. College, Udupi. Scholars in Pune, Annamalai and Trivandrum universities are engaged in research on Tulu language. The Govinda Pai Center at Udupi has compiled a multi-volume set on modern Tulu Lexicon. Tulu Academy founded in 1995 honoured 42 luminaries of Tulu literature up to the year 2006.



Till the 17th century A.D., Kodava language was the principal language in Kodagu which was then a separate state. Kodagu had considerable Malayalam influence because of its trade connections with Malabar. The Haleri dynasty which took over the reins of administration of Kodagu adopted Kannada as the court language. The Kannada influence of about 230 years changed many shades of the original language, of which the adoption of the Kannada script for writing was the most important change. Appaneranda Appachcha who wrote many Kodava plays and Nadikeriyanda Chinnappa who compiled Pattole Palame and translated the Bhagavad Gita, were pioneering writers in the Kodava language. After the merger of Kodagu with Karnataka, there was a great literary awakening. Dr. I.M. Muthanna, who is the author of A Tiny Model State of South India and many other books, has published a collection of poems in Kodava language. B.D. Ganapathy has written two books in Kodava language called Nanga Kodava and Kuttambolicha. His Kannada book on Kodava culture Kodagu mattu Kodavaru won the State Academy Award. Efforts are being made to foster Kodava literature and the Kodava Thak Parishat was established in 1978. It is working towards bringing out a Kodava lexicon. The first annual conference was presided over by the noted writer B.D. Ganapathy.

Kodava has a very rich folk tradition. Kodava folk songs depict the various facets of their colourful life and the poems are both robust and humorous. In these songs, the peculiarities of the Kodava language are noticed, but these songs seem to be of a bygone era and their authors are unknown. The difference between the language used in these songs and the present spoken language is striking. The Kodavas love their land and their songs begin with a patriotic praise of their land.

I.M. Muthanna has completed a Kodava-Kannada Nighantu in Kannada. The starting of the Brahmagiri weekly in Kodava language in 1980 from Virajpet and Jamma Nangada in 1983 from Gonikoppal, gave a great fillip to writing in the Kodava language and led to the publication of books. All these publications are in the Kannada script. In 1994, the Kodava Akademy was founded by the state government and the Academy, functioning from Madakeri, has honoured 75 persons with Annual Awards up to 2006.



Konkani, which is an independent language, is spoken by o v e r 15 lakh people spread across the western coast of India, of which more than 6 lakh are in Karnataka. The Konkani speaking people were mostly living in Goa, but after the annexation of Goa by the Portuguese, many of them fled to Dakshina and Uttara Kannada districts, fearing conversion to Christianity. At present, there is a large concentration of Konkani speaking people in south and north Kanara districts, including the Udupi district of Karnataka. Even though the Konkani language and culture were suppressed by the Portuguese, the people who migrated from Goa managed to help their culture flourish. In the Konkani literature produced in Karnataka, there are two distinct groups, one produced by the Konkani Hindus and the other by their Christian counterparts.

The Konkani works of the Hindus date back to the famous Bhakti poets like Santappayya, Raghavadas, Jogawa and Avadi Bai who composed devotional songs in Konkani. Later, the Bhagavad Gita z222z Glimpses of Karnataka was rendered into Konkani by Bangle Narayana Kamath. Mangesh Ramakrishna Telang, Bolantur Krishna Prabhu, Upendra Pai, Swamy Prabhavananda, N.V. Prabhu and B.V. Baliga wrote excellent poems and plays in Konkani. Scholars like Udyavar Narayanachar, Hattangadi Narayana Rao and M.M. Shanbhag published works on Konkani grammar. Other notable writers are Sheshagiri Keshava Prabhu, Mundas Devadas Pai, Kodbet Ramaraya Kamati, Bantwal Pundalika Baliga, V.R. Prabhu, S.V. Kamat, M.G. Pai, etc.

