Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Dr.Kota Shivram Karanth(1902-1997)

IGNCA Remembers Dr. Shivarama Karanth

The IGNCA regional center at Bangalore is organizing a day long National Seminar on the contribution of Dr. K.S. Karanth to the art form of Yakshagana on 28th July 2002 at Bangalore.

Yakshagana has a traceable history of at least six hundred years.  In Karnataka, the wonderful art is seen in several forms, adopted by different schools.  The two (now three) coastal districts of Karnataka have preserved this art to a great extent. Yakshagana  shares some strikingly similar features with the other South Indian ancient theatrical and dance forms such as Terukkootu, Kudiyattam, Kathakali Kuchipudi, Bhagavata Melam, Dodata, Sannata, Srikrishna Parijata etc.

Dr. Kota Shivarama Karanth was the first person to take interest in the theoretical and practical aspects of Yakshagana . He reformed the costumes, scripts, music and other ingredients that make Yakshagana  a mesmerising theatre, to suit the contemporary taste and style.  At a time when traditional art forms were fast losing audience, he made Yakshagana  an attractive art form, interesting to the present day generation. Dr. Karanth is one of the most arresting personalities in the literary and theatre world of India.  His interests have been vast and varied.  He was a great novelist, innovative playwright, unique essayist, one man-mission-encyclopaedist, cultural anthropologist, art historian, lexicographer, promoter, of science and environmentalist.

Besides honorary doctorates from several Indian universities and fellowships from two national academics – the Sahitya Akademi and the Sangeeth Natak Akademi, he has received the prestigious Janapith award in 1978, Dadabhai Navroji award and Tulsi Samman in 1990.  He has written 150 books in Kannada and English.  His works have been translated into several Indian languages and filmed as well.  Among all his achievement, his contribution to Yakshagana  the Indian theatre form is singular.

Shivaram Karanth
Kannada Writer, Novelist, Artist, Educator, Art Critic, Dancer, Philosopher, Environmentalist.

“I’ve always been confused about you two. Now that both of you are here together, my confusion is doubled!” Dr. Karanth joked as I paid him a visit in Puttur along with Dr. Suryanath Kamath.  I gave him a photograph of his, which I had taken 40 years ago, as a boy, during the Kumta Sahitya Sammelan. I even pointed to his hands in the photograph which were hiding a box of tobacco and his comments at that time. He burst out into a Yakshagana style laughter!

Dr. Karanth inspired several generations of youngsters to love and preserve our art, heritage and environment. His works on children’s education done seventy years ago are still unequalled in Kannada language. In his death, Karnataka has lost one of its foremost sons.

 Dr. Kota Shivram Karanth (1902-1997)

When one thinks of famous Kannada literary personalities, lots of names come to our minds. One of them, undoubtedly is Dr. Shivram Karanth. Dr. Karanth is not only well known in Kannada literary circles but also is well known nationally. He hails from Kota, a small village in the South Canara. Apart from his literary prowess, Dr. Karanth is also an authority in Yakshagana. He has studied the art form – Yakshagana extensively and has published books on them. Yakshagana-Bayalata (1958) in Kannada, and Yakshagana(1975) are two of his masterpieces on Yakshagana. Dr. Karanth has received international acclaim for his study on this rare folk art. Yakshagana is a folk art from Dakshina Kannada.His work includes
42 novels,
31 plays,
Four short stories,
Six books of essays and sketches,
thirteen books on art, including a history of world art and an authoritative work on Chalukyan sculpture and architecture,
A standard treatise on the Yakshagana, with which dramatic form, his name is identified,
A three volume book of knowledge for children,
A four volume encyclopedia on science for grown ups,
240 children’s books
Six books on travel,
In addition compilation of his random articles and speeches numbering a couple of thousand are being published. So far eight of these anthologies have been published. (Courtesy: Discover India)

Such is extent of Dr. Karanth’s contribution to Indian literature. Dr. Karanth is very well known for writing on a variety of topics such as social castism, social conflicts, and social rigidity. His novels are powerful in nature and represent revolt and rebillion. Dr. Karanth’s novels are well known for their uniqueness and genuiness. His most acclaimed work, which is well known, is Chommana dudi, which Dr. Karanth took only 5 days to write.

