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Remembering Gopalakrishna Adiga

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FIRST COPY: Writers Chandrashekar Kambar (left) and U.R. Ananthamurthy releasing `Hanate', a commemorative volume, to mark poet Gopala Krishna Adiga's 90th birth anniversary in Bangalore on Sunday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
FIRST COPY: Writers Chandrashekar Kambar (left) and U.R. Ananthamurthy releasing `Hanate', a commemorative volume, to mark poet Gopala Krishna Adiga's 90th birth anniversary in Bangalore on Sunday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Gopalakrishna Adiga, one of the greatest practitioners of modernist tradition (Navya) in Kannada literature, would have turned 90 today, had he lived. In memory of the great poet, whose chief poetic concern was the disillusionment in the post-Independence period, the Suchitra Kala Kendra, Shivarama Karantha Vedike and the Gopalakrishna Adiga Trust organised a Kavi-Kavya-Namana programme on Sunday.

Speaking on the idea behind such a programme, writer S.R. Vijayshankar said, "Just like one owes a lot to society, one also feels indebted to one's poets. More so in the case of Adiga, because as Lankesh said, he opened the eyes of an entire generation."

Speaking after releasing the commemorative volume Hanate, poet Chandrashekhar Kambar relived the memories of the times when he was the poet's colleague. "When I wrote `Heltini Kela' I was desperate for Adiga's appreciation. And when he wrote an approving response, I was so delighted that I went around the college showing it to everyone I met," he said, soaking in the warmth of his reminiscences. He said that Adiga, the poet, was so crucial for him as a writer that he found himself writing poems that were either responses to Adiga's poetry or were modelled on them.

Former Chief Secretary Chiranjivi Singh, who read Adiga's poem "Nanna Ninna Naduve", recalled his association with the poet. On his first meeting with Adiga, he had offered the editorship of the two magazines published by the State, but the poet refused to do any government work. Further, his efforts to publish a book on Karnataka, edited by Gopalakrishna Adiga, also failed. "Kannada didn't get the book, but I got the friendship of the poet," he said.

Writer U.R. Ananthamurthy said Adiga was one of the greatest poets because he had in him the ability to forswear his own self. He was a poet who expressed doubt about Maatu, the gift of the gab. Adiga believed that an obsession with the spoken word could mislead the poet, while a politician was constantly misleading people around him. That was the reason why Adiga had no faith in poetry that wooed the reader. In fact, in his poem "Nehru Nivruttaraaguvudilla", Adiga made scathing remarks about Nehru.

He called him Narcissus, who was in love with his own words.

He said how his memory of the poet was not separate from all those occasions that they had spent together, discussing poetry over a cup of coffee and a smoke.

Some of Adiga's poems were read, including the most influential Prarthane, Indu Nammee Naadu and Enadaru Maadutiru Tamma.

Bhadrappa Gowda and Bharatidevi recited some of his poems.

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