History of the Kannada Literature – I
by Dr. (Mrs) Jyotsna Kamat
First Online: May 23,2000
Last updated on : November 01,2006
Kannada is the language predominant in the state of Karnataka in India. In this special feature at Kamat’s Potpourri, Dr. Kamat who is an authority on medieval and ancient Kannada literature, traces the history of the Kannada Language. The first of the series covers the earliest texts and determines the origins. She then covers the great Jain and Veerashaiva works. – Ed.
History of Kannada Literature
Early History | Jaina Works | Medieval Kannada
Vachana Literature | Dasa Sahitya | Epics | Modern Kannada
Perhaps being the oldest language next to Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Tamil, Kannada country and language have a rich heritage. ‘Kavirajamarga’ () of king Nripatunga (9th century A.D.) is believed to be the earliest literary work in Kannada. It is a treatise on poetics or a guide to poets indicating that Kannada was a fully developed literary language when Kavirajamarga was composed. It refers to earlier linguists and poets whose works are not forthcoming. But from epigraphical evidence it can be surmised that the spoken Kannada language evolved much earlier than the Halmidi inscription (c. 450 A.D. ). Belonging to the Prto-Dravidian group it has close affinity with the Tamil language, prevalent now in the neighboring Tamil Nadu. But the language of the Halmidi inscription is highly Sanskritized.
A Banavasi Inscription in Old Kannada
By the 10th century Kannada had its greatest ancient poets like Pampa (born 902 A.D.), Ranna ( born 949 A.D.) and special prose work like Waddaradhane () (c. 930 A.D.) indicating that classical Kannada literature had fully evolved at least one or two centuries earlier, back to ‘Kavirajamarga’. But since none of the earlier works have survived, we have to stick to the established norm that written Kannada came into vogue by the 5th century A.D.
For the sake of the convenient study of Kannada language and literature, the pundits have divided the development of Kannada language into three phases; The Old Kannada Phase, The Middle Kannada Phase, and The Modern Kannada Phase.
The verse-form being the most popular all religious texts, scientific treaties like elephant love, horse love, or science of rains, mathematic, poetic, and literature works were composed only in verse- form. India has had oral system of education through the ages and the verse form fit this system very well. The subjects were thought through chanting and reciting and great stress was laid on memorizing, oral reproduction, and application. The verse-form helped to recite easier and to memorize better!
Most of the works in literature and secular sciences mentioned in like Kavirajamarga are still not to be traced. But works of later centuries mention now extinct works on various topics. Thus, Chudamani (a 96,000 verse-measures), a commentary on logic ( Tatwarthamahashastra) by Tambulacharya belonged to the 7th century. Naturally, no shastra (science) treatise could be written so voluminously unless the language in vogue is not fully developed. Epigraphs prove the antiquity of the Kannada language.
The students of Kannada language are familiar with the eulogy of Kappe Arabhatta, a hero remembered as Kaliyuga Vipartitan.
Good to the good, sweet to the sweet,
This exceptional man of Kaliyuga
Is a veritable Madhava himself (to the distressed).
This rock stone inscription of Badami in archaic Kannada letters is ascribed to the 7th century. The three liner Tripadi ( which by itself is as old as the Gayatri Mantram ) type of literature was later popularized by the poet Sarvajna in his ‘Vachanas‘.
Abstract: This document provides general information about the Kannada language and conventions of its usage in computers. It provides information about the Input, Storage, Display and Printing of Kannada Characters. We strongly feel that this information gathered from various standards is necessary for the correct usage of the language in various applications of Kannada Language Computing. It also includes the sorting sequence for Kannada in Unicode.
Note 1: This document contains Unicode characters and can be viewed using MS Office XP on Windows XP or equivalent
Note 2: The Convention followed in Unicode (Version 3.0) Chapter 9 (South and Southeast Asian Scripts) is used in this document and might differ from the notation commonly used in the Kannada Script.
