obituary | Karnataka

Chennanna Walikar, a ‘rebel’ voice of Kalyana Karnataka

Chennanna Walikar  

Chennanna Walikar (77), who passed away late on Sunday, was a prominent voice of the Bandaya (rebel) literary movement in Kalyana Karnataka region.

Known for his deep sympathies for the deprived communities, Mr. Walikar was associated with various socio-cultural actions directed against caste and class exploitation. Though he had multiple identities as teacher, scholar, writer and activist, he is known as a prominent figure in Bandaya tradition of Kannada literature.

He gave voice to the sorrows and sufferings of marginalised communities in his works in different literary forms - poetry, novel, short stories, plays, research essays, literary criticism.

Born on April 6, 1943, at Shankarawadi village in Chittapur taluk, Kalaburagi district, Mr. Walikar completed his primary schooling in Shankarawadi, middle schooling in Nalwar and high school education in Shahabad. He then joined Sharanabasaveshwara Arts College in Kalaburagi for a degree in Kannada and later completed his postgraduation and PhD from Karnataka University, Dharwad.

He served as high school teacher, college lecturer and reader at Gulbarga University. He had also served as library committee member at Mumbai, Hyderabad, Hampi, Karnataka and Mysuru universities.

Mr. Walikar gained prominence and emerged as a leading Bandaya writer in the course of the organisation of 51st Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana organised at Dharmasthala in 1979. The movement of oppressed communities, particularly the Dalits, for self-respect and legitimate rights was at its peak giving birth to a new set of writers from these communities.

It was at this juncture that Mr. Walikar wrote a letter to Hampa Nagarajaiah (Hampana), the then president of Karnataka Sahitya Parishat, the organiser of Sahitya Sammelana, to include a special session on Dalit literature in the literary fest. Mr. Nagarajaiah turned down the demand stating that there was no such category in Kannada literature.

As the voice of protest grew louder with many writers such as Jambanna Amarachintha, Devanoor Mahadeva, Siddalingaiah, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Chandrashekhar Patil (Champa) and Kalegouda Nagawar joining in, Mr. Nagarajaiah consented. The Sammelana was presided over by Gopalakrishna Adiga, a renowned Kannada poet.

However, the discontentment remained and many progressive and Dalit writers decided to boycott the Kannada Sahitya Parishat and Kannada Sahitya Sammelana and form their own literary organisation – Bandaya Sahitya Sanghatane – -and organise their own literary fest: Bandaya Sahitya Sammelana.

The day the Kannada Sahitya Parishat organised the 51st Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in Dharmasthala, the Bandaya writers organised the first Bandaya Sahitya Sammelana at Devanga Chatra in Bengaluru with a slogan, Khadgavagali Kavya: Janara Novige Midiyuva Prana Mitra (Let poetry become a sword – an intimate friend to respond to people’s pains).

Many leading progressive, Dalit and revolutionary writers from neighbouring Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, participated in the Bandaya Sahitya Sammelana. Renowned revolutionary Telugu poet Shree Shree from Andhra Pradesh was one among them.

It was Mr. Walikar who, along with Jambanna Amarachinta, Basavaraj Sabarad, Bolubandeppa, Channabasappa Bettadur, Allamaprabhu Bettadur, Veeranagouda Neermanvi, Rajashekhar Neermanvi, Chandrakanth Kusanur and others, led the Bandaya literary movement in Hyderabad Karnataka region.

Champa recalled, “It was because of our revolt that Basavaraj Kattimani, a progressive writer, was made the President for next [52nd] Sahitya Sammelana held in Belagavi. After ten years, the same Kannada Sahitya Parishat held a decennial celebration of the Bandaya literary movement. Then on, we again returned to Kannada Sahitya Parishat and started participating in its activities including the Kannada Sahitya Sammelana.

“We were thinking to make Chennanna Walikar the President of 85th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana scheduled to be held in Kalaburagi in the first week of February next year.”

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 9:06:58 PM |

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