Literary & Cultural Activities

Literary

Raichur district has rich cultural traditions and has been playing an important role in the field of literary activities since early times. The temples and mathas were centers of cultural, literary and social activities. A galaxy of eminent personalities, who shone in the cultural field, hailed from this district. Rulers of powerful kingdoms like those of the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, of Viajayanagara and of the Bahmanis and Adil Shahs, which arose in the vicinity of the district, were great patrons of arts and letters. There were independent Bhakti movements pioneered by Sharanas and Haridasas who were dedicated souls and many of whom have left a deep impress on the literature and culture of the Kannada country. In the 11th century, nearly a 100 years before the time of Sri Basaveshvara, Naoli, in Lingsugur taluk, was known for two reputed vachanakaras, namely, Shankara Dasimayya and Dhakkeya Marayya. They were the beginners of the vachana style which produced, in the following centuries, a unique treasure of Kannada literature. In the 12th century, Ayadakki Marayya of Amareshwara in Lingsugur taluk, his wife Ayadakki Lakkamma, and Bibbi Bacharasa of Gabbur made a notable mark as vachanakaras. In the 16th century, Lingannacharya of Kallur wrote Vararamya-Ratnakara in Bhamini-shatpadi metre. During the times of the Vijayanagara kings, the mathas were re-organised, and during the reigns especially of Proudha Devaraya and Krishnadeva Raya, cultivation of arts and letters received a great impetus. The great Haridasa tradition was propagated in Raichur district by several eminent saints like Vijayadasa, Gopaladasa and Jagannathadasa in the 17th and 18th centuries. Vijayadasa was born in 1687 A.D., at Chikalparvi in Manvi taluk in very humble circumstances. At an early age, he went to Varanasi for education. It is said to have composed 25,000 songs, the largest number of Kannada songs, ranking second after Purandaradasa in that respect. Gopaladasa, born in 1717 A.D., at Masarkal of Deodurg taluk, was a disciple of Vijayadasa. Gopaladasa is well known for his songs, which are full of devotion. There is hardly a topic, which he has not dealt with concerning mysticism. Jagannathadasa was born in 1727 A.D., in a family of Kukarnis (village accountants) at Biagwat, a village in Manvi taluk. He was called Jagannatha Vitthala by Gopaladasa. He was an eminent scholar of Sanskrit and a proficient writer in Kannada. He composed a number of devotional songs and wrote a learned treatise called Harikathamritasara. He was admired by Purnaiya, the great Dewan of Mysore. Manohar Vitthala of Buddinni in Manvi taluk, earlier called as Buddinni Desai Narayanappa, was a disciple of Sri Gopaladasa. He lived about 175 years back. He wrote Raghavendraguru Stotra, Manmathavilasa, Sri Krishna Jayantikatha, Gadayuddha, Sankocha Bharata, Anantakathe and other works. Vasudeva Vitthala, whose earlier name was Venkataramacharya and later known as Paramahamsa Vyasattvagna, was a famous saint of the 18th century (1705-1801 A.D.) He was a great devotee of Sri Raghavendraswamy of Mantryalaya. He is said to have performed many miracles. He was proficient both in Sanskrit and Kannada. He wrote 13 works in Sanskrit, of which his treatises on Manasasmriti and Upasanabhaga and his comments on the seventh canto of Bhagavata are well known. In Kannada, he wrote ten ugabhogas, sixteen suladis and hundreds of padas. Praneshadasa (Pranesh Vitthala 1744-1822), whose former name was Yogappa, was born in Lingsugur taluk. He is said to have served his guru, Jagannathadasa, for nearly sixteen years. He was the author of Parth-Vilasa, Veerabhadra-Vilasa, Aniruddha-vialasa and 12 other Harikathas and rendered Vayustuti into Kannada and composed several ugabhogas and suladis and hundreds of padas. The other famous Dasas were Panganama Thimmanna Dasa, Kallur Subbannacharya, Guru Pranesha, Sreesha Pranesha Vitthala, Guru Sreesha Vitthala, Ananda Dasa, ModalakalSeshadasa, Sri Varadesha Vitthala, Srinivasa Vitthala, Asigyala Govinda Dasa, Manvi Gundacharya, Lingsugur Padmanabha Dasa, Panduranga Rao Kasbe, etc., and a number of others strove earnestly to continue the Haridasa tradition. During the 18th century, there were also a good number of Veerashaiva writers. Sangavibhu of Ganekal wrote Kumara Vijaya (a Champoo kavya) and three Shatakas, namely, Basava Shataka, Pampa Shataka and Bhuvanaika-Nayaki Shataka. Ganamathadarya was the author of Bhakti-Sudharasa, while Kudlur Basavalinga Sharma wrote Brahmatatva-Ratnakara and Channamalla Kavi of Deodurg wrote Karuneshwara-Purana. The famous writers of the 19th century were Veerabhadra kavi, the author of Aravattumuru Puratanara Purana, Gugal Parappayya who was the author of Anubhava Padyagalu and Mariswamy who also composed Anubhava Padyagalu. The late Kaviratna Chenna kavi and Maski Basavappa Sastry were famous for their Puranas. The famous works of Chenna kavi are : Hemareddy Mallammana Purana, Anagal Kumareshwara Purana, Sollapurada Nalwathar Veereshwara Purana, Mulagunda Balaveera Mahanta Shivayogi Purana, Gowlakere Annadaneshwara Purana and other works. The research work of late Gorebala Hanumantha Rao of Lingsugur in the field of Dasa Sahitya (the literature of Dasas), has brought to light the works of several Dasas (through Varadendra Sahitya Mandala, Lingsugur) who strove hard to propagate the Dasa tradition. He brought out more than 50 works containing keertanas of several