Resource Centre for Indian Language Technology Solutions- Kannada
Department of Management Studies
Indian Institute of Science
Bangalore – 560 012
Phone : 91-80-346 6022 / 394 2377 (Dir)
91-80-394 2378 / 394 2567
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A Brief History of Karnataka
Prehistoric and Early History
In the early historical period, Karnataka formed a part of the Mauryan empire under emperor Ashoka, which fact is attested to by the presence of ten Ashokan edicts at places such as Maski, Koppaii, Brahmagiri, Siddapura, Jatingarameshwara, Nittur and Udegolam.
After the Mauryas, this land came under the rule of the Satavahanas (a.k.a. Shatavanahanas), who ruled for about four hundred and fifty years (c. 50 B.C. to 250 A.D.). A large number of archaeological sites, distributed over the whole of Karnataka, have yielded a painted pottery popularly known as russet-coated-pottery and identified with the Satavahana period. This period witnessed nourishing trade contacts with the far-away Roman empire. A number of Roman coins have been found in Karnataka, as well as gold coins of the early Roman emperors and later Byzantine rulers.
A Roman Coin found at Banavasi
The Kadambas succeeded the Satavahanas in this region, who wrested from the Pallavas of Kanchi additional areas, and established the Kadamba kingdom, with its capital at Banavasi in North Kanara district. Their rule extended for two hundred years (4th to 6th Century A.D.). Even after the disintegration of the Kadamba empire, this dynasty survived to govern as the Mahamandaleshwaras, with their capitals at Goa, Hangal and Chandavara. The counterpart of the Kadambas in southern Karnataka were the Gangas, who ruled for nearly seven hundred years, with their capital at Talkad.
The emergence of the Badami Chalukyas in the region initiated a brilliant epoch in the history of Karnataka. With their capital at Badami, they ruled for a period of nearly three centuries, from the sixth century A.D. onwards. Famous rulers of this dynasty include Pulakeshi-I, who fortified Badami and performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice, Pulakeshi-II, who defeated Harsha Vardhana (the emperor of Kanoj), and finally Vikramaditya-II, who defeated the Pallava king of Kanchi three times. These rulers made outstanding contributions to art and literature of Karnataka. Similarly, the Rashtrakootas of Malkhed, who ruled from about 753 A.D. to 973 A.D. over parts of what is now called Karnataka, contributed significantly to the culture. Dhruva (780-794), Govinda-III (793-814), Amogha Varsha Nripatunga-I (814-878) and Krishna-III (939-966) are the great monarchs of this dynasty. The most noteworthy contribution of this dynasty is the magnificient Kailash temple at Ellora.
The Chalukyas, who were eclipsed during the glorious days of the Rashtrakootas, reemerged under Tallapa for nearly two centuries later, with their capital at Kalyana and are referred to as the Chalukyas of Kalyan. The ablest ruler of this dynasty was Vikramaditya-VI, the celebrated founder of the Chalukya Vikramaditya era, who ruled for fifty years. It is the Chalukyas of Kalyana who started a new trend in the art of temple building, using a softer stone medium, which for the first time borrowed heavily from the intricate and exuberant wood-craft prevalent at the time. This new style was further improved by the Hoysalas in southern Karnataka. The Katahuri kings replaced the Chalukyas and continued to rule with Kalyani as their capital. Billala was the most important king of this line, whose minister was the great socio-religious reformer Basaveshwara .
Contemporaneous to the Kalyani Chalukyas and Kalachuris, in the southern part of Karnataka the Hoysalas held sway with their capital at Dorasamudra (Halebidu). Vishnuvardhana and Ballala-III are two illustrious rulers of this dynasty. The most notable contribution of this dynasty was the construction of a series of more than three hundred highly ornate temples, in the Hoysala style very typical of this time.
