`Take Bendre’s works to the masses’
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DHARWAD: Chief Secretary P.B. Mahishi has asked the Da. Ra. Bendre National Memorial Trust to make use of the funds allocated to take the works and views of Da. Ra. Bendre to the masses.
He was speaking after a visit to the “Bendre Bhavan” that houses the office of the trust. Literary works should be made available to people at affordable prices, he said.
The Chief Secretary visited various sections of the bhavan. He also took a look at an exhibition of paintings on Bendre and his poems. He also inspected construction work of “Sakhigeeta” guesthouse and the auditorium. Trust chairman M.M. Kalburgi briefed him about the activities of the trust.
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Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre, the second Jnanpith award recipient from Karnataka, was born on Jan 31, 1896, in Dharwad. Having lost his father at a very young age, Bendre grew up under the guardianship of his uncle and completed his B.A. at the famous Fergusson College in Pune. He got his M.A. in 1934 and worked as a teacher in different schools in different areas. His poem Narabali (Human Sacrifice) got him 3 years’ imprisonment at the Hindalga jail, after which he remained unemployed for more than 5 years. He then joined Masti’s monthly journal Jeevana as its honorary editor and went on to work in several more schools and colleges before joining the D.A.V. College of Sholapur as professor of Kannada. He remained in this position for 12 years till his superannuation at age 60. But, even after retirement, he continued to work in several places and his was indeed a highly chequered career which exposed him to untold hardships in family life. But, amidst it all, his poetic genius never failed to flower and in fact, his adversities proved to be an ever-lasting source of inspiration and philosophy for his unique brand of poetry.
Bendre composed close to 30 collections of poems, but also produced many memorable plays, short stories, critiques and translations, and he wrote in Marathi too.
Bendre’s outstanding contributions to literature were recognised in various forms and on various forums. He was elected the President of the 27th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana of Shimoga in 1943; awarded honorary doctorate by the University of Mysore and the Karnatak University; elected Fellow of the Central Sahitya Akademi in 1969; honoured with the Central Sahitya Akademi ‘s award for his poem Aralu Maralu and awarded the supreme literary prize of Jnanpith in 1974 for his anthology of poems Naku Thanthi .
Word wizard Bendre passed away on October 26, 1986, after playing a historical role in keeping the rich traditions of Kannada poetry alive for over 5 decades. Dr. Vaman Bendre, a renowned poet , critic and translator of Kannada and Marathi literature and son of D.R. Bendre, has authored a biography of his father titled Bendre Jeevana Parichaya.
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‘Bendre Trust developing into a centre of learning’
Saturday August 12 2006 12:00 IST
DHARWAD: The Bendre National Trust is slowly developing into a centre of learning with the government aid and the people’s participation, said M S Srikar, Deputy Commissioner and member secretary of the Trust.
He was speaking at a function arranged at the Bendre Bhavan in connection with the donation of an LCD projector to the Trust by the Karntaka Vikas Grameena Bank here on Thursday.
He informed that the government had released a sum of Rs 5 lakh to the Trust this year, and the amount would be fruitfully utilised. Lauding the bank for its gesture to the literary world, the Deputy Commissioner hoped that the tendency to rush to the help of the needy would be nurtured by the society.
Handing over the projecter to the Trust, General Manager of the Bank I T Sethuraman said that the Bank felt proud to be a partner in bringing the famous poets and writers closer to the people through the documentaries that could be viewed with the aid of the LCD. In this Suvarna Karntaka year, the bank had plans to host several social and cultural progammes at various places in its area of operation, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, former MLA Chandrakant Bellad praised the bank for its numerous social work, hoping at the same time that this would be a source of inspiration for others to emulate.
Presiding over the function, Dr M M Kalburgi, chairman of the trust, said that the trust was undertaking numerous activities, bringing it closer to the people. It has been recognised by the Hampi University and interested students could now enroll for acquiring a doctorate.
Senior Manager Shrinivas Wadappi welcomed, PRO Ullas Gunaga compered and Dr Shyamsundar Bidarkundi proposed a vote of thanks.
‘Deshi’ poet Bendre goes global!