Dasas. It was also discovered that there were Harijans and Muslims too among the Dasas. During the twenties and thirtees of the present century, the literary and cultural activities gained a considerable momentum through the strenuous efforts of Pandit Taranath (1891-1942), an eminent thinker, linguist and social worker, who hailed from South Kanara District but spent many active years of his life in the Raichur region. He attracted a number of devoted followers whom he inspired to work earnestly for the country. He wrote Dharma Sambhava, Dharmada Tirulu and other works, which are thought- provoking. He was highly proficient in Ayurveda also and trained up many youths in that medical science. He founded the Hamdard High School at Raichur. The late Kallinatha Shastri Puranik wrote Puranas, like his father Kaviratna Chenna kavi, of which Sharana Basaveshwara Purana, Gudleshwara Purana, Belwantara Chennabasaveshwara Purana and Itagi Bhimambika Purana are well known. He has written also plays, songs and other works. Late Prof. D.K.Bhimasen Rao of Bidgi in Manvi taluk, who worked as the Head of the Kannada Department of Osmania University, was responsible for fostering Kannada movement in Hyderabad through Kannada Sahitya Mandir and Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. His literary contributions are Hadimurane Shatamanda Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra Sahitya Avalokana, Shabdamani Darpanada Pathantaragalu Mattu Harikathamrita and Humale (a collection of poems edited), etc. Late Sri Manvi Narasinga Rao, who worked for the cause of Kannada through Kannada Sahitya Mandir, Hyderabad, contributed to the Kannada literature Saraswati Tatva (a collection of essays) and Kannada Yatre (a travelogue), etc. He was mainly responsible for organizing the Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. Sri Tawag Bhimasen Rao of Tawag in Lingsugur taluk, a retired Kannada Lecturer, made a notable contribution by establishing Kannada Shitya Sangha in Gulbarga which has become a nucleus of many Kannada activities. His contributions are mostly in the form of articles or criticism published in literary journals like Prabuddha Karnataka. Sri Siddayya Puranik (son of the late Sri Kallinatha Shastri Puranik), an administrator, whose pen-name is Kavyananda, is one of the present-day eminent poets. His Manasa Sarovara, a collection of poems, won him a State award and his Thuppa Rotti Ge Ge Ge (children’s poems) won him a National award. He has written three dramas namely Atmarpana, Rajatarekhe and Bharataveera, two collections of stories, namely, tusharahara and Kathamanjari, and a novel, namely, Tribuvanamalla. Sharanacharitamrita is his other well known book of life-sketches of sixty-three Sharanas. Besides, he has edited Kannada Padya Ratnakara, Srikara Prabandhamale, Subodha-Sara, Mahatma Kanakadasa Prashasti and Sharanaprasada. His other works are Jalapata, Karana Sravana, Kallolamale, Modala Manavanagu, Vikasa Vani, etc. His brother Sri Annadanayya Puranik has written Channabasava Shitya, Bhageeratha Nyayadarshana, etc. Dr.S.M.Hunashal, Principal of the Hamdard Higher Secondary School, Raichur, has published several works both in English and Kannada, among which are the Veerashaiva Social Philosophy, Puratana Shraneyara Vachanagalu, Bharatada Samskritiya Ithihasa and Vichara Taranga (a collection of poems). Pandit D.M.Sharma has published a Kannada work entitled Amareshwara Purana. Shantarasa, a teacher by profession, has published a collection of poems called Musuku-tere; he is also the author of Satyasnehi, Nanjumorevalu and Manasagalli (poems), and has edited Siddharama, Kalyanadeepa, Basava Shataka and other works. Sri Jaithirth Rajpurohit, another administrator, is a noted novelist and a short-story writer. Suligali, a novel of his, won him a prize in 1968 in a competition. His other literary contributions are Paravvana Panchayati, Rohini (short stories), Halu Jenu (novel), Thungeyangaladalli (plays in verse) and Kanakagireesha Charite. Sri Chandrashekhara Sastry of Raichur has brought out several works on philosophy, while Vidwan Sri Veereshwara Shastry, a journalist and editor of Amaravani (a local monthly), has written a commentary on Bhava-Chintaratna of Gubbi Mallanarya. Sri Gadwal Shankarappa of Raichur, the organizer of Sangadigar Samithi, has been responsible for publication of several books brought out by young writers. He has also written Avale Ivalu, Brahma Tatva Ratnakara and Hariharana Kathegalu. Prof. T.Srikanthaiah of the L.V.D. College, Raichur, has written Arivu (a collection of poems) and Hariharanu Chitrisiruva Kelavu Sharanaru; he has also edited Shabara Shankara Vilasa. To the credit of Sri Chennabasava Swamigalu of Naradagadde, a religious place, are works of literary and spiritual value such as Savijenu, Swayamprabha, Antaranga (being collections of his vachanas) and Sri Gurusannidhi. Sri Kushtagi Raghavendra Rao is working in Mysore University as a research worker on Dasa Sahitya. Sri Devendra Kumar Hakari, a Lecturer in Karnatak University, Dharwar, has written Chinmayi, Ache Eche, Chelva Kogile and Koogutive Kallu, while Sri Panchakshari Hiremath, another noted writer of Raichur district, has written a novel Borban Club serialized in a journal. In additiona to the above person, mention may be made of several others such as Sriyuths : the late Sugaveera Sharma and Manikya Rao, G.Krishna Rao, Jambanna, Hanumnthachar Updhyay, Amarananda

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