Newspapers in Konkani language were published as early as 1929, when a fortnightly periodical named Saraswat was published from Mangalore. Other journals like Navyug, Uzvadh, Konkana Kinara and Sarvodaya followed subsequently. Organisations like the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Konkani Bhasha Parishad, Institute of Konkani and Konkani Bhashabhimani Samiti work for the promotion of Konkani and feature films, have also been made in Konkani.

Konkani language flourished among the Christians of Dakshina Kannada. Konkani tracts and commentaries were prepared on the New Testament. Rev. Rafaelle Pascetti and Rev. Fransesco Saverio da Santa Anna were pioneers who studied Konkani. The Jesuits who arrived and set up institutions like St. Joseph Seminary, St. Aloysius College, Fr. Muhller’s Hospital and Codailbail press gave a fillip to the development of Konkani culture and literature. Many other writers and poets wrote verses and commentaries on Christian religion and culture.

As far back as 1912, two Mangalorean youth, Louis Mascarenhas and Louis Kannappa published the first Konkani journal in Kannada script, the Konkani Dirvem. This was followed by other journals like Rakno, Toinari, Mitr, Sukh-DukhYSevak, Zagmag, Vishal Konkan, Kanik and Udev. Many Konkani playwrights like G.M.B. Rodrigues, A.T. Lobo, V.J.P. Saldanha, M.P. D’esa, Henry D’Silva, Eddie D’Souza and C.F.D Coasta have written many plays in Konkani and earned fame. Novels and stories in Konkani have also been written. Many scholars are involved in research on Konkani language, literature and culture. Notable among them are Dr. William Madta and Dr. Rockey Miranda. Dharwad too is a center for research and literary activity in Konkani language.

The state government founded the Konkani Academy in Mangalore in 1994. From 1995 - 2005, 59 eminent writers have been awarded by the Konkani Academy and this includes Konkani newspapers and associations.



Urdu is spoken by 9 percent of the people in Karnataka and their number is next only to that of the Kannada speakers. It is the mother tongue of a majority of Muslims in the state. The Urdu Academy was established in 1976 by the Karnataka Government to foster Urdu language and literature. The growth of Muslim power in the Deccan gave rise to a necessity for a new dialect which would help the ruling class converse with various sections of the local population. Deccani, the new dialect emerged as a symbol of co-ordination, integration and understanding between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Bahamani Sultans patronised this language. There were great literary works by celebrated writers and poets like Nijama (Kadam Rao Padam), Wajhi (Qutab Mushtari and Sub-Rus), Gawasi (Saiful Mullock-O-Badie-Ul-Kamat), Aajiz (Laila Majnu), Balaqi (Meraj Nama), Ibn-Nishati (Phool Ban), Tabie (Khaisa-L-Behram-O-Gul Andam) and Sewak (Jung Nama). Hazrath Bande Nawaz and his descendants wrote copiously in Urdu. The advent of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in Mysore gave a fresh impetus to Urdu. They patronised some eminent writers like Mohammed Sayeed Mekhri Aasi, Shah Mohammed Sadruddin, Mohammed Ishaq Bijapuri, Ziaul Abeddin Shustri, Hassan All Izzat, Ahmed Khan Sherwani, Syed Shah Aarif Khadri, Qazi Ghulam Ahmed, Lala Badha Singh, Lala Mehtab Rai Sabqat and Mir Hassan Kirmani. The benevolent Maharajas of Mysore also extended patronage to this language. The golden period was the 19th century. The outstanding men who supported the development of Urdu literature in this period were Shah Abu Haiwaiz, Hazrat Mohammed Khasim Khan, Sufi, Kaleem Athar, Dil, Sabir, Nawab Sultan Naseem, Jadoo, Ameer, Shoukat Nasir, Barq, Tahqiq, Amir, Tahiti and Aaram.

