- Kannada poetry
Kannada poetry is poetry written in the
Kannada language(ಕನ್ನಡ) spoken in Karnataka(ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ) state of India(ಭಾರತ). Karnataka is the land that gave birth to seven Jnanapeethaward winners, the highest honour bestowed for Indian literature. From the period of Adikavi Pampa(ಪಂಪ), who proclaimed his wish to be reborn as a little bee in the land of Kannada, Kannada poetry has come a long way to Kuvempu(ಕುವೆಂಪು) and Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre(ದತ್ತಾತ್ರೇಯ ರಾಮಚಂದ್ರ ಬೇಂದ್ರೆ).
Kannada poetry has been traced back to around 5th century A.D, though none of those early works have been found. The earliest extant poetry in "tripadi" meter are the
Kappe Arabhattarecords of 700C.E. The first well known Kannada poet was Adikavi Pampawho wrote in an archaic style of kannada called Halegannada(literally "Old Kannada"). His Vikramarjuna Vijayais hailed as a classic even to this day. With this and his other important work Adipuranahe set a trend of poetic excellence for the Kannada poets of the future.
Kannada poetry called
vachanas, were pithy comments on that period's social, religiousand economicconditions. More importantly, they hold a mirror to the seed of a social revolution, which caused a radical re-examination of the ideas of caste, creedand religion. One of the important ideas coming out of this revolution was the view that Work is worshipand a path to spirituality.
Kannada poets have the unique distinction of sowing the seeds of one of the richest forms of classical music:
South Indian Carnatic music. The Dasas or saints, around 15th century, sang the glory of Godthrough poems. These poems called Padas were usually of 10 to 20 lines. They expressed the desire of the Bhaktaor devotee to be one with God. This form of poetry was highly amenable to musical compositionand exposition. This music evolved into the highly sophisticated and codified Carnatic music.
The Haridasas spread the message of peace, love and bhakti in their
Dasa Sahitya, which are also popularly known Devaranamas
Navodaya (New birth)
Navodaya literally means a "new birth". This indeed was the
reincarnationof Kannada poetry which was dormant for quite a few centuries in the face of British occupation of India. This period saw greats like Srikanthaiah, Kuvempu, Bendre, Shivaram Karanthwriting poetry. This genrewas highly influenced by Romantic English poetry. It was B. M. Srikanthaiahwho started this movement of sorts with his translation of a few critically acclaimed English poems of the Romantic period. Many educated Kannadigas, especially those were in the teaching profession, realised that they need to express themselves in their mother tongueand started writing poetry in Kannada. Kuvempu is a case in point who was convinced by his professor (of British origin) that he should write in his mother tongue. Kuvempu went on to become a Rashtrakavi(national poet). His love of nature, realisation of the greatness of man's spirit and the vision to see the blend of nature and God made him more than Kannada's Wordsworth. Another interesting case is that of Shivaram Karanth who was a man of great intellect, rock-solid convictions and a profound social sense. He was the Leonardo da Vinciof Karnataka.123
Indian Independencein 1947brought with it the promises of freedom and a new genre sprouted in Kannada poetry. The torch-bearer of this tradition was Gopalakrishna Adiga. The Navya poets wrote for and like disillusioned intellectuals. The sophistication in the use of language and the importance of technique to poetry reached new heights in this genre.
Kannada poetry in the last 50 years has been closely related to social aspects. The cruel
castesystem gave rise to the Bandayaand Dalitagenres of poetry. The atrocities against women and the general ill-treatment meted out to them in Indian societygave rise to the Stri(Woman) genre of poetry.
Kannada poetry has won seven
Jnanapeethawards, the highest for any other Indian language.
The popularity of poetry is gauged in terms of the response that the educated and interested elite give. But the real popularity of poetry is when common people sing it. Popular appeal is not very easy to achieve for any form of poetry; especially when audiences are not kept in mind. Kannada poetry has a few instances of such mass popularity.
Kumaravyasa's epic retelling of the Mahabharatais recited in homes even today. Bhavageete(literally "emotion poetry") has popularized many a Kannada poems and has people humming them.
* List of Kannada poets
Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat, Concise History of Karnataka, 2001, MCC, Bangalore, Reprinted 2002
* [http://www.vicharamantapa.net Some Vachans] by
Basavanna, Akkamahadevi, Allamaprabhu, Sarvajna, and selected poems by Dr. Siddalingaiah.
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