Dr. Karanth did not go to any special school to learn the techniques of writing. It came very naturally to him. He did not have any set formula for any of his book nor did he even write on the same topic. He wrote on several issues plaguing today’s society. Dr. Karanth can be best described as a revolutionary writer. He addressed many issues in his book, which were rampant in Dakshina Kannada. He wrote about the common man, who struggled, for his rights. He wrote about the woman who wanted to be treated equally like a man. He wrote about you and me and the society that we live in. Choma, Mookajji, and Nagaveni are some of characters in Dr. Karanth’s books who are still linger in our minds long after we read the book.

Dr. Karanth has received many accolades for his literary contributions. He has been bestowed with the highest honor any Indian can achieve – Padmabushan. He has also received awards and fellowships from the Sahitya Akademi, as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi. He has also won the Jnanapeet award and also the Tulsi Samman. Dr. Karanth has also received honorary doctorates from many universities in India. Inspite of all this, Dr. Karanth chose to live a modest and a simple life in Kota, a small village in South Canara.

Karnataka has given birth to many glorious personalities who we are proud of. Dr. Kota Shivram Karanth is definitely one of them. People like Dr. Karanth has given Karnataka an identity and has also placed it on the map. Kota Shivram Karanth has become a household name in South Canara and also all over in India. His books have been made into movies, which reaches out to different people from different states all over the country.

  A fitting tribute to a giant

Soon, visitors to Udupi will have to include the Shivarama Karanth Smaraka Kalagrama in their itinerary, reports GANESH PRABHU



An artist’s impression of the Dr. Kota Shivarama Karanth Smaraka Kalagrama complex THE TEMPLE town of Udupi, famous for the Krishna Temple and the fine beach at Malpe, will have a new landmark in the form of the Dr. Kota Shivarama Karanth Smaraka Kalagrama, for which Rani Satish, Minister of State for Kannada and Culture, laid the foundation stone late last month.

The Kalagrama is a befitting institution in memory of one of the greatest Kannadigas, K. Shivarama Karanth (1902-1997), who was born in Kota in Udupi district. This multi-faceted genius left his imprint on practically every cultural arena. A literary giant, his invaluable contribution to Kannada literature earned him that literary Holy Grail, the Jnanpith, in 1978. His literary output includes over 40 novels, four anthologies of short stories, two volumes of poems, over 90 plays, nine encyclopaedias, and hundreds of articles on various issues and subjects. Besides being hailed for his progressive views on education, he introduced several innovations in the field of Yakshagana. Apart from all this he was a painter, an environmentalist, and an anti-nuclear activist. Karanth was known for his anti-nuclear views. In fact, he contested in the Lok Sabha elections from Kanara parliamentary constituency because he fiercely opposed the Kaiga Nuclear Power Project.

A memorial to this magnificent man was long pending, especially in his native Udupi district. The Rs. 4-crore project, conceptualised by S.R. Umashankar, Deputy Commissioner, will be taken up in four phases and will be located on 60 acres of land on the Manipal-Alevoor Road. It was for this purpose that the Government constituted the Dr. Shivaram Karanth Smaraka Samsthapana Mandali with Ms. Satish as its President. The Mandali had sanctioned Rs. 50 lakh for the Kalagrama, of which Rs. 24 lakhs has been released. The remaining amount is expected soon.

The Kalagrama will take four or five years to be completed. It will come up at the location earlier earmarked for the Jinke Vana, a picturesque locale in Udupi. The Kalagrama will comprise three enclaves: the first consisting of a training centre in the arts and a museum of Karanth’s literary works and artefacts native to Udupi district. Karanth’s personal belongings are likely to be displayed too.