The development of Deccani as Urdu in north India led to Urdu becoming the written language and Deccani, the spoken language in Karnataka. The impact of Urdu on Kannada language is also notable. There are about 438 Arabic and 614 Persian words which have entered into Kannada through Urdu. These are mainly seen in revenue records. Some of them are zamindari, muzrai, masidi, gumasta, kacheri, kharchu, dewan, karkhana, etc. The outstanding litterateurs of the first half of the 20th century were Khaji Abdulla Hussain Khaleeli, Shah Abdul Hussain Abib, Syed Ghouse Mohlddeen, Hajrat Faiq, Hazrat Alta, Hajrat Zaiq, Hazart Showq and Mohamood Khan Mohmood. The literary personalities of the present generation who have followed in the footsteps of their predecessors are Sulaiman Khateeb, Imami, Tadbish, Khaleel Semabi, Mahmood lyaz, Hameed Almas, Rahi Quereshi, Dr. Muddanna Manzar, Fiyaz Belgodi, Shula Mailli, Mohammed Hanif, Kaleem Mohammed Khan and Mabarijuddin Rafat. Spread of education among women has brought many female writers to the fore. They are Sayeeda Akhtar, Murntaz Shireen, Begum Rahmatunnisa, Maimon Tasneem, Husna Sarur, Zubaida Nusreen, Dr. Habibunnisa Begum, Dr. Amina Khatoon, Dr. Waheedunnisa, Dr. Fahmida Begum and Basheerunnisa Begum.



The cultural, religious and literary affinities between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are intimate and significant. Many Telugu kings ruled over large parts of present day Karnataka and many Kannada rulers ruled over large areas of the Telugu speaking area. Numerous Telugu inscriptions found in Karnataka and numerous Kannada inscriptions found in Andhra Pradesh reflect this fact. Before the advent of the Vijaynagara rulers, both Telugu and Kannada had a common script. Now, even though they have different scripts, both are very similar to each other. Palkurike Somanatha, who is famous in Telugu literature as the author of’ Basava Puranamu, is known to have written some ragales and vachanas and works like Sheela Sampadane and Sahasra gananama in Kannada. There are also other works in Telugu like Simhagiri Vachanas and Venkateshwara Vachanas modelled on the vachanas of Basavesvara. The Vijayanagara period was the golden age for both Kannada and Telugu. The Vijayanagara court was the meeting place for both these languages and cultures because it provided opportunities for large scale exchange of ideas between the two communities. In the 19th and 20th centuries, works like Chaudeshvari Puranam (Gummarajura Mahakavi), Sukarma-niti-chintamani (Komarla Ramachandraiah), Padmavathi Srinivasa (Kahula Bhairava Kavi), etc. were written. What Sarvajna is to Kannada Vemana is to Telugu. Bhimaraju, a Telugu poet of Karnataka, translated Sarvajna’s vachanas to Telugu and Vemana’s Telugu poems into Kannada. In recent times, considerable literary activity is seen in the realm of translations. Award-winning works of literature of the two languages are translated and in this field, T.V. Subba Rao, Badala Ramaiah, K.S. Janakiramaiah, R.V.S. Sundaram, Nirupama and Hariharapriya have done commendable work. The universities of Bengaluru and Mysore which have wellestablished Telugu departments have helped the development of this language in Karnataka. Another notable trend is the translation of political and social satires and novels from Telugu to Kannada. Telugu cinema and Kannada cinema have a very close relationship. Telugu Samiti and Andhra Vijnana Sangham in Bengaluru are trying to provide a common platform for literary and cultural activities. A common script for both Telugu and Kannada languages is often advocated.



