Teacher keeps 'burra katha' alive

Teacher keeps 'burra katha' alive

As a medium to keep memories of a community and a transmitter of cultural tradition, ‘burra katha’, a folk narrative art, has been kept alive for the next generations by a teacher and his troupe of a hamlet, H Gollahalli, in the taluk.

V Venkatamuniyappa, has pursued the folk art to educate people on legends, myths and epics through ‘burra katha’.

Born on April 6, 1946, the artiste began his profession as teacher in 1968. However, the influence of his uncle, who was also a ‘burra katha’ artiste honoured by the erstwhile king of the Mysore Princely State, proved an indelible influence on the young teacher. He also inherited the cultural heritage from his father and continued to bridge cultures of Karnakata and Andhra Pradesh through his translation of the folk narratives in Kannada and Telugu.

Literary work

He has translated Telugu drams, mystic poems and vachanas into Kannada. Besides, he has appealed to the secular sensibilities of the modern day audience by adopting biographies of Kaivara Narayana Yatindra, one of the makers of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar, 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara, freedom fighter Kitturu Chennamma and writer DVG into ‘burra katha’.

His interest in the folk culture and literature goes beyond the narrative art. He has a collection of antiques which includes articles used by kings and laymen of yesteryears at the Yogi Narayana Janapada Kala Academy.  

A multi-faceted talent, Munivenkatappa has also participated in the Asian games as well as various awareness programmes organised at the State and national levels. He has earned recognition for performing other folk art forms such as ‘venu kunita’, ‘pandaribhajane’, ‘lavani’, ‘kolata’, ‘kavali’, and drama.

With a concern to keep the tradition alive for the generations to come, he has been training youths interested in these folk arts.

His endeavours have secured him national senior citizen award; president medal for census work and the state-level best teacher award in 1993, the Karnataka Janapada Yakshagana Academy award in 1998 and the national-level best teacher award in 2003.

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