The training centre will impart instruction in Yakshagana, drama, dance, and folk arts. It will have a a ranga mandira, and the Rs. 10 lakh allotted for the District Ranga Mandira will be used for this purpose.

The Hampi Kannada University proposes to set up a Karanth Samshodhana Kendra to facilitate in-depth research of the great man’s works. Also in the pipeline are a permanent and temporary art galleries.


The second enclave will skirt the rivulet flowing through the hilly terrain of the Jinke Vana. There is a plan to form a pond by constructing a small dam across the rivulet. Acknowledging the special place Karanth had for children, a children’s park and a children’s science centre will come up here. Information on various branches of science will be disseminated through multimedia presentation. There will be facilities for young people to do basic experiments at the science centre.

Also on the cards are a bayalu ranga mandira and a camping ground, besides residential quarters for scholars and dormitories for NCC and NSS cadets would be constructed.

The third enclave will have a nature information centre that will have data on the flora and fauna of the region. Fittingly, Kalagrama will have a trekking path too. There is a proposal to construct a meditation centre atop the hill here and organisations such as the ISKCON and others would be asked to take meditation courses in turns. This enclave will promote geo-art.

Harmony is the keyword and all the three enclaves will complement one another. The idea is to develop Kalagrama as both a cultural and tourist centre.

With co-operation from local experts, the authorities cut the costs of consultancy charges for the project by about Rs. 10 lakh -12 lakh. They will seek public donations while the Central Government will be approached for Rs. 1.5 crore for the Karanth Memorial Museum. A sum of Rs. 5 lakh saved by the Udupi Utsav Committee will go into the project.

Apart from the Kalagrama, the Mandali proposes to build a memorial on the land housing Karanth’s samadhi in Kota.

Works on Shivaram Karanth to be released

Staff Correspondent

22 volumes have already been brought out



Kota Shivaram Karanth



Udupi: Medical Education Minister V.S. Acharya will release four volumes on the dramas of Jnanpith Award winner late Kota Shivaram Karanth here on July 15.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, principal of MGM College M.L. Samaga said that the function is being jointly organised by the Department of Kannada and Culture, and the college. Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth has 417 works and over 900 essays to his credit. He has written poems, novels, dramas, short stories and travelogues. The Government has already brought out 22 volumes.

MLA K. Raghupati Bhat will preside over the function. Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University at Hampi, B.A. Viveka Rai; secretary to the Department of Kannada and Cultre I.M. Vittalmurthy; and Registrar of the Academy of General Education K.K. Pai will be chief guests.

The function would be followed by rendition of “Nada geethe” and “Ranga geethe” by the senior artiste Subhadramma Mansur, Prof. Samaga said. Director of Govinda Pai Research Centre Heranje Krishna Bhat and Assistant Director of the Department of Kannada and Culture R.S. Dalwai, were present.

July 21, 2007 Posted by | HAMPI, KARANTH | 1 Comment

Naanu Kanda Karantaru by Malini Mallya

Ms. Malini Mallya , Secretary
Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanta Memorial Foundation

Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth (1902-1997) Ms. B. Malini Mallya started her career in 1974 as Copyist cum Stenographer of late Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth (1902-1997) the great Writer Scholar of Kannada. Within a year, she got full time employment in Life Insurance Corporation of India. Yet, continued her help and co-operation to Dr. Karanth in his literary work and soon earned his confidence and admiration. “There were many youngsters who came to work as my Office Assistants throughout my writing career. But, it was Malini alone who took interest in my activities and imbibed some of my intellectual interests……,”wrote Dr. Karanth in his famous memories Hucchu Manassina Hattu Mukhagalu (Ten Faces of Crazy Mind). He further wrote that he was the luckiest writer to have such an able Assistant.

