Poet who touched hearts
Preethi Illada Mele Hoovu Araleetu Hege?Moda Kattitu Hege?Haniyoderadu Nelakilidu hasiru hutteetu hege?(When there is no love how can the flowers bloom? How can clouds gather?And how can the water drops drop down on earth? and How can the greens sprout?)
These lines of Dr G S Shivarudrappa sum up his vision of poetry and life. This true poet of our age has attained eternity. The poet who enriched the poetic culture, the literary tradition and social life of Karnataka has reached heavens.
Born on February 7, 1926, as a schoolteacher’s son at Shikaripura in Shimoga district, G S Shivarudrappa, popularly known as GSS, represented the true “Punyakoti culture” of Karnataka. He personified the best soothing traditions of Kannada literary traditions. He was blessed to be the student of Kuvempu at the famed Maharaja’s College of Mysore. GSS considered Kuvempu his “Kavya Guru” and was thankful to be Kuvempu’s student and later as a colleague at Maharaja College. In 1965, he secured a doctorate for his thesis Soundarya Sameekshe under the guidance of Kuvempu, a pioneering and masterly work in the field of literary aesthetics.
GSS started his career in 1949 as a lecturer in Kannada at the University of Mysore, and in 1963, he joined Osmania University, Hyderabad, as a Reader. He eventually became the Head of Department. In 1966, GSS joined Bangalore University as a Professor and later became the Director of the Kannada Study Centre. It was under his mentorship that Kannada Study Centre became a home for many renowned Kannada scholars and a great centre of learning, research and creativity.
Blending life and ideals
GSS blended in his works life and the institutions he worked and led literary movements and social movements together. Idealist to the core, he always responded to the reality and was in tune with the dynamic and contemporary world.
He could never be dogmatic and always had a sensitive and open mind for learning.
He advocated a middle path, whether it is about the cultures of the East and West, Traditional and Modern or the different political opinions.
He said, “I did not surrender myself to any one particular movement. I have tried to learn from whatever (is) to be learnt from all the movements and therefore I cannot be placed in any one framework. I have no prejudices, I have completely an open mind and I can accept new thoughts from anywhere.”
It is therefore, like his mentor Kuvempu, Shivarudrappa was a great influence on his large number of students who belonged to different schools of thoughts. Inspiring teacher
He never dominated his students but inspired them to grow themselves. GSS was a great teacher and virtually created out of his students many tall and worthy scholars. The scholar in GSS made him examine literary works in their cultural context and make them relevant in the modern society.
His erudition in Indian and Western poetics and literary theory enabled him to use literary critical tools in the analysis of ancient texts. For instance, his Kannada Sahitya Sameekshe is an invaluable attempt of delineating literary history in the context of literary movements and forms.
He has written scores of articles on ancient poets of Kannada and most of them are illuminated by critical insights and innovative methodology. His writings on Harihara, Raghavanka, Ratnakaravarni and Pampa are particularly significant. Kannada Kavigala Kavyakalpane delineates the literary theory propounded by ancient poets in their creative texts.
He received the Central Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984 for his literary contribution ‘Kavyartha Chintana.’ He also received several awards, including the Karnataka State Sahitya Academy and Soviet Land Nehru Award. Kuvempu University, Kannada University and Mysore University conferred their honorary doctorate degrees on Shivarudrappa. He was in the chair of the 61st Akhila Bharatiya Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in Davangere in 1991. He was chosen for the coveted “Rashtrakavi’ title by the Government of Karnataka in 2006.
GSS was a great prose writer too. His monumental works — Parisheelana, Vimarsheya Poorva Pashchima, Kannada Sahithya Sameekshe, Mahakavya Swaroopa, Samagra Kannada Sahitya Kuvempu-a Reappraisal – would serve as a worthy referral material for researches. He has also penned travelogues sharing his experiences in Moscow, England and the US.
GSS is known as a poet of the heart. His poetry collection include Saamagaana, Cheluvu-Olavu, Devashilpi, Deepada Hejje, Anaavarana, Tereda Baagilu, Gode, Vyakthamadhya, Teerthavaani, Kaartika, Kaadina Katthalalli, Preeti Illada Mele and Chakragati.
Ede Tumbi Hadidenu Aandu Nanu – I sang with full heart brimming with emotions, you heard them with rapt attention” – the poet GSS sang. He was a complete human being, a complete poet and truly evolved one.
A true Kannada poet in the language’s best traditions in the “parampara” of Pampa, Kumaravysa and Kuvempu, he is no more but his Ede Tumbi Hadidenu will reverberate for centuries to come.
(The writer is a noted educationist)