The founding of the Vijayanagara empire in the 14th century A.D. marked the culmination of the achievements of the people of south India, besides being a great cultural renaissance. The two centuries, during which this dynasty ruled the whole of South India, witnessed not only a great flowering in all the fields of art and literature but also a stout defense of its cultural heritage against external invaders. The most illustrious name of this dynasty is that of Krishnadevaraya, a Tuluva (Tulu-speaker) from South Kanara, whose reign marked the grand climax in the development of the empire, and the achievement of the objectives for which it was actually founded.
Religious History of Karnataka
The four primary religious faiths of Karnataka have been Shaivism (followers of Shiva), Vaishnavism (followers of Vishnu and his avatars), Buddhism, and Jainism. Prominent saints Shankaracharya, and Ramanujacahrya lived in Karnataka for a long time and established deep roots. Saints Madhwacharya and Basaveshwara were indeed born in Karnataka and have left a lasting impact.
The subsequent practitioners of the Bhakti movement in Karnataka enriched the Kannada language and south Indian music. For a detailed study of Vachana literature and Dasa literature, please see Dr. Jyotsna Kamat’s series on History of Kannada Language.
Karnataka During 18th and 19th Centuries
The cultural leadership established by the Vijayanagar kings continued to flourish under the Nayakas of Keladi and the Wodeyars of Mysore in the south, while the area north of the Tungabhadra river came under the sway of the Bahamani kings. Hyder Ali united small principalities under the throne of Mysore. Most of the northern parts later fell into the hands of the Marathas. Western parts were integrated by the British into the Bombay Presidency and but for Mysore, the southern parts came under the Madras Presidency and under the British Raj. The British built military bases (Cantonments) in Bangalore, Belgaum, and Bellary.
K.L. Kamat/Kamat’s Potpourri
Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan
Young Tippu (squatting on the right) consults with his father Hyder Ali.
Detail from a Wall mural in Sibi.
Unification as a State and Kannada Renaissance
The period between 1905 to 1920 can be described as the period of unification of Karnataka. On one hand, the leaders fought for India’s freedom and on the other, they dreamt of a building a united Karnataka state, that had since been broken into twenty different segments .
K.L. Kamat/Kamat’s Potpourri
Those Who Saved Kannada
(L to R) Nadiger, G.B. Joshi, K.V. Iyer, Alur Venkata Rao, ? , Karna
After 1924, when the Congress supported forming of the state of Karnataka, the unification movement got a big boost. However the forming of the state (called Mysore State then) did not materialize till November 1, 1956. Many great men (among them: Alur Venkatarao, Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar, S. Nijalingappa, and Kengal Hanumantiah) worked relentlessly to coerce, lobby, and win over the fighting factions.
The state was renamed as Karnataka (see about the name) on November 1, 1973.
The new found state inspired great works of literature, poetry, theater, cinema and other arts in the local population. The formation of state of Karnataka is the reason why the 20th century Kannada literature is so rich.
- L. K. Srinivasan, “Cultural Heritage of Karnataka”, Dasara Cultural Festivities Souvenir 1983 © Government of Karnataka
- Kamath Suryanath U., “Karnatakada Sanksipta Itihasa”, Bapco Publications, Bangalore, 1973
- Gangarams, “Karnataka — Impressions” , 1989
History of Karnataka
The evidence of Maurayan dynasty in Karnataka is the Ashoka’s rock edicts found in the state. The great Chandragupta Maurya ruled the state and adopted Jainism at Shravanabelagola. After him many other dynasties like the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagars ruled it. These dynasties added value to the cultural and spiritual value of the state.
At Aihole in Karanataka, the Chalukyas constructed the early Hindu temples in India. These temples are regarded as the architectural wonders. Similarly, the Hoysala’s who ruled from the 11th to the 13th century, built more than 150 temples having excellent architecture.
english ondu bhasheyagi kalisodu anivaarya
BANGALORE: Even a cricket match would not attract the kind of crowd that the Chinnaswamy stadium saw here on Wednesday.