Ms. Malini Mallya’s first Article viz., “Hattiradinda Kanda Hattu Mukhagalu” (Close View of Ten Faces) published in the year 1986 on Dr. Karanth’s personality brought her sensational admiration both from Scholars and lay-readers. Inspired by this widespread applause, she wrote a descriptive Biography of Dr. Shivaram Karanth titled “Naanu Kanda Karantaru” (Karanth as I viewed) which again made news. Famous Writers, Scholars and Reviewers of Kannada had all eyes on her impressive style of writing, beauty of language and impartial judgement about Dr. Karanth’s personality. Dr. Karanth himself felt thrilled to see his own “faces” in the eyes of his office Assistant: Dr. Ha. Ma. Nayak, the expert Kannada Literary Reviewer reading this book wrote:”…….We may expect a future writer………”Such unexpected reactions inspired her to bring out literary works such as Novels, Short Stories, Satires, Stray Articles etc., which again received fair reviews from Scholars as well. Famous Kannada Reviewer like Dr. C. N. Ramachandran wrote: “…..I read both of your Novels. I was very happy. while reading your works, one cannot imagine that you are a beginner. Because, you have got very good hold on language and the subject. Thus, an ordinary office copyist turned into an able writer in Kannada.

Ms. Malini MallyaMs. Mallya is a well-known Scholar-Writer of Dr.Shivaram Karanth and his writings. To this date,other than Ms.Mallya,none in Kannada has written so much Articles and Books on Dr.Karanth. In the year 1992,she brought out a comprehensive, sumptuous volume viz., “Shivaram Karantha Vagmaya Vrittanta”,a Bibliography of Dr. Karanth enriched with many line drawings of famous Artist Mr. K.K. Hebbar which book again made news as it was the first of its kind in the history of Bibliography in Kannada and probably elsewhere. This scholarly and research work brought her an Award in the year 1993 from a famous women’s Organisation of Bangalore i.e., Shaswati Womens’ Study Centre. within 3 years, Ms. Mallya collected from elsewhere nearly 1000 stray Articles of Dr. Karanth and compiled them into 8 volumes (subject wise) which were published by Mangalore University. Dr. Karanth himself was stunned to see the ‘sea’ of his writings spread over the period of about 7 decades which made him to exclaim in his public speeches like “……I never imagined that I had written so much: It is Malini who showed me the fact”(:)Many Kannada literary scholars also felt like that. Then again, she compiled a Bibliography of Dr.Karanth’s works in a different format from that of the earlier one.

Shivarama Karanthara Kinnara Loka is an exhaustive research work first ever published on the theatrical activities and experiments of Dr. Karanth beginning from the year 1921 till his demise in 1997, Chinnara Lokadalli Karantharu ( 2 volumes ) is a collection of Dr. Karanth’s Conversations with children done over the period of 9 years that were published in “Taranga” a Kannada magazine which volumes an unusually interesting and thought-provoking works in the history of Kannada literature. Karantha Uvacha is a collection of excerpts of Dr. Karanth’s quotable sentences appeared in more than 50 books authored by him. Subject wise classification, para wise descriptions (samples) and even the excerpts of short and sweet sentences are the distinctive features of this book which made the scholars like Dr. Srinivas Havanur to write thus: “……You may think of bringing out more such books in the years to come….”

Patra Vyavahara Mattu Naanu (Author: Dr. K. Shivaram Karanth) is a big volume consisting of more than 1500 letters of correspondence published by Mangalore University, the work of which was also due to the unstinted support and assistance of Ms. Mallya to Dr. Karanth at his 96th year of age.

Thus, Ms. Malini Mallya has become an Authority on Dr. Karanth with deep study, hard research work and dedicated service to the cause of literature who still continues her missionary like work of publishing books on Dr. Karanth. Two more works of her will be published soon.