Kannada and Tamil originated from the same proto-Dravidian language and Kannada can be compared to Tamil in antiquity. Both Kannada and Tamil have influenced each other immensely. The Pallava and Chola dynasties ruled over parts of present Karnataka. The Gangas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara emperors ruled over large parts of Tamilnadu. The word ‘Karnataka’ itself appears to have been a contribution of the Tamils as it is used as Karunat in Tamil works like Shilappadikaram. The two languages are so close to each other that some of the expressions of early Kannada are also found in Tamil. Numerous Tamil inscriptions are found in present day Karnataka and numerous Kannada inscriptions are found in present day Tamilnadu. Many Tamil words are found in Kannada with slight variations. It is presumed that the earliest Kannada poet Pampa must have known Tamil as well. The incident of Karna defeating Duryodhana’s wife in a game of dice and snatching her necklace as a stake which is narrated by Pampa in Vikramarjuna Vijaya has a Tamil source. Harihara’s Ragales with their ragale metre might have been an adaptation of avagal of Tamil metre. In the days of Ramanuja, who took shelter in Kannada speaking regions, the Srivaishnava religion he propagated had its impact on Karnataka. Many Tamil brahmins settled in the agraharas at places like Tondnur and Melkote. This religion and its literature in Tamil made an impact on Kannada literature. Sripadaraya who initiated Haridasa Sahitya was influenced by Tamil devotional songs. The love of the Tamil poets for their language, their enthusiasm for pure Tamil expression, their deliberate attempt not to borrow from Sanskrit and to retain Tamil idioms influenced Kannada poets and writers. This attitude is reflected in the writings of Srivaishnava Kannada poets like Chikkupadhyaya, Singararya, Tirumalarya and Sanchiya Honnamma. They have made use of chaste Kannada even though they were well-versed in Sanskrit. This attitude is also clearly reflected in the writings of B.M. Srikantaiah. His slogans like Sirigannadam Gelge, Sirigannadam Balge, El Kannada etc., clearly indicate his enthusiasm for chaste Kannada and in this respect, he was influenced by Tamil literature. The impact of Kannada on Tamil is also considerable. Many religious movements in Karnataka like Jainism and the Ganapathi cult probably appear to have moved from Karnataka to Tamilnadu. Tamil inscriptions speak of Jain ascetics from Shravanabelagola being active in Tamilnadu. Vatapi Ganapathi, whose praise is sung by Muttuswami Dikshitar, indicates the advent of t h e Ganapathi cult into Tamilnadu through Karnataka. Chamarasa’s Prabhulingaleele, Sarvajna’s Vachanas, Vachanas of Basavesvara and Akka Mahadevi have been translated into Tamil. Tamil classics like Tirukkural, and Perriyapuranam have also been rendered into Kannada.



Evidence of the cultural unity between Kerala and Karnataka emanates from legends like those of Parashurama created on the coastal belt. Though the two cultures could have emanated from a common Dravidian source, both perhaps had exposure to more or less identical foreign influences as the entire strip of the west coast constituted the core for trade and commercial activities in early times. Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya cannot be considered as an exclusive representative of Kerala culture since what he propagated was the general Hindu revival. He established one of his pithams at Sringeri in Karnataka. He is said to have consecrated the present idol in the famous Mookambika temple at Kollur near Kundapur. Many Tulu brahmins have migrated to Kerala. The latest link in this trail is perhaps the influence of Lord Ayyappa, the deity whose main shrine is in Kerala. Kannadigas throng the shrine every year and many temples devoted to this deity have been built in Karnataka. In the realm of linguistic features, Kannada and Malayalam have originated from a common Dravidian source. Halegannada was surprisingly similar to Malayalam. The alphabet, basic vocabulary and underlying structures are almost identical in these languages. Sanskrit influenced both the languages immensely and the influence of the great Sanskrit works of poets like Kalidasa, Bhasa, etc. over Kannada and Malayalam is similar.

The age-old contact between Karnataka and Kerala entered into a new era during the missionary activities on the west coast. Due to the patronage extended by the Sahitya Academy, works like Chemeen, Yakshi , etc. of Malayalam origin have been translated into Kannada. There are instances, though rare, of Kannada writers drawing inspiration from certain settings and features of Kerala life and vice versa. The well known progressive novel in Kannada, Chirasmarane by Niranjana revolves around an incident that occurred in the Kerala village Kayyar, and its Malayalam rendering received overwhelming appreciation. One of the latest poems by Dr. Ayyappa Paniker, the outstanding modern poet of Malayalam, is titled Chamundimaleyile Thiruvilayattam. The Trivandrum Karnataka Association brought out a volume of Mandara Mallige, a collection of representative pieces of Malayalam literature translated into Kannada. In recent times, a group of new writers have translated short stories, novels, monographs, etc. thus bringing the two languages and cultures into closer contact. K.T. Sridhar (Manju), P.V. Puninchattaya (Nannajjanigondaneyittu), Srikrishna Bhat Arthikaje (Ayyappan), K.K. Nair, C. Raghavar, M.S. Lakshmanachar, N.S. Sharada Prasad, P.G. Kamat, Sarah Abubakar and Venugopala Kasaragod are prominent among them. The Karnataka Sangha of Thiruvanantapuram has brought out a publication called Purandaradasara Keerthanavali with Malayalam translations with details of musical notes and explanations.