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From Raju S Vijapur DH News Service
Hubli:Dr Da Ra Bendre National Memorial Trust, formed by the government to promote Bendre’s literature has come out with a website on the life and works of Bendre, who successfully used colloquial language to explore new possibilities in literature during Navodaya period, an important phase in Kannada literature that followed Hosagannada in 1950s.
With this the long felt dream of taking ‘Deshi poet’ global has come true. This is the first full-fledged website on a Kannada poet, who penned some of the best songs Kannadigas ever heard. www.darabendre.org
Talking to Deccan Herald, President of the Trust Dr M M Kalburgi, former vice-chancellor of Hampi Kannada University said that the site, http://www.darabendre.org, www.darabendre.org
had been designed and developed by SDM College of Engineering, Dharwad. Dr D Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthal had donated Rs 1 lakh for the project. “Main objective of the site is to introduce complete life and works of Bendre in their original form to Kannadigas worldwide.”
The site, to be formally launched on January 31, has some of the rarest photographs of Bendre’s childhood and his moments with pioneers in the music and literature fields.
A photo of Bendre, in typical farmer attire of North Karnataka, sitting with the Jnan Peeth Award certainly mesmerises viewers when they logon to the first page of the site.
The site has three sections– Bendre Books, Life and Literature and Bendre News. While the first section houses important and unpublished books of the poet, the second corner shows rare photos, including Bendre conversing with Jawaharlal Nehru, sharing lighter movements with Masti and Mallikarjun Mansur.
The last section deals with news related to Bendre’s works. Another important feature of the website is a column, I and Bendre. Writers and people, who came in contact with the Varakavi, share their experiences with the viewers. The first column has been written by well-known critic G S Amur and the second column will be written by Dr Kalburgi himself.
A video clipping in which Bendre is reading his own poem definitely make netizens feel worth visiting the site, for which famous writers and critics like Chennaveer Kanavi, Giraddi Govindraj and Balanna Shigihalli have also contributed their mite.
Dr Kalburgi and team deserve kudos for taking our very own ‘native poet’ global!
Minister unveils plans for Sadhanakeri’s development
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|`Bhoomi puja’ to be performed on November 1: B. Sriramulu|
HUBLI: The “bhoomi puja” for the work on the development of Sadhanakeri in Dharwad, which inspired poet laureate Da. Ra. Bendre to write literary masterpieces, would be held on November 1, Minister for Tourism and Textiles B. Sriramulu has said.
He was speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday after paying a visit to D.R. Bendre National Memorial Trust, the residence of the late poet and Sadhanakeri. He visited the exhibition hall at the Bendre Memorial Trust.
The Minister said the place where the poet lived would be developed as a heritage site and along with it the surroundings would be developed to convert it into a tourist spot. After developing Sadhanakeri, steps would be taken to beautify the tank by building fountains and introducing boating.
A committee, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, would be soon set up for taking up the survey of the area. And a special officer would be deputed for conducting the survey and preparing the action plan, Mr. Sriramulu said. He said the State Government planned to run “Palace on Wheels” based on the Rajasthan model. The special train would be introduced for developing tourist places in the State and it would have a stop in Hubli and Dharwad, he said.
Chairman of the Bendre National Memorial Trust M.M. Kalburgi, and Assistant Director of Kannada and Culture K.H. Channur, were present.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak, the fifth person to win the Jnanpith award from Karnataka, was born on August 9, 1909. He had his primary and high school education in Savanur, got his B.A. in 1929 and M.A. in 1931. In 1931, he began his professional career as an Assistant Professor in Fergusson College, Pune and became the principal of D.E.Society’s Willington College, Sangli, after finishing his advanced studies with distinction, at Oxford, in 1936. But, soon he gave up his principalship following an incident that hurt his self-esteem, and the resultant unemployment set him on a path of serious introspection. In 1946, he went to Rajasthan and set up a college in its desert region and in 1949, with the reorganisation of Indian states, his services in Rajasthan got transferred to the Government of Bombay and he became the principal of Karnataka College, Kolhapur, in 1952. He steadily grew in his academic career there on, and attained a peak with his appointment as the Vice-chancellor of the Bangalore University in 1966.