Besides, Ms. Mallya has founded a Memorial Trust in the name of Dr. Shivaram Karanth in his birth place. For the benefit of the posterity, she wishes to do some constructive work in honour of Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth. Ms. Malini Mallya being the Secretary of Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanta Memorial Foundation (R) Saligrama,Udupi Dist, Karnataka works hard to realise her dreams. which work of hers is also gaining popularity all over Karnataka.

Ms. B. Malini Mallya
P.O. Saligrama – 576 225
Udupi, Karnataka, India


Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth Memorial Foundation (R)


Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth

The contributions of Late Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth (1902-1997) the great writer of this century, scholar, educationist, encyclopaedist, lexicographer, theater expert and environmentalist etc, etc were inconceivable today when we think of the days of the pre-independent India during which time he single handedly worked as a writer, social reformer and ventured in so many fields of public importance. He began his career as a freedom fighter of India inspired by Mahatma Gandhiji. Gradually ,he worked for the spread of the knowledge and social awareness amongst the people through his life. He never failed in his ideals till the end of his life which was his greatest potentiality as a writer . His concern for social justice was well-known all over India due to his legal battles over environmental issues. Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth Memorial Foundation is a public trust founded in the birth place of late Shivaram Karanth with the objectives of marinating, preserving and propagating the intellectual and unusual theatrical activities of late Dr.Karanth for the posterity and the art lovers elsewhere. Just like “The Shakespeare Birth Place Trust” at Startford -on- Avon , United Kingdom, Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth Memorial Foundation desires to commemorate the works of late Dr. Karanth by establishing various institutions viz., Dr. Shivaram Karanth Museum, Shivaram Karanth Memorial House ,Shivaram Karanth Children’s ‘Theatre, Shivaram Karanth Fine Arts ‘ centre, Shivaram Karanth Science centre etc. The proposed Shivaram Karanth Mobile Science unit aims at giving audio-visual scientific knowledge to the school children and the uneducated/moderately educated rural folk. Besides this, the Memorial foundation intends to carry out community health service in the rural areas. All these proposed projects are in tune with the activities of late Dr. Shivaram Karanth during his life time. To realise the above dreams, the foundation needs huge amount of finance to the extent of about Rs.10crores, the accumulation of which is possible only with the liberal contributions of the like-minded philanthropists, art lovers, literary admirers, social reformers etc. Your donations are eligible for Income tax relief of 50% under 80G clause of Income Tax act of India (for Indian Residents only). Please draw your cheque/demand draft/foreign currency in the name of the foundation as above and mail the same to the following address.

July 21, 2007 Posted by | HAMPI, KARANTH | 2 Comments

Agriculture to figure prominently at Vishwa Kannada Sammelana

Agriculture to figure prominently at Vishwa Kannada Sammelana

Staff Correspondent


President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has been invited to inaugurate the event

# Chief Minister sanctions Rs. 10 crore towards improvement of roads
# Visvesvaraya Technological University to host an investors’ meet

BELGAUM: As plans for the second Vishwa Kannada Sammelana are nearing finalisation, there are indications of meaningful discussions on crucial issues concerning agriculture sector in the light of growing threats from foreign capital under the post WTO regime.

Disclosing this soon after holding an official level meeting, Secretary of Department of Tourism and Kannada & Culture I.M. Vitthal Murthy told presspersons here on Thursday that the Government has planned to devote one of the nine seminars slated for the three-day meet to be held next, to discuss major issues concerning development of the agriculture sector and find ways to protect growers from increasing threats under the WTO regime.

The suggestions emerging out the discussions would help the Government take appropriate decisions.

Another major event, which could turn a new leaf in the industrial history of Belgaum, comes from the Investors’ Meet to be held at the high-tech E-campus of Visvesvaraya Technological University.

However, the Government has so far not thought of considering any incentive to encourage on-the-spot commitment from the entrepreneurs, majority of them would be from the growing IT-BT sector.

