'I write regardless of reaction to my work'

Malur comes alive with literary fervour

'I write regardless of reaction to my work'

Sa Raghunath, the president of the 12th Kolar District Kannada Sahitya Sammelan is a multifaceted personality. Besides being a teacher by profession, he is a poet, novelist, translator, critic and columnist.

He has launched a programme titled ‘Namma Makkalu’ with the objective of imparting education to poor and orphan children. He has to his credit more than 26 literary works.
Recognising his contribution to literature and translation works, Raghunath has been presented with Muddanakavya award. Excerpts from his interview with Deccan Herald.

On being selected as the president for the fest...
I am as happy as I would be if a renowned newspaper published my poem or a novel.

How do you identify yourself in the literary scenario of the district?

I am but a stork in the world of literature.

The life of a writer is continuous migration. Just as storks migrate I too migrate from one form of literature to another. I am not sure if I am a good writer- my writer
colleagues should confirm that. I can only take a sense of satisfaction if my works succeed in attracting other writers. All my works are like plots constructed by farmers in a tank to catch fish.

Given a busy schedule as a teacher and a social worker, how do you manage to contribute to the field of literature?

The schedule in teaching profession is, in fact, a blessing in disguise. If we focus only on school work, there would always be shortage of time for any other kind of work.
We need to adapt our lives to the schedules set for family, society and profession. Also, we should necessarily find time for our families.

How did you develop an interest in Kannada and Telugu literature?

I learnt a lot of Telugu listening to songs and conversations of native speakers, and watching movies, especially those of Nageshwar Rao and NTR. I can, in fact, consider them, and Ghantasala, who was a prominent singer in Telugu, my real teachers of Telugu language.

What drove you to translation?

My first attempt at translation was in poetry, if I remember right in around 1982. The first poem I translated was ‘Kavitha’, by Sri Sri. I then moved to ‘Deshamante Matti Kadoi, Deshamante Manashulo’, a patriotic poem by Gurajada Apparao.

My first work of translation to Kannada was ‘Lakkamomma’ (wax doll), by Ramuri Bharadwaj. My next work was a set of five poems by Gurajada, which still remain landmark works in Telugu literature in the last 100 years.

I have translated works of about 20 writers, including Guntur Sheshendra Sharma, Addepalli Ramamohan Rao, Jayaprabha, Vegunta Mohan Prasad, Sri Sri, Annamaiah, Nanduri Subbarao, Rauri Bharadwaj, Vidyasagar, Chakravarthi Shahji, Venu Sankoji, Umamaheshwar Rao and Shahjahan.

Would you consider the reactions and honours to your literary works satisfactory?

I merely write. I go by the old saying of only working and not worrying about the outcome. A tree, for instance, gives fruit, but only those who wish would pick fruit, not everybody. Some may even discard the fruit. A writer, I would say, should be like a tree.
Also, I have not found anyone so far who has been very critical or cynical about my works in either Telugu or Kannada. I am lucky to have been received with respect and affection in both languages.

Any unexpected reactions or situation with regard to your writing?

Definitely. I received a letter from a person who gave up plans of committing suicide after reading my writing in a column. The story apparently had characters and occurrences similar to those in the life of the reader.

Your plans after the Sammelana.

I will only return to my job as teacher, after participating in the Sammelana. I will also continue my social work. Writing too will continue as always. I will also use my earnings through literature to make medicines and distribute them among those who come to me.

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