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Progressive pioneer
Kodagina Gowramma, a significant writer in Kannada, is known for her progressive vision. She is also considered as the first woman to write short stories in Kannada. Born in 1912 to N S Ramaiah and Nanjakka, she showed keen interest in the happenings of the society from her childhood. While she studied at a convent in Madikeri, she developed passion for tennis and swimming. She married B T Gopalakrishna in 1928.

She received active support from the family, before and after marriage, which helped her to hone her skills in writing, and continue with tennis, swimming, and folklore. It is said that she regularly corresponded with important writers of her time and discussed literature, society and freedom movement with them. 

Gowramma’s thought process was much ahead of her times, which is evident in her writings. Her topics were out of the ordinary, some of which even crossed the boundaries of caste and religion. Most of her stories address women’s problems. Gowramma has two collections of short stories to her credit – ‘Kambani’and ‘Chiguru’. 

She was deeply influenced by the freedom movement. When Mahatma Gandhi visited Kodagu in 1934 to solicit support for the Freedom Movement, she invited him home, and donated all her jewellery towards Harijan Welfare Fund. This noble gesture, which people of Karnataka fondly remember, was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi in his article in ‘Harijan’.

The woman who sowed the seeds of change and showed great promise through her writings and activities, met with a tragic death at the age of 27. She got caught in a whirlpool and drowned, while on a routine swim in a stream.

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