Mr. Murthy, who reiterated various plans for the event, said the Chief Minister H.D. Kumarswamy had announced Rs. 10 crore in addition to Rs. 3.20 crore released to the district administration towards improvement of road conditions and beautification of the city. Along with various cultural events, there would be two special shows.

About 1,000 school children from Belgaum would be selected for ten group songs to be composed by noted musician B.V. Srinivas. Another show would be from noted singer C. Ashwat, who would be presenting a Kannadave Sathya programme.

Interestingly, the district unit of Kannada Rakshana Vedike has organised Mr. Ashwat’s programme ahead of the sammelana. The programme would be held in the city on January 20 at Sardar High School ground.

Mr. Murthy said the State Government had requested the President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to inaugurate the sammelana. The confirmation in this regard was expected in next two days.

January 21, 2007 Posted by | Bangalore, Karnataka and Kannada, KARANTH, Nanjundappa Report | Leave a comment

‘Fight for Kannada or keep quiet at home’: Dejagow tells URA


‘Fight for Kannada or keep quiet at home’: Dejagow tells URA

War of words over Kannada at book release function

Mysore, Dec. 11 (KMC&MDS)- Former Vice-Chancellor Prof. D. Javaregowda (Dejagow) yesterday accused Jnanapith laureate Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy of creating hurdles in the way of Kannada getting classical language status.

“You do not have the concern that I have for my mother-tongue, which brought you Jnanapith award,” said former Vice-Chancellor Prof. Javaregowda criticising Dr. Ananthamurthy, who was sitting by his side on the dais.

He was speaking at the function organised by Arogya Yoga organisation and Chethana Book House at Maharaja’s College Centenary Hall in city yesterday.

“Kannada not getting classical language status when other languages get it, is an insult to Kannadigas,” he said and added, “Some people say that Kannada is not yet eligible for the ‘classical’ tag. Such persons are unfit to live in this country,” Prof. Dejagow thundered.

“Earlier, when poet laureate Kuvempu launched a pro-Kannada agitation, it was opposed by some,” Prof. Dejagow regretted.

“I feel humiliated as Kannada language has been deprived of classical language status. Don’t you too feel humiliated?” he as-ked turning to Dr. Ananthamurthy sitting by his side on the dais.

“Why do you support other languages, despite being in the land of Kannada? If you are not interested in the pro-Kannada agitation, just keep quiet at home,” Prof. Dejagow advised Dr. Ananthamurthy.

“I was the happiest man when you won the Jnanapith award. I had also said that you deserved the Nobel prize. I was not jealous. There were more than 20 litterateurs senior to you, eligible for Jnanapith award,” Prof. Javaregowda remarked.

“I had advocated for Kannada degree courses in Medical and Engineering, while preparing the Kannada encyclopedia. Linguistic harmony is achieved through translations of literature. Some speak against translations. They are only interested in making money and not in literature or enrichment of a language,” Prof. Javaregowda told Anantha-murthy: “I have heard everything about you. I know you personally too. Stop criticising Kannada in future at least. Or else I will have to expose writers like you.”

“A writer says that we do not need Translation Akademi. What does this writer know, who had lobbied for award and embezzled University funds when he was Vice-Chancellor?” thundered Prof. Dejagow.

Prof. Dejagow said that he was at the fag end of his life. “But I will die fighting for Kannada,” he declared.

Prof. Dejagow claimed that he knew Kannada very well and he can write better than Dr. Ananthamurthy. “I am not simply boasting,” he added.

“A delegation is leaving for Delhi to demand classical language status for Kannada. Stop this delegation using your influence if you can,” Prof. Dejagow challenged Dr. Ananthamurthy.

August 23, 2006 Posted by | Classical status to Kannada, KARANTH | Leave a comment




What? Kannada as a classical language! When was this status conferred on Kannada and who conferred it? You may ask.

