The roots of Kannada in Kodagu...

The roots of Kannada in Kodagu...

The coffee land is all set to witness the 80th Kannada literary meet scheduled to begin on January 7, after a long gap of 32 years. Earlier, Madikeri has witnessed two literary meets - the 18th literary meet in 1932 under the leadership of D V Gundappa and the 54th literary meet in 1982 under the leadership of Dr Shambha Joshi.

Interestingly, despite being one of the smallest districts in Karnataka, it has a wide variety of culture as well as languages that include Kodava, Arebashe Gowda and Malayalam, yet the region has managed to retain the flavour of State language.

If one goes down the pages of history, the little district with unique weather and culture has contributed immensely for the development of Kannada language. The Ganga - Kongwala - Hoysala and Haleri dynasties, perhaps laid the strong foundation for Kannada through inscriptions way back in the 9th century. In the 10th century, Nagaverma had created ‘Chandombudi’ and ‘Punyashrava,’ according to the reference available at ‘Kodagu Sahithya - Sanskrithi Darshana,’ published by Kodagu District Kannada Sahithya Parishat.

During the Chengalva dynasty, the third Mangarasa had published ‘Jayanrupa Kavya’ and ‘Samyukta Kaumudi’ (1508), while his cousin Nanjunda had written ‘Kumara Ramana Kathe.’

There are documents to prove that the first epic ‘Rama Vijaya Kavya’ was written by Devappa, a Jain poet in 1540. Similarly, Dodda Veera Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1789 and 1809, has the credit of documenting history titled ‘Rajendra Name’ in Kannada. The II Linga Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1810 and 1820 had written a book pertaining to land in Kodagu entitled ‘Lingarajana Shisthu.’

The 19th century

The leading name of 19th century pertaining to literature is that of Panje Mangesh Rao, who served as a teacher in Kodagu in 1920s. He had penned poems pertaining to Hutthari festivities among other literary works. In fact, he was the president of All India Kannada literary meet held in Raichur in 1934.

Haradasa Appacchha Kavi, popularly known as the Adi Kavi of Kodagu had penned many plays including ‘Savithri,’ ‘Yayathi,’ ‘Kaveri’ and ‘Subramanya’ in Kodava language. The same were translated to Kannada language by Dr I M Muttanna, who also hailed from Kodagu.

Kodagina Gowramma

The first woman story writer in Kannada literary field, Gowramma, hailed from Kodagu and she is known as ‘Kodagina Gowramma.’ Born in Madikeri in 1912, she did her early schooling in Madikeri and married to B T Gopalakrishna in 1928.

From 1931, she wrote a number of articles and stories in the name of ‘Mrs G T G Krishna’. Most of her stories were based on the theme of women’s problems. However, she passed away in 1940 when she was just 28 years old. When Mahathma Gandiji arrived at Kodagu, she had invited Gandhiji to her home and she had donated her jewellery for the cause of freedom.

Bharathisutha

A teacher by profession, ‘Bharathisutha’ was the pen name of S R Narayana Rao. Based on the life story of Kodagu ruler Siribai Dodda Veerappa, he had written ‘Huliya Haalina Mevu,’ which was later made into a film by the same name.

His other stories too have been made into films and they include ‘Girikanye,’ ‘Edakallu Guddada Mele’ and ‘Bayalu Daari’ among others. His work on ‘Solle Haraduva Rogagalu’ (Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes) and ‘Giliyu Panjaradolilla’ (The parrot is not in the cage) earned him Central government award and Karnataka Sahithya Academy award respectively.

Kittel’s footsteps

Rev Fr Ferdinand Kittel, who contributed immensely to the field of Kannada literature has left indelible marks in Kodagu, prominent among them include the Kannada - English dictionary.
 A German missionary, who served in Kodagu church (presently knownn as Shanthi church) between 1871 and 1876, was the first parish priest of the church. Rev Kittel started learning Kannada after going around the coffee land, says the present parish priest of the church.
DH News Servcie

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