The 55,000-capacity stadium overflowed as people stood, cheered, clapped, whistled, hooted, sang and danced, marking Karnataka’s 50th birthday to the dhamaka of crackers, lighting of thousands of lamps, patriotic songs and folk dancing.
The enthusiasm was boundless, despite jostling crowds, occasional crackers in the stands and pouring rain. Be it the 70-plus Ekikarna (unification award winners) or the young schoolchildren who had come to dance to the Kannada songs, the rain drenched everyone to the skin, but dimmed nothing of the occasion’s exuberance or colour.
In line with the history and culture woven into the fabric of the event, chief minister H D Kumaraswamy quoted Kannada poets and leaders extensively, even as he made course-altering announcements for the state and the language:
Bengalooru: Using the platform, nearly a year after his predecessor N Dharam Singh said Bangalore would be renamed as Bengalooru, he said: “I am formally stating that 10 cities including Bangalore will use their Kannada names in English also. The process to make this official is on.”
The 10 cities are: Bengalooru (Bangalore), Mysooru (Mysore), Mangalooru (Mangalore), Chikmagalooru (Chikmagalur), Shivamogga (Shimoga), Belagaavi (Belgaum), Kalburgi (Gulbarga), Hubballi (Hubli), Hosapete (Hospet) and Tumakooru (Tumkur).
Classical language: He said Kannada has a very ancient history and has to get the classical language status as its right.
`Government is committed to the cause of Kannada’
DAY TO REJOICE: Agriculture Minister Bandeppa Kashempur at the Rajyotsava Day celebrations in Bidar on Wednesday.
Bidar: Survana Karnataka, the golden jubilee celebrations of the unification of the State and the annual Karnataka Rajyotsava celebrations were observed with enthusiasm across the district on Wednesday.
Music, dance and folk art performances were organised at many places. Speeches and discussions on the state of Kannada and the Kannadigas were held at some places. Some NGOs celebrated Suvarna Karnataka by distributing fruits and milk to patients in hospitals.
On Wednesday morning, school students walked through the main streets of the city. Folk dance troupes and Dollu Kunita and Kolata teams performed. Tableaux by the Department of Education and the North East Karnataka Transport Corporation added beauty to the procession. It culminated at the Nehru Stadium, the venue of Rajyotsava celebrations.
Agriculture Minister and district in-charge Bandeppa Kashempur unfurled the National Flag and inaugurated the Rajyotsava celebrations. He said the State Government was committed to the development of the language and culture of the land. He asked the officials to work hard with integrity in order to help people reap the benefits of government programmes.
The State Government was implementing promises made in the Budget. Schemes such as Bhagyalakshmi, free distribution of bicycles, Kugrama-Sugrama, subsidised bullock cart and bullock distribution to farmers and low-cost seeds, had changed the way people lived, he said.
He asked officials to create awareness about such programmes among the people.
The Nemmadi programme that aims to bring delivery of 31 services to the doorsteps of the rural poor would revolutionise the working of government offices. The programme was on in 30 hoblis now.
It would be extended to other hoblis soon, he said.
He said it was the duty of each Kannadiga to remember the contribution of Kannada activists who had fought for the unification of the State.
Among those present were Member of Parliament Narsingrao Suryavanshi, MLC Quazi Arshad Ali, Zilla Panchayat temporary president Neelkanth Rathod, City Municipal Council president Chandrashekar Patil, vice-president Vijay Lakshmi, Deputy Commissioner Munish Moudgil, Additional Superintendent of Police M.M. Daula, and zilla panchayat deputy secretary Mallikarjun Math.
The Minister presented awards to 19 achievers from various walks of life.
Suvarna Karnataka: focus on housing, poverty alleviation
|Protests in north Karnataka districts; holiday today for schools in Bangalore|
CULTURAL PARADE: Schoolgirls performing during the cultural show at the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations in Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
BANGALORE: Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy has said that the Government will make provisions to launch comprehensive programmes in the next budget to address the housing problem and for poverty alleviation.