Who has to confer it? Classicism is, according to the dictionary, a style of art and literature that is simple and elegant and is based on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome, having natural qualities and pleasing combinations of parts. A language is said to be classical if it is widely accepted and used for a long time; traditional in style or idea. It is an inherent quality of a language acquired through its long usage. Official recognition of a language as classical is just according to its legal stature, which however is de facto. What is real is made de jure.

The question whether a language is classical or not, had not hitherto entered the political arena. Greek and Latin, for example, are regarded as classical languages. But no political, temporal or spiritual authority has conferred that status on them.

Heritage and Legacy

It has long been recognised by the academic and intellectual community across the globe because of their antiquity, and rich literary and cultural heritage. So also are Sanskrit and Persian. Though Sanskrit is an Indian language, the State has not declared it as a classical language. It is interesting to note that the Information and Broadcasting Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, while announcing the decision of the Union Cabinet to grant the classical language status to Tamil two years ago (September), said that the Government would consider Sanskrit or any other language for inclusion in the category depending on its ‘heritage and legacy.’ So, recognising Tamil as classical language is not limited to Tamil alone. It is only the first language to be given official recognition.

The door is open for any other deserving language. It is also interesting to note that Tamil is the only living language (spoken by the people) to be regarded as a classical language. Political expediency forced the Government to give official recognition to it. Even English is not a classical language. It is presently engaged in practising the art of cultural invasion. It is a moving language — always on the move, converting people and replacing the words and modes of expression of other languages with its own words and modes.

Coming to Tamil, its scholars have been, for a long time, maintaining that theirs is already a classical language because of its antiquity and heritage.

The protagonists of the movement to accord classical status to Tamil claim that their movement dates back to more than a century and a half. Bishop Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), who wrote his ‘Comparative grammar of Dravidian languages’ said that these languages have an independent existence of their own and have a long antiquity.

The Tamils made this their springboard to herald the greatness of their language. Parithimaal Kalaignar (1820-1903) strove hard to restore to Tamil its status and he went to the extent of pleading that it be made one of the official languages of the government.

He was so devoted to Tamil that he changed his name from Sooryanarayana Shastri to Parithimaal Kalaignar. Many scholars demanded Tamil be accorded classical language status. Universities took up the cause. Studies were conducted to identify the criteria for a language to be considered as classical. George L. Hart, Professor of Tamil at the University of California, Berkley, declared that Tamil is of considerable antiquity and predates the literatures of other modern Indian languages, Tholkappiyam (250 BC) being the oldest work in Tamil. Sangam literature is very old, its anthologies having been written in the first two centuries of the Christian era.

Karnataka Ekikarana

Unfortunately, because of historical reasons, the region of Kannada-speaking people was broken into fragments and distributed under several political administrations and Kannadigas did not have the advantages that Tamils had. The Tamil-speaking people of the country were under a single administrative unit during the British rule. Kannadigas had to launch a long and hard struggle for the unification of Karnataka — Karnataka Ekikarana. They had no voice of their own till it was achieved.

But none can deny the fact that Kannada, along with Tamil, is one of the oldest languages of India and it has a long literary heritage. Now that Karnataka State is formed, we can assert our status and that of Kannada. The recognition of Tamil by the Union Government as a classical language has opened the flood-gates for other languages to put forth their claims. Jaipal Reddy has made an unequivocal statement that the Government would consider Sanskrit or any other language for inclusion in the category of classical languages.

Committee of experts

The Minister has said that a committee of experts would consider any future demand for classical language status in accordance with the criteria evolved by the expert committee of the Sahitya Akademi, specially appointed to consider Tamil’s case.

The criteria are: i) The language should have early texts or recorded history of at least one thousand years; ii) a body of ancient literature or texts, considered a valuable heritage by a generation of speakers; iii) a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community. Kannada superbly satisfies all these three criteria.

