Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Compelled to write!-Sree

Compelled to write! SREE –

Known for her lyrical style and honest writing, Nemichandra casts a spell with her eye for detail and her wide canvas. She shares here a few thoughts with BHARATHI PRABHU

For the past several weeks, readers of Sudha, a popular Kannada magazine have been transported to the sacred valley of Peru week after week. They have been told of the fascinating “Nasca” lines whose patterns become discernible only when the viewer is airborne and enthralled by the details of the Inca civilization. They have felt a sense of outrage at the graphic accounts of the atrocities committed by Spanish invaders on the indigenous people and impressed by the beauty of this South American land and the simplicity of its people. The writer of the series, Nemichandra, 44, casts a spell with her eye for detail and her wide canvas.

Nemichandra’s first travelogue Ondu kanasina payana brought out in book form was about her experiences in Europe.

Nemichandra’s fascination with the history and heritage of women scientists and aviators has taken her round the world on personal “piligrimages”- on shoestring budgets.

“I went in search of information. In the process, I also had a wealth of experience – trekking in the Andes mountains, roaming the sacred valleys of Peru, reaching the top of Machu Pichu – the lost city of the Incas, travelling over the mighty Amazon in a small boat and spending a night in amazon forests” – Nemichandra’s eyes sparkle in recollection. These are the experiences she brings alive in her travelogues.

Recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Karnataka Sahithya Academy award (for Belakinondu kirana- a biography of Marie Curie), Gorur award (for Ondu kanasina sanje- a collection of short stories) and Ratnamma Hegde award (for Ondu kanasina payana), Nemichandra’s genre also includes songs that she pens on social issues. Critics have hailed her as one of the finest exponents of the Navya movement and lauded her lyrical style and honest writing. Her works have been hugely popular among Kannada readers.

She is a regular contributor to and is on the editorial board of “Achala” a magazine devoted to women’s studies.

Nemichandra began writing at an early age and has continued at a relentless pace. To date 15 of her books have been published, one of which is an extended translation from English, of the autobiography of Flavia, a survivor of domestic violence.

Nemichandra spent her early years in Tumkur in a “big house full of books, with a father and sister who were deeply interested in literature and a mother who though herself uneducated believed that her daughters must get the best education.”

The family later shifted to Mysore where Nemichandra attended high school and did her engineering. She did her research at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Nemichandra is now a senior manager in the Helicopter Design Bureau of HAL, Bangalore.

Apart from short stories, which have on many occasions been born out of her own experiences, Nemichandra is also well known for her biographies. She explains: “When I’m writing, I’m totally involved with my characters, living their lives and thinking their thoughts. In fact when I wrote “Novinalladdida kuncha- a life sketch of Van Gogh, the identification with the character was so complete I used the first person narrative.”

Her engineering background and later research experience seem to influence the topics and style of her literary work. She has often written on issues in science. Heroines in her fictions are many a time technically savvy professionals.

Nemichandra has been working for the past 15 years on her book on women achievers from the fields of science and aviation. This book, a compilation of biographies is thoroughly researched. True to her style, Nemichandra has gathered data from as many sources as possible. Books, artifacts, people and of course visits to the distant lands where these women lived have all been her sources. She has written on women such as Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly solo across the North Atlantic), Carolyn Shoemaker (an astronomer also called queen of comets for discovering the maximum number of comets), Rosalind Franklin (whose work, many scientists believe was crucial for the discovery of the double helix), Maria Reiche (who spent more than 40 years studying the mysterious Nasca lines in the Peruvian deserts) and many more including Indian women.

“This book just doesn’t seem to be getting over.” laughs Nemichandra.
What about the thread of feminism that runs through much of her writing?

“To me, feminism is a part of humanism and a way of life. It is something I believed in much before I became aware of the term or the movement. Things have changed for the better but the world continues to be predominantly male-centric. The achievement and contribution of women has often been overlooked.

For instance, in the eighties, during literary conventions, we hardly found mention of women writers. We could not believe that women’s writing didn’t have a heritage.”

That was when members of the Karnataka Lekhakiyara Sangha began to research women writers of the past. Visiting places, searching for documents and talking to people they reconstructed the lives and works of writers like Kalyanamma, Shyamala Devi and H.V.Savitramma. Their works were subsequently published.

Nemichandra wrote on Belagere Janakamma, who despite just two years of schooling wrote some remarkable poems in pre-independence time.

Adds Nemichandra, “It is interesting that even at an early time some women writers like Savithramma tried to interpret our epics from the female character’s point of view.”

Ask Nemichandra what writing means to her and she passionately replies, “I can’t imagine my life without my writing. Writing is not a hobby for me. It is the process by which my ideas and thoughts become clearer to myself. Through my writing, I have found answers to questions that have haunted me. It is in that sense cathartic.”

