Golden jubilee of Kannada’s first Jnanpith

Kuvempu receiving the Jnanpith Award.   | Photo Credit: VAIDYA

It has been 50 years since Kannada got its first Jnanpith award. Though it was conferred on Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa (Kuvempu) for his magnum opus Sri Ramayana Darshanam on December 20, 1968, it was for the year 1967.

He shared the award with Umashankar Joshi, a Gujarati littérateur.

Now, to mark the landmark event, Rashtriya Kuvempu Pratishthana (RKP) has organised a two-day symposium in Kuppali, the birth place of the poet, on December 29 and 30. Writers and critics from across the State will on these two days share their views on Sri Ramayana Darshanam and the other works of Kuvempu.

Kadidal Prakash, RKP secretary, said that the the annual flower show held at Lalbagh this year during Independence Day was themed on Kuvempu Malenadu to commemorate the golden jubilee of Jnanpith for Kannada and Kuvempu. Pusphageethe, a collection of poems authored by Kuvempu on flowers and plants of Malnad, was also released during the flower show.

Kuvempu is the first among the eight recipients of Jnanapith for Kannada and he is the second among the Kannada poets to be revered as “Rashtrakavi.” His poem, Jayabharata Jananiya Tanujate, is the State anthem and his Uluva Yogi farmers’ anthem.

He was the eleventh vice-chancellor of University of Mysore and a university near Shivamogga has been named after him.

His birth place Kuppali near Tirthahalli has become a literary pilgrim centre for many, which is now a museum.

Kuvempu, who contributed to various genres of literature, including, poetry, novel, short stories, plays, literary criticisms, autobiography, translation, and essays has over 70 important works to his credit.

“It would be no exaggeration to say that Sri Ramayana Darshanam is the centre of Kuvempu's literary output,” says writer and president of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishthana, Hampa Nagarajaiah. “It is Ramayana epic in modern Kannada in an attempt to make it accessible to the present day,” he added.

Writer Shankar Mokashi Punekar has translated Sri Ramayana Darshanam into English with introduction by literary critic G.S. Amur. RKP has co-produced an 81-volume audio book containing recitations of and commentaries on the work.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 10:45:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/golden-jubilee-of-kannadas-first-jnanpith/article22102942.ece

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