All the five languages of South India — Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tulu — are Dravidian languages. They are said to have emerged from an original Dravida (Moola Dravida) language. Thus Tamil, Kannada and others have a common source. Kannada’s antiquity dates back to B.C. References to Karnataka are found in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Ptolemy (2nd century BC) a Greek astronomer and geographer has mentioned the famous towns and ports of Karnataka. Prof. T.S. Venkannaiah has said that Buddhists wrote classics in Kannada. But those texts are not available. Many Kannada words were borrowed by the Prakrit language. They have been borrowed by Sanskrit also.

Kaviraja Marga (9th century AD) mentions the names of a number of poets that were born earlier and wrote literary works. Vaddaradhane of the same time is a unique prose work. Pampa’s Vikramarjuna Vijaya is an epic. If Kannada did not have a long line of writers, such a classical work could not have been created.


August 23, 2006 Posted by | Classical status to Kannada, KARANTH | 14 Comments

Classical language status sought for Kannada

Classical language status sought for Kannada

Special Correspondent



Centre urged to respond to the demand within a fortnight



  • CIIL director comes under fire for his “inability” to read and write in Kannada
  • Activists tear into pieces his message in English


    PLEA: Kannada writers and activists led by former Vice-Chancellor D. Javregowda staging a dharna in front of the CIIL in Mysore on Monday. — PHOTO: M.A.SRIRAM



    MYSORE: The agitation seeking classical language status for Kannada resumed again after a brief lull with litterateurs and intellectuals of the city staging a dharna in front of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) here on Monday.

    CIIL director Udaya Narayan Singh too came under fire for his “inability” to read and write in Kannada. His message in English was torn into pieces by the activists.

    Led by the former Vice-Chancellor D. Javare Gowda, the protestors locked the CIIL main gate for more than an hour. They demanded a response from the Centre Government to their long-pending demand for classical language status for Kannada.

    Among those who participated in the agitation included academicians, intellectuals and litterateurs including H.J. Lakkappa Gowda; H.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar; M. Akbar Ali; C.P. Krishna Kumar; science writer G.T. Narayan Rao; Latha Rajashekar; K. Bhairavmurthy, Rajashekar Kadamba; M.B. Vishwanath and president of the Mysore District Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Manasa, B.N. Chandraiah.

    They alleged that MPs from the State were not bringing pressure on the Government or raising the issue in Parliament. Even bureaucrats came under flak for their “failure” to uphold the cause of Kannada.

    Prof. Javare Gowda, who addressed the activists, said that there was greater need for according classical language status to Kannada than Tamil, as it had a more ancient history and was richer in every respect.

    Columnist Krishnaswamy Iyengar alleged that Tamil Nadu Government had succeeded in obtaining classical language status by threatening to withdraw support if the United Progressive Alliance Government failed to meet their demand.

    CIIL assistant director B. Mallikarjun distributed copies of a message from the institute director, who was out of town. The activists tore it apart, following which Dr. Mallikarjun got the message translated into Kannada.

    The CIIL director said in his message that the institute was not the competent body to accord classical language status for any language, but it was empowered to implement the recommendations once such a status was accorded to the language.

    All language experts and lovers of literature were aware of the rich past of Kannada, its growth and evolution. Contribution of poets such as Pampa; Ranna; Kumara Vyasa; Basaveshwara; and Allama Prabhu, and “Vachana Sahitya” and “Dasa Sahitya” had enriched the Indian literary tradition. Works of the modern poets including Kuvempu, Bendre, and B.M. Srikantiah were classics, which laid bare the vitality of Kannada’s literary growth, Dr. Singh said.

    Prof. Javare Gowda and others expressed concern over the fact that the CIIL director did not know Kannada.

    It was demanded that he be removed from the post for his lack of knowledge of the local language.

    The protestors dispersed after issuing an ultimatum to the Centre to respond to their demands within a fortnight.

  • August 22, 2006 Posted by | Classical status to Kannada, KARANTH | Leave a comment