He was addressing a gathering estimated at over 35,000 after launching the yearlong Suvarna Karnataka celebrations and presenting the Ekikarana and Rajyotsava awards at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.
He said he had been touring the State and visiting remote villages. He had observed that lack of housing, coupled with poverty, was the biggest problem facing the State, particularly in rural areas. Referring to the issue of regional imbalances, Mr. Kumaraswamy said the Government had decided to translate the dreams of those who fought for the unification (ekikarana) of the State into a reality.
The time had come to think of what the State could do for development with an emphasis on north Karnataka, he said.
The State would not tolerate its independent identity being threatened, he said, in an oblique reference to the recent developments over Belgaum.
As desired by Kannadigas, the Government had decided to change the anglicised names of many cities and towns, the Chief Minister said. The names, among others, of Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Hospet, Bellary, Shimoga, Belgaum, Gulbarga and Hubli would be changed to Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hosapete, Ballary, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Kalburgi and Hubballi, respectively, once the process was completed, he said.
He announced that the Government had selected the octogenarian poet G.S. Shivarudrappa for the prestigious Rashtrakavi honour. The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda did not attend the event.
Party spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta, MLC, read out his speech, in which Mr. Gowda congratulated the Government and the Opposition for exhibiting the political will in holding a legislature session in Belgaum. Mr. Gowda applauded the Government’s decision to introduce English from the first standard in the interest of rural children.
Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa spoke. Governor T.N. Chaturvedi presided over the function.
In many of the northern districts such as Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur and Belgaum, however, peoples’ organisations held black-flag demonstrations to highlight the historical economic and developmental neglect of the region by successive State governments. The Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samiti, which, under the leadership of the Chincholi MLA and former Minister, Vaijnath Patil, has been fighting for greater attention to the needs of the people of the region, staged black flag demonstrations in Gulbarga and Raichur. In Mysore, the noted litterateur D. Javare Gowda staged a daylong dharna demanding that classical status be accorded to Kannada. In Belgaum, the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti took out a procession and staged a demonstration.
The Government has announced a holiday for all schools in Bangalore on Thursday.
|‘I will die for the sake of Kannada’|
|DH News Service Mysore:|
|“Death is imminent and I will die for the sake of Kannada,” declared noted writer and former Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore Prof D Jaware Gowda, who held a dawn-to-dusk hunger strike in this regard, in Mysore on Wednesday.|
“Death is imminent and I will die for the sake of Kannada,” declared noted writer and former Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore Prof D Jaware Gowda, who held a dawn-to-dusk hunger strike in this regard, in Mysore on Wednesday.
The octogenarian Prof Gowda also said that he will continue his struggle until the Classical Language statue is accorded to Kannada.
He had held a similar hunger protest a couple of months ago in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office. He chose Suvarna Karnataka Rajyotsava Day for his protest in order to draw the attention of the government in this regard.
He was accompanied by large number of Kannada writers and friends during the protest.
Noted writer S L Birappa, speaking to reporters, said that Congress has not reacted to reports that Centre will not accord the status to Kannada as long as JD(S)-led H D Kumaraswamy government is in power in the State.
“This in other words means that Congress has accepted it,” he stated.
He called upon all MPs from State to mount pressure on the Centre in this regard.
Earlier, Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Chandrashekara Patil said that the time has come for every one to get united and mount pressure on the Centre.
“But it is unfortunate that not many writers have expressed their support to Prof Gowda’s efforts in this regard,” he stated.
He took a dig at Congress-led UPA government at the centre and said that it is weighing the issue politically and hence not giving the status.
“It knows very well that the credit will go to JD(S)-BJP coalition government if it is done,” he alleged.
