Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Rashtrakavi M. Govinda Pai of Manjeshwaram(1883-1963)

Rashtrakavi, M. Govinda Pai of Manjeshwaram, is Kerala’s contribution to Kannada language and literature.  Poet, art critic and literature researcher, M. Govinda Pai  (1883-1963) who has enriched Kannada literature and poetry by his famous works, was conferred the title of poet laureate by the erstwhile Government of Madras, along with  Mahakavi Vallathol.  He excelled himself as a poet, nationalist, historian, dramatist and linguist.  Gommata Jinastuti was the first published work of Govinda Pai.  Govinda Pai also introduced the sonnet form in Kannada.

His Gilivindu, which  literally means “a bunch of parrots”, contains some rare and beautiful gems of Kannada poetry.  Govinda Pai also enriched Kannada learning with his historical studies and research.  He was an authority on the chronology and history of Tulunad.  Govinda Pai was also a prolific prose writer.  His earliest composition in prose was Srikrishna Charita (1909) which provides for remarkable reading.  His best works written in blank verse, viz., Golgotha (the last days of Christ, published in 1937), Vaisakhi (The last days of Buddha, published in 1946) andHebberaqlu (The Thumb, the story of Ekalavya retold, published in 1946) have won for Govinda Pai a lasting place in the gallery of the greatest poets of Kannada literature.  These works also testify to his universal outlook as well as to his deep compassion for the poor and the downtrodden.


 Mangalore Govind Pai was a rare genius Karnataka had ever seen. A frontline poet in Kannada, thinker, historian, researcher and a polyglot, all put together. He could not complete his Bachelor’s degree exam due to his father’s sudden death but won a gold medal in English,  for the paper he was able to write in that exam of Madras University. Nearly sixty years of his life he spent in a small village of Manjeshwar, now in Kasargod Taluk of Kerala State, and taught himself several subjects and languages.

Born in a well-to-do Goud Saraswat family of Mangalore, Pai was brilliant student at school and had Panje Mangesh Rao as his guru at school, who was a great writer and teacher of Kannada. Pai came to own property from his mother’s side in Manjeshwar and was compelled to stay there. He built an excellent home-library for self-study which contained more than five thousand volumes in thirty-six languages at the time of his death. He was conversant in many Indian languages like Bengali, Gujarathi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu, Pali, Sanskrit, Kannada, and Tulu. Konkani was his mother tongue. He taught himself Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and German and utilized the original sources in historical research. His meticulously maintained study-books, notes and diaries speak volumes of the painstaking hours, days, moths and years in studying various languages and cultures.

For most of us, dictionary is an occasional reference book. But for Pai, it was a study book! Kittel’s Kannada-English dictionary has 1752 pages. Pai studied every page, and as was his habit had noted points, question mark, etc in the margin of every page.

Govind Pai was married at a very young age to Krishnabai, a chronic asthma patient. She died early without leaving any issue. Pai was very much attached to her and did not marry again. Everyday he used to offer flowers at her portrait and wrote ‘Nandadeepa’ – a collection of poems in her memory. He was very fond of children and spent one or two hours every day with children after twelve to fourteen hours in his study. He brought up his nephews as his own. He led an ascetics’ life.

His Manjeshwar home was open to all types of people, scholars, writers, youngsters and casual visitors. Everybody was touched by the poet’s hospitality, concern and affection. He was called belli miseh magu (silver mush babe) for his innocent and cheerful nature, by Bannanje, a noted poet and scholar.

He remained away form public glare or publicity, reading and writing all the time. But scholars and academicians did not forget him. He was made President of Kannada Sahitya Sammelan (Literary Meet) at Mumbai in 1950. The government of Madras Presidency bestowed the title of ‘Rashtrakavi’. Both were rare honors.

Pai wrote more than two hundred poems, three plays and more than two hundred essays. He shone as historical researcher fixing dates and places of Kannada rulers and kingdoms. He identified Kannada names from ancient Greek classics including Ptolemy.

He wrote an authentic essay regarding migration of Saraswats from Punjab to Goa and origin of Konkani language which remains unchallenged till date.

M.G.M. college of Udupi (see: Town of Udupi) which acquired his huge library, has turned the building into a museum dedicated to his memory. Now a well known research center, it has brought out a 1400 paged volume of M. Govind Pai’s complete works.

Pai’s written contributions are less compared to his vast scholarship. But the legacy he has left is a great one.

His ancestral house at Manjeshwar is a Memorial with a Arts college in the premises.

SOURCE: http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/kar/writers/govind_pai.htm



July 16, 2007 - Posted by | EKAVI BANGALORE, Govinda Pai


  1. Namaskara,
    Dhanyavadagalu , for publishing this.


    Comment by Gautham | July 19, 2007 | Reply

    • thank u sir tis comment.
      form chita

      Comment by thank u sir for tis information | June 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. Blog…


    Trackback by Blog | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Dear Sir/Madam,
    It is good you are contributing your site for kannada, but be sure while defining thigs. The first statement “Kerala’s contribution to Kannada” is embarrassing. Govind Pai has once told “Nanu kokani abbeya hotteyalli janisi kannada abbeya seve maduttiddene”,means my mother language is konkani and i am serving kannada. Kerala has nothing to do with this. And also remember that in the area Manjeswar still kannadiga’s are mejorities. Due to politics while dividing state it has gone to Kerala. So do not give credits to kerala. He is an kannadiga…

    Similar analogy:
    Jagadish chandra bose is called as an Indian scientist, even though he was born in Bangladesh because during his time Bangladesh was a part of india.

    Similarly at Sri Govind pai’s time person was identified by his language. Not by his state (states were formed after 1956).At his time kasargod was Kannada and Tulu region not malayalam region. So Kerala has nothing to do with this. Goving Pai belongs to Karnataka and he is Kannadiga..

    Sudheer Shenoy

    Comment by Sudheer Shenoy | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Shri Govinda Pai’s work is unparallelled. Thank you so much for this work.


    Comment by Murthy Rattehalli | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  5. ಗೋವಿಂದ ಪೈ ಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ ತುಂಬಾ ಖುಷಿ ಆಯಿತು.

    Comment by ಈಶಾನ್ | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  6. I thank E-kavi balaga for their service to kannada language and karnatka at the same time I conur with the views of Mr.Sudheer Shenoy and thank him too for clarifying that vital point of Rashtrakavi’s origin as kannada region but not Kerala a non existant state then.

    Please keep posting such an informative articles about all our kavi bandugalu and itihaasakaararu which can keep the kannadada kecchu in all of us alive

    Comment by Sreedharanath | November 29, 2009 | Reply


    Comment by MALLIKARJUNA SHARMA INGUA | August 31, 2012 | Reply

  8. I got this website from my pal who told me about this web site and now this time
    I am browsing this site and reading very informative content at this time.

    Comment by latest punjabi movies | August 19, 2014 | Reply

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