On the huge sums of money that writers in English make, Nemichandra shrugs it off. “I don’t let those things affect me. I enjoy the process of writing and have always written what I’ve wanted to. I even used up all our savings for my travels abroad. My husband Keerti jokes that he saves and I spend!”

Nemichandra believes in an egalitarian and humane society. She has taken a stand against exploitation not just through her writing but also through her actions. She is involved in several pro-people movements through organizations such as ‘Neravu’.

Nemichandra forayed into novel writing after “I discovered material for a full length novel”. When she accidentally stumbled upon a cemetery in Goripalya with tombstones bearing Hebrew inscriptions, she fortuitously recalled reading earlier that Sir. C.V.Raman had invited a few Jewish scientists to come and work in Bangalore. The novel largely fictional with a historical backdrop has a Jewish scientist fleeing Nazi Germany with his young daughter to take shelter in Bangalore. In this connection Nemichandra has visited Nazi camps in Germany, The Holocaust museum in Washington and Jerusalem. She hopes to complete the novel by year-end having worked on it for eight long years.

As a writer Nemichandra says recognition perhaps mattered to her in the initial stages of her career but not any more. Now, she says she has an inner compulsion to write and so much to write about that she will continue to do it irrespective of rewards.




January 11, 2008 - Posted by | Kannada Talents


  1. dear nemichandra, i almost all your books, really wonderful. may be u r tired of these words. please i dont find words for ur fabulous achievements. ur creativity attitude brings a fresh breeze in kannada literature. with love. i wish to meet u once if possible.

    Comment by shan | March 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] person is a woman, I admire her even more. So, here I am, despite not having read anything about Nemichandra, having read only a single essay by her – I am already curious about her writings and […]

    Pingback by Knowing about the Kannada author Nemichandra « sowmyawrites …. | August 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. Dear Nemichandra,
    Thanks for giving such wonderful books.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the stories written by you and it gives lot of strength, when am depressed!!

    Thank you

    Comment by Yash | October 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. nami moushi,i have read ur ‘baduku badalisabahudu’ many times.
    thank you…….
    please write such books for us.

    Comment by gayatri | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  5. Madum i am realy happy to say

    i would like say in Kannada
    nimma yella lekhanagalu nanage nijavaada jeevanada arthavannu tiliyalu sahakaariyagide
    plz munde innu hechhagi namagoskara bareyabeku
    i am willing to meet u in once my life time mam plz dnt be feel boar
    thank you………….

    Comment by kavitha | March 8, 2011 | Reply

  6. Namaste madam,
    Your books makes me to think in positive way about life.Very nice way of writing.Thank u.

    Comment by jyoti | April 27, 2011 | Reply

  7. Hello Nemiakka,whenever i am reading your books or articles(now in udayavani)i will feel my elder sister is teaching me about LIFE.please do write many many books.
    thank you for such WONDERFUL books.

    Comment by pammi | May 28, 2011 | Reply

  8. Iam regular reader of your article in udayavani.. These are wonderful. and good source of knowledge.thank you.

    Comment by prameela kotian | November 6, 2011 | Reply

  9. hai. Naanu nimma lekanavannu ide modala baari odiddu thunba channagi ide

    Comment by indresh | November 29, 2011 | Reply

  10. hello madam, nange nimma nemichandrara kathegalu pusthaka beku, yelli hudukidru yestu hudukidru sigtilla. thumba bejaragtide. pls nange a pustakada prati talupisodadre, nanu nimage chiraruniyagirthini. dayavittu kalisikodi

    Comment by sulochana k | December 15, 2011 | Reply

  11. hello madam, am really impressed by your writings, and i am doing my dissertation on your works. am curious about what inspired you to write such a great stories about women.

    Comment by Reshma S | February 3, 2012 | Reply

  12. thank u very much madame, i am very interest in reading ur books ,badaku badilisabahudu book is excellent and now i am reading peruvina pavitraa kaniveyalli.
    this book also good .
    madame can u help me to take visa for peru
    ma email id is manjusajjan04@gmail.com
    thank you madame.

    Comment by manju | February 27, 2012 | Reply

  13. hi madam nimma lekhanagalu badukalu thumba inspiration kodutthe.so keep it up such wonderful stories…

    Comment by savitha | April 15, 2012 | Reply

  14. madam, I am inspired about you. I wan’t aware of your profile, i just knew you were a writer and nothing beyond it. I had an opportunity to see and listen to you in the Vijayanagar Bimba function held in ADA Rangamandira.
    I would like to be like you. Hats off to such a great personality

    Comment by chetana r | May 17, 2012 | Reply

  15. As a teacher of mathematics,there is little scope to go beyond the text, is the general presumption.But I have spoken about your articles many a times as examples of motivation and inspiration.

    Comment by S.Ganapathi Bhat | June 19, 2012 | Reply

  16. Nanage nimma yochanalahari thumba eshta!

    Comment by Juhi | November 11, 2012 | Reply

  17. Who is your inspiretion?

    Comment by Juhi | November 12, 2012 | Reply

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