Palm scripts of Kumaravyasa's magnum opus in tatters

Palm scripts of Kumaravyasa's magnum opus in tatters

 Call it the height of apathy or negligence by the elected representatives and officials concerned, the original manuscript of ‘Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari,’ a Kannada version of the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ penned by 15th-century poet Kumaravyasa, is vanishing gradually at a house in Koliwad village in the taluk.

The poet, who was considered the king of metaphors was born in Koliwad, 35 km from the city. He was one of the greatest poets in Kannada literature.

His literary work explores a wide range of human emotions and showcases his extensive mastery over vocabulary.

The poet authored ‘Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari’ or ‘Gadugina Bharata’ on talegaris (palm leaves) in the 15th century. However, 350 such ‘talegaris’ are in a pathetic state. At present, they have been placed in a small wooden box in the house belonging to the descendants of the great poet at Koliwad. As some of them are already damaged, they will disappear forever if immediate measures are not taken to protect them.

Expressing unhappiness over the delay in protecting the poet’s work, Dattatreya Patil, a 15th generation descendant  of Kumaravyasa, said repeated pleas for preserving the original work of the great poet had fallen on deaf ears of the officials and the elected representatives.

He said a memorial constructed in the village a year ago for the poet was yet to be inaugurated. Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary should be celebrated every year in a grand manner, Patil said.

Kiran Singh, officer on special duty to Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree, said, “Measures will be initiated for the preservation of the palm scripts if the village elders or successors of the poet submit a proposal addressed to her. They should submit a photograph of the palm scripts along with the proposal. Steps will be taken to inaugurate the memorial,” he said.

Only the government can take a decision on celebrating Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary, the officer said.

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