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A brief account
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Introduction Karnataka is the land that gave birth to seven Jnanapeeth award winners, the highest honour bestowed for Indian literature. From the period of Adikavi Pampa, who proclaimed his wish to be reborn as a little bee in the land of Kannada, Kannada poetry has come a long way to Kuvempu and Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre.4
Pre-history Kannada poetry has been traced back to around 5th century A.D, though none of those early works have been found.
The earliest extant poetry in tripadi meter are the Kappe Arabhatta records of 700 C.E.
The first well known Kannada poet was Adikavi Pampa who wrote in an archaic style of kannada called Halegannada (literally "Old Kannada"). His Vikramarjuna Vijaya is hailed as a classic even to this day. With this and his other important work Adipurana he set a trend of poetic excellence for the Kannada poets of the future.
Kannada poetry called vachanas, were pithy comments on that period's social, religious and economic conditions. More importantly, they hold a mirror to the seed of a social revolution, which caused a radical re-examination of the ideas of caste, creed and religion.
Bhakti Kannada poets have the unique distinction of sowing the seeds of one of the richest forms of classical music: South Indian Carnatic music. The Dasas or saints, around 15th century, sang the glory of God through poems. These poems called Padas were usually of 10 to 20 lines. They expressed the desire of the Bhakta or devotee to be one with God.
The Haridasas spread the message of peace, love and bhakti in their Dasa Sahitya, which are also popularly known Devaranamas9
Navodaya Navodaya literally means a new birth. This indeed was the reincarnation of Kannada poetry which was dormant for quite a few centuries in the face of British occupation of India.
This period saw greats like Srikanthaiah, Kuvempu, Bendre, Shivaram Karanth writing poetry.10
It was B. M. Srikanthaiah who started this movement of sorts with his translation of a few critically acclaimed English poems of the Romantic period.
Many educated Kannadigas, especially those were in the teaching profession, realised that they need to express themselves in their mother tongue and started writing poetry in Kannada.B .M SRIKANTHAIAH
Kuvempu is a case in point who was convinced by his professor (of British origin) that he should write in his mother tongue. Kuvempu went on to become a Rashtrakavi (national poet). His love of nature, realisation of the greatness of man's spirit and the vision to see the blend of nature and God made him more than Kannada's Wordsworth.12
Another interesting case is that of Shivaram Karanth who was a man of great intellect, rock-solid convictions and a profound social sense.
Navya (New)Indian Independence in 1947 brought with it the promises of freedom and a new genre sprouted in Kannada poetry.
The torch-bearer of this tradition was Gopalakrishna Adiga . The Navya poets wrote for and liked disillusioned intellectuals.14 Gopalakrishna Adiga
Other genres Kannada poetry in the last 50 years has been closely related to social aspects. The cruel caste system gave rise to the Bandaya and Dalita genres of poetry. The atrocities against women and the general ill-treatment meted out to them in Indian society gave rise to the Stri (Woman) genre of poetry.15
Awards Kannada poetry has won seven Jnanapeeth awards, the highest for any other Indian language. Sahitya Academy Awards are also given to Kannada for their eminent contributions to Kannada poetry.
Kuppali Venkatappagowda Puttappa (Kuvempu)
Year = 1967 Work = Sri Ramayana Darshanam18
Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre
Year = 1973 Work = Nakutanti (Naku Thanthi)19
Work = Mookajjiya Kanasugalu
Maasti Venkatesh Ayengar
Year = 1983 Work = Chikkaveera Rajendra21
V. K. Gokak (Vinayaka Krishna Gokak)
Year = 1990 Work = Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi22
U.R. Ananthamurthy Kannada
Year = 1994 work = his contribution to Kannada literature.
Year = 1998 Work = "for his contributions to modern Indian drama24
List of other important Kannada poets Asaga Gopalakrishna Adiga Kappe Arabhatta Amoghavarsha Basava Chandrashekhara Kambara
Chamarasa Chikkupadhyaya Gangadhar V. Chittal Kanaka Dasa Purandara Dasa Dinakara Desai Subbanna Ekkundi26
Gangadevi M. Govinda Pai Janna Gourish Kaikini Jayant Kaikini Kayyara Kinyanna Rai Kumara Vyasa Akka Mahadevi27
A. N. Murthy Rao Nagavarma I Nagavarma II Adikavi Pampa Sri Ponna Allama Prabhu Rajasekhara28
Ranna Rudrabhatta Sarvajna Shishunala Sharif B. M. Srikantaiah T. N. Srikantaiah Tirumalamba29
Vyasatirtha K. S.Narasimhaswamy
K. S. Nissar AhmedShivakotiacharya G. S. Shivarudrappa30
Poet Sarvajna A famous Kannada poet ,his statue has been unveiled in Ayanavaram park,Chennai in August 2009.
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