- Anand of Akruthi Fonts on Baraha, NUDI and KGP
- Anbarsan on NUDI, KAGAPA and KGP
- Ancient and Medieval Karnataka
- Bangalore, Karnataka and Kannada
- CIIL Kannada
- Classical status to Kannada
- Dr. Rajkumar
- EKAVI 29 Districts
- EKAVI GULBARGA
- EKAVI SHIMOGA
- EKAVI UTTARA KANNADA
- EKAVI BAGALKOTE
- EKAVI BANGALORE
- EKAVI BANGALORE RURAL
- EKAVI BANGALORE URBAN
- EKAVI BELGAUM
- EKAVI BELLARY
- EKAVI BIDAR
- EKAVI BIJAPUR
- EKAVI CHAMARAJANAGARA
- EKAVI CHICKKAMANGALORE
- EKAVI CHIKKABALLAPUR
- EKAVI CHITRADURGA
- EKAVI COORG-KODAGU
- EKAVI DAKSHINA KANNADA
- EKAVI DAVANGERE
- EKAVI GADAG
- EKAVI HASSAN
- EKAVI HAVERI
- EKAVI Hubli-Dharwad
- EKAVI KOLAR
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- EKAVI MANDYA
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- EKAVI RAICHUR
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- EKAVI UDUPI
- EKAVI Activities
- EKAVI College
- EKAVI Colleges
- EKAVI ellaKAVI
- EKAVI functions
- EKAVI Group
- EKAVI Mahithi Hakku -RTI
- EKAVI Meetings and Minutes
- ekavi sabhe
- EKAVI Schools
- EKAVI Suvarna Karnataka Program
- EKAVI USA
- EKAVI YUVAPREMI
- GOK SCHOOL ADOPTION PROGRAM
- Google Kannada
- Govt. of Karnataka – GoK
- History of Karnataka
- Kannada and Kannadigas North America
- Kannada and Linux
- Kannada and Open source
- Kannada Blogs
- KANNADA CARTOONS
- Kannada Chair Issues
- Kannada chalavaligalu
- KANNADA CLASS
- KANNADA COOKING
- Kannada DASA SAHITYA
- KANNADA eMagazines ePatrikes
- Kannada Films Screening in USA
- KANNADA FONTS
- Kannada Fonts Developers
- Kannada Fonts Piracy
- Kannada gadegalu
- Kannada Ganaka Parishat
- Kannada Googlepages
- KANNADA GREETINGS
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- Kannada Kali of USA
- KANNADA KARNATAKA
- KANNADA KARNATAKA RAJYOTASAVA
- KANNADA kavanas
- Kannada Kootas
- Kannada Kootas, Sanghas – GULF
- Kannada Kootas, Sanghas – SINGAPORE
- Kannada Kootas, Sanghas-New Zealand
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- Kannada Sanghas, Balagas, Kootas – UK
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- KARNATAKA KANNADA DASARA
- Karnataka RTI
- Karnataka World Heritage Sites
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- KDA – Kannada Development Authority
- KGP Founder Secretary on KSD issues
- KSD Disscussions
- KSD meetings
- Learn Kannada
- Legends of Karnataka
- Mahithi Hakku
- matagalu, Math
- Muttukrishnan on KGP, Nudi and KAGAPA
- Mysore Dasara
- N R I Kannadigas
- Nanjundappa Report
- nisarga – parisara premigala maasika patrike
- Oggattinalli balavide Kannadigare
- ORKUT Kannada
- Pavanaja on NUDI, Baraha and KGP
- Primary Healthcare Centers – PHC's
- Project Shiksha and Microsoft
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- RULERS of MYSORE /Karnataka
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- Sathyanaryana on NUDI, BARAHA and KGP
- Schools in Karnataka State
- Sheshadri Vasu
- Short Stories by Kannadigas
- Spoken Kannada
- Suvarana Karnataka
- Temples of Karnataka
- Wikipedia Kannada
- WRITERS in KANNADA
- Yahoo Kannada