The main phase of his literary career and his life itself began in 1925 when he was swayed by the magnetic force of the towering figure of Kannada poetry D.R.Bendre, like many other young poets of his time. Seeing his knowledge of English literature, and his talents in English poetry, Bendre prophesied “if Gokak allows his talents to blossom in Kannada, his own poetry as well as Kannada will have a great future.” Thus with Bendre as his Kavya Guru, Gokak embarked upon a unique career in the world of Kannada letters, a career in which he made unparallelled contributions to poetry (including composition of the epic Bharatha Sindhurashmi), drama, criticism and various other forms of literature, apart from producing many scholarly works in English.
The literary distinction of Gokak naturally attracted scores of awards and honours. Of these, mention must be made of his Presidentship of the 40th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in 1958, honorary doctorates from the Karnatak University and the Pacific University of the USA, the 1961 Central Sahitya Akademi award for his ‘Dyava Prithivi’ and of course, the highest award for literary excellence in India-the Jnanpith award-for his monumental contributions to Kannada literature, in 1990.
Gokak saw not only peaks of glory but also a peculiar complexity of happiness and sorrow at many turning points of his life, a complexity that became a characteristic mark of all his works. He passed away on April 28, 1992.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak Kannada: (1909-1992) was a major writer in Kannada language and a scholar of English and Kannada literatures. He was fifth among seven recipients of Jnanpith Award for Kannada language for his epic Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi. Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi is perhaps the longest epic written in any language in the 20th Century. It deals with the vedic age. Gokak was a Professor of English literature.
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Gokak agitation – a language campaign
GOKAK and SAI BABA
Dr V.K. Gokak, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, a Professor of English of high repute for more than four decades, Chairman of the prestigious National Jnan Peeth and later First Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed University) was an ardent devotee of Baba. Once Dr Gokak was asked to go to USA and some other countries in response to an invitation from the organisational units there to speak to the devotees. When he was about to leave, he came to prostrate before Baba and seek His blessings. Baba promptly blessed with the words “I will be with you”. Dr. Gokak happily proceeded. But later he was amazed to see that throughout the plane journeys the seat adjacent to his was invariably vacant. At first he thought it was a matter of chance, but when it occurred regularly he began to ponder over that only to remember Swami’s words “I will be with you”. Sai’s words never go waste. They are meaningful and always true.
In the same tour he was about to address a large gathering in one of the big cities of USA. Orator that he was, the crowd was expecting a heavy downpour of his resonant voice in meaningful words, but nothing came out for a minute or two. Dr Gokak could not believe such a situation he was in for the first time in his life. Suddenly he remembered Swami and mentally prayed to Him. And to his great surprise he found Swami sitting in the front row with smiling benediction. And then there was a torrential flow from the Professor providing a treat to the audience. When Swami says, “I will be with you” we are also bound to be constantly aware of His company.
In the same lecture tour, speaking at another Centre to a vast gathering of seekers and sceptics Dr Gokak narrated how Baba had taken the paralytic strokes and heart attacks that would have been fatal for His devotees upon Himself and was miserably afflicted. He described in his grand style how the students sitting below the parapet wall slowly dragged inch by inch Baba’s feet to the edge of the balcony not allowing the devotees to see the pathetic sight of His body’s affliction in such a graphic manner that it not only compelled the audience to shed tears but also soothed an invalid old lady who got to her feet instantly. Such is the Glory of the lord who has come to wipe out the tears of millions.
The old, gold ten-dollar piece which Baba “produced” for me at Horsley Hills was no doubt an apport. But what of the interesting phenomenon he performed for Dr. V. K. Gokak, Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University? On an early visit to Dr. Gokak’s home Baba saw on the wall for the first time a portrait of an Indian saint, Shri Panta Maharaja of Balekundri, and asked about its presence there.
The Vice-Chancellor replied to Baba that the saint had been his father’s guru, and that he, himself, held the holy man in great reverence.
Baba: “Have you a smaller portrait of him to carry when you’re travelling?”
Dr. Gokak: “No.”
Baba: “Would you like one?”
Dr. Gokak: “Yes, Swami, very much.”
Baba waved his hand, for a little longer than usual, remarking, “He is coming.” Turning the palm up, he handed the doctor a small enamel pendant. It bore a miniature replica of the saint’s portrait.