Marathi and Kannada have been very close to each other for centuries. Geographical, cultural, social, anthropological and religious bonds were responsible for this affinity. Mutual influences and exchanges are seen in the usage of these languages. Marathi evolved through Maharashtrian Prakrit, popularly known as Jain Maharashtri. Linguistic peculiarities of the Marathi language spoken in Karnataka are significant and the use of Kannada words and idioms is prevalent. Some peculiarities like the dentopalatal pronunciation in the original Marathi are observed in the Marathi spoken in Karnataka. The influence of the Kannada word avaru used as a suffix after any proper name in Marathi is very significant. The Muslim rulers of Bijapur, Mysore and many small jahgirs in Karnataka, like Jamkhandi, etc. granted a significant place to the Marathi language and the Modi script. Till the end of the 19th century, the Modi script was in use, especially in north Karnataka.

Under the Maratha rule, Kannada and Marathi came in close contact and influenced each other to a considerable extent. Important literature in Marathi produced in Karnataka dates back to the 17th century A.D. Mudalagi, a place near Gokak has a tradition of Swamis belonging to the school of Mukundaraja, the first Marathi poet. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III patronised Marathi and also wrote a book titled Sankhya Ratnakosha on the game of chess, in Marathi. After the advent of British rule, there were contacts between Karnataka and Maharashtra in several spheres like politics, education, literature and other fine arts and Marathi played a major role in Karnataka. Political leaders like Gokhale and Tilak were respected and loved as their own people by the people of Karnataka.

Marathi theatre was very popular and stage actors like Balagandharva were well known in Karnataka. Historical novels of Hari Narayan Apte were translated into Kannada by Galaganath. Works of Sane Guruji, Phadke, Khandekar, Savarkar and Ranjit Desai have also been translated to Kannada. Many modern Marathi plays have been translated to Kannada and vice versa. Tendulkar’s plays are familiar in Karnataka and Girish Karnad’s Kannada plays have gained appreciation and acceptance in Maharashtra. Bendre’s Nakutanti, Vachana Basaveshwara, Vachanodaya, Kailasam’s Tollugatti, S.L. Bhyappa’s novels, Karnad’s Hayavadana and Tughlaq, etc. have been translated to Marathi and are very popular. Many Marathi writers of Karnataka have made a name for themselves. Notable among them are Govind Kelkar, Narayan Atiwadkar, Manohar Banne, G.G. Rajadhyaksh, N.R. Killedar, G.A. Kulkarni, etc. Novelists Prof. Nikhumba, Indira Sant and Ranjit Desai, Prof Aravinda Yalgi, Madhavi Desai and Priya Prabhu are among the noted writers from Belgaum district. G.D. Khare of Gadag has won an award for his work Gita Manna Darshan. Prof G.A. Kulkarni from Dharwad was a noted short story writer. Dr. A.R. Toro from Ainapur has translated many Marathi works to Kannada and vice versa and received the Jnanapitha award for his Marathi works. R.G. Kalangade of Hubli has written many religious works, including one on Sayanacharya. Of the writers from Dharwad, Prof. B.R. Modak, Vidya Sapre (novelist), and Baburao Gaekwad are important. S.S. Gokhale’s unique work Akashasi Jadavu Nate is on astronomy. Devalgaonkar and G.P. Joshi from Gulbarga also wrote in Marathi and the latter’s work on Krishna-Godavari Parisar is a famous work on cultural history.


Source: Glimpses of Karnataka, 2012

Department of Gazetteer, Government of Karnataka

Last Updated: 07-09-2021 09:41 PM Updated By: Admin

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