Father tells us to read all the time: Channamma Kambara

Father tells us to read all the time: Channamma Kambara

Chandrashekhara Kambara

Channamma Kambara

Jnanpith laureate Chandrashekhara Kambara is among the Kannadigas nominated this year for the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian honour.

Celebrations broke out in his home in Bengaluru when the award was announced on the eve of Republic Day. Greetings poured in from friends, relatives and well-wishers. 

Channamma Kambara, assistant professor at the Centre for Research in Urban Affairs at Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) and the youngest of Kambara’s four children, spoke to Showtime about what she admires the most about him. 

“The award came as a huge surprise. We were all thrilled,” she says.

Growing up, Channamma had more books than toys. “My father would always get us storybooks, mainly folk tales from within India and across the world. A majority would be in Kannada. That was certainly helpful in building our Kannada vocabulary,” recollects Channamma.

She says extensive reading in her childhood and her father’s speeches influenced her to take up Kannada literature as an optional subject during her undergraduate studies. “He would explain poems and literary concepts when I was pursuing my BA,” she says.

Kambara tells his children to read all the time, “if not a novel or a book, at least a newspaper”.

Distinguished career

Kambara has published 25 plays, 11 anthologies of poems, five novels and 16 research works. His popular plays include ‘Jokumaraswamy’, ‘Siri Sampige’ and ‘Karimayi’.

Widely regarded as one of India’s finest playwrights and folklorists, Kambara was the first vice chancellor of the Hampi Kannada University, chairman of the National School of Drama Society, Delhi, and president of the Karnataka Nataka Academy.