Gokak varadi and Dr. Rajkumar
The “Gokak report” popularly known as “Gokak varadi” was about making Kannada a compulsary language for primary education. Considering that the language is spoken by a majority of people in Karnataka, the Gokak movement’s goal was to give Kannada the same basic right already enjoyed by other official languages in their respective states of India. When the Kannada literary experts and students started this movement there was a popular positive response from the common man in Karnataka. It gained momentum when Rajkumar was asked to lead the movement. He became actively involved in the movement and soon became the force behind the Gokak movement that was designed to bring Kannada to the forefront. He took a rally from Belgaum to Bangalore and gave speeches about the importance of Kannada. The government responded positively and Kannada was to become a compulsary language of education in Karnataka. Ensuring respect and dignity for Kannada language and Kannada culture were the corner stones of his life.
When he played activist
The historic Gokak movement saw Rajkumar take an activist�s stand in public life. �I am ready for any sacrifice for the sake of Kannada land and language,� he declared, and stood by his words too.
To trace the time-line: It is nearly 25 years since the Gokak movement. Rajkumar himself had recently crossed 50 years in cinema. The man and the movement are both a memory now.
Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Prof Chandrashekar Patil who was alongside Rajkumar during the Gokak movement told Deccan Herald that the movement took the proportion of a �people�s movement� only after Rajkumar joined in. He explained thus:
On April 2, 1982, the Jail Bharo andolan had begun under the leadership of senior litterateur Shambha Joshi. Writers like Kuvempu, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Dr. Shivaram Karanth were asked to join in but they refused. Rajkumar was in Madras then; we made an appeal to him through the media. His ready response in support appeared in the newspapers the very next day. His statement from Madras said that he would give up his all for the sake of Kannada and would fight for it no matter what form the fight might take. It was a verbal stroke that absorbed him into the cause entirely. Later on, he travelled all over the State with the other leaders enlisting support for the movement.
Karnataka had adopted Three language formula for education in schools since the linguistic reorganization of states in 1956. Strong opposition to Hindi was witnessed in the 1960s and ’70s, leading to Kannada speakers leaning towards English. It was also felt that Kannada faced threat from Sanskrit, which was the dominant language in schools, leading to a situation where students could complete their high school education without having to study Kannada. This created a wide incompatibility between languages used for state administration and education. 
This led to a linguistic movement against retaining Sanskrit as the first language in School education. The movement was initiated and supported by political parties, groups of Kannada teachers, students, college and university professors, literary critics, playwrights, and creative writers. This made the government rethink about the language policy for school education and constituted a committee on July 5, 1980 with Prof. V.K. Gokak as the Chairman.
V.K. Gokak, the former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka University , also now one of the Jnanpith awardees, headed the committee appointed by the Government of Karnataka to analyse and study the linguistic issues that were raised regarding the importance of various languages, including the state language Kannada and other languages such as English, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu. The report given by the committee recommended that the Governement provide first language status to Kannada and also demanded the primary facilities that the language needed at the time.
The agitation and campaign
There was opposition to the Gokak Report from several sectors of the public, which included minorities from various non-Kannada speaking groups. The Government had not passed any ruling or announcement, even after the report was officially submitted by the committee. This resulted in minor protests from various men of letters, writers, and some pro-Kannada, pro-Karnataka organizations. The response from the public was moderate and there were no signs from the Government that it intended to implement the recommendations made by the Gokak committee.
Dr. Rajkumar’s leadership
Various personalities from Kannada literature world including Rajkumar, an icon of the Kannada film industry, to participate in the agitation along with the other major artists from the industry. Rajkumar accepted to participate, and soon the entire Kannada film industry stopped its film-making activity, and started in state-wide rallies and speeches. With Dr. Rajkumar’s leadership, the agitation gained a very strong momentum and there was a drastic change in the response from the general public of Karnataka state. People from all over the state, started participating in the various gatherings, and speeches. The topics such as, importance of the Kannada as the mother-tongue, and importance of having the primary education including the learning of Kannada language were talked in detail in all those speeches., approached and requested
Government’s response to the agitation
The Government of Karnataka, headed by the then Chief Minister, R. Gundu Rao, responded to the seriousness of the agitation, which had gained significant momentum after Rajkumar had taken leadership of the agitation. It announced that it accepted the report submitted by the Gokak Committee and would ensure all the primary facilities that the language Kannada deserves as the mother tongue of the local people as well as the official language of the state of Karnataka.
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