Tribute to Seshanarayana, Kannada writer

A new writer, Seshanarayana, came into existence in the Kannada literary world in 1954, with his novel, Mulanakshatra, published by Kavyalaya, Mysore. A literary journey that began with fiction moved into other genres like the short story, biography, drama and children’s literature.

He was a successful translator as well, and published nearly 50 works in all. Seshanarayana, who was much celebrated with his work, Cauvery: Ondu Chimmu, Ondu Horalu (2003) passed away in Bengaluru on August 7.

In his Foreword, titled: “Is it a foreword? Is it an autobiography?”, he elaborately describes his early days, volatile and vibrant. Eldest among six children of Subrahmanyam and Kaveri couple, he was born on August 18, 1927 in Palya, a village in Talavadi near Tamilnadu-Karnataka border, which belonged to Tamilnadu.

He studied up to fourth standard and could not pursue his studies any further due to poverty. As a young boy itself, he was attracted to leftist ideology. Sensing that he had to become a Shanbhog like his father if he stayed on in the village, he ran away from home and travelled extensively throughout the country. The knowledge and experience that he acquired in these days was immense.

Tribute to Seshanarayana, Kannada writer

After these exile years, he settled in Bangalore, and faced lot of difficulties in life. He worked as a coolie, in a lorry company loading and offloading luggage, also in a private press in Mysore, before he came to Bangalore in 1971. He started his own printing press, Vikasa Mudranalaya.

He gladly printed the articles of several stalwarts through which his literary knowledge expanded. But in 1977, he was forced to shut it down, as it ran into rough weather. In the meanwhile, in 1971, he joined B.M.Srikantaiah Achchukuta, a printing press attached to Kannada Sahitya Parishat.

He retired as its director in 1985. Seshanarayana worked for the digital version of Kannada Vishwakosha published by the Mysore University.

In his life, he had to face a lot of difficulties, poverty and many bitter experiences. He was an introvert and never wanted to be in the limelight. He kept a low profile throughout his career. He worked as the assistant editor of Chitragupta, a Kannada periodical of yesteryear. His short stories were published in Kannada periodicals like Jeevana, Jayanthi, Kasturi, Kailasa, Gokula, Prajamata and Tayinadu etc. He never aspired for any rewards or awards, though he has penned nearly fifty literary works in Kannada. Awards and rewards followed Seshanarayana.

Tribute to Seshanarayana, Kannada writer

His works were published by Kavyalaya, Mysore, Manohara Grantha male, Dharwad, National Book Trust as well as Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. He has translated several Tamil literary works of writers like Ashokamitran, M.P.Somasundaram and Mu.Varadarajan into Kannada. He has also translated short stories of Masti Venkatesha Iyengar into Tamil besides translating S.L. Byrappa’s Daatu into Tamil. He has translated several short stories of Tamil writers like Rajaji, Pudumai Pittan, Jayakanthan, Akhilan, Mouni, L.S.Ramamrutam, Kalki, Na. Parthasarathi and Na.Pichamurthy etc into Kannada.

The Karnataka Sahitya Academy conferred the Sahitya Academy Award for his novel, Beesu. His other awards include Kurul Peetam Award by Government of Tamilnadu, Best translator’s award for his Kannada translation Hadinentaneya Aksharekhe, a translation of Tamil literary work of Ashokmitran, Karnataka Rajyotsava award and an award from Dakshina Bhasha Pustaka Samsthe.

His collection of short stories, Molle Mallige, was prescribed as text book for several years for pre-university course.

Apart from 17 novels, eight short story collections and translation works, he has written two major books on the problems of rivers in India. One is, Kaveri: Ondu chimmu ondu horalu and Namma Nadigalu mattu samasyegalu.

In the book on Kaveri, Seshanarayana examines the historical, mythical, social and legal dimensions of the problem.

Seshanarayana’s several works depict the plight and poverty faced by the masses of rural India.

Hunger, sorrow and despondency seems to be the central problem of many of his works.

In Molle Mallige, a collection of short stories, the author describes the unique world of many animals like elephant, cow, cat, peacock and a mischievous bull.

Tribute to Seshanarayana, Kannada writer

The nature, mental make up, habits and characters of many animals are pictured very well.

Similarly, Padma Rangu is a unique novel wherein Seshanarayana depicts the life of a snake which was born to a human couple and is emotionally attached to its mother.

The negative effects and human miseries due to selfishness, narrow-mindedness, greed, anger, corrupt mind... is what he mostly discusses in almost all his stories and novels. Vibhishana, Ahalye Kallagalilla and Ayodhyeyalli Ramanilla, are his works that look at the epic, Ramayana in a different way.

In the fifty years of his writing period, Seshanarayana has seen different literary movements in Kannada -- the Rennaiasence (Navodaya), Progressive (Pragatishila), Modern (Navya).. and he readily accepted them in a positive way. We will be paying our tributes to him only when his literary works are discussed in seminars or literary meets. Seshanarayana has definitely left his impressions on the minds of the younger generation and that is a good sign.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:05:58 PM |

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