Karnataka loses ‘Samanvaya Kavi’ Channaveera Kanavi

A prominent figure in modern Kannada literature, he breathed his last at a private hospital in Dharwad

Updated - February 17, 2022 11:34 am IST

Published - February 16, 2022 10:58 am IST - HUBBALLI

Poet Channaveera Kanavi passed away in Dharwad on February 16, 2022.

Poet Channaveera Kanavi passed away in Dharwad on February 16, 2022. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Channaveera Kanavi, a prominent figure in modern Kannada literature and often referred to as ‘Samanvaya Kavi’ (Poet of Reconciliation), breathed his last at a private hospital in Dharwad on Wednesday. He was 93. He is survived by a daughter and four sons.

The poet, who was admitted to the hospital with respiratory problems on January 14, had recovered from COVID-19. The gritty nonagenarian, however, could not recover from other age-related health complications that forced him to be on a ventilator.

The mortal remains were kept on Karnatak College campus in Dharwad where a large number of people and leaders paid tributes. The funeral took place at the family’s farmhouse near Kelageri with full state honours in the evening.

Born on June 18, 1928 at Hombal village in Gadag district (erstwhile undivided Dharwad district) to Sakkreppa ‘Master’, a teacher, and Parvathamma, Mr. Kanavi bloomed into a poet at Karnatak College under the guidance of then principal V.K. Gokak, a Jnanpith Award winner. He joined the publication wing of Karnatak University as secretary. He served the university for 31 years and retired as director of the publication wing in 1983.

Poet Channaveera Kanavi being brought in a palanquin during Alvas Nudisiri literary meet at Moodbidri near Mangaluru.

Poet Channaveera Kanavi being brought in a palanquin during Alvas Nudisiri literary meet at Moodbidri near Mangaluru. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Mr. Kanavi’s poetic journey began with the publication of ‘Kavyakshi’ in 1949. Subsequently, he added 25 more collections of poems. Although recognised more as a poet, Mr. Kanavi is also credited with 28 books in other genres.

Known for his simplicity and unassuming nature, Mr. Kanavi was bestowed with several prestigious awards at the State and national level, including the Sahitya Akademi award, Karnataka Sahitya Academy award, Karnataka Rajyotsava award, and Pampa award. He also served as a member of several literary bodies.

An introduction on the poet brought out by the Sahitya Akademi states: “His poems sing the joys and sorrows, loves and hates, good and evil, which are the stuff of normal human fate. The poems indicate Kanavi’s great craftsmanship, linguistic mastery and imaginative insight. Kanavi’s poetry is a unique blend of romantic imagination and classical discipline. He is a poet who has lived intensely and passionately recording with rare poetic skill of his life, including mundane events. His sonnets articulate the philosophy of life that accepts life but also questions it critically.”

Writer Siddalinga Pattanashetti said, “After Da.Ra. Bendre, Mr. Kanavi became a representative of the culture and ethos of Dharwad to the State. We don’t have any other writer who has produced such works on diverse themes. He has written children’s poems, romantic poems, nature poems, and critical essays.” According to him, Mr. Kanavi’s unassuming personality is reflected in the tone of his writings.

According to writer and his companion G.M. Hegde, Mr. Kanavi never courted controversy, but that did not mean he stayed away from airing his voice when the situation demanded. He was jailed during the Gokak movement and wrote ‘Hesarayitu Karnataka, Usiragali Kannada’ which reverberated throughout the movement.

But along with his poetry, it is his humility that endeared him to many. “Kanavi Ajja”, as he was fondly known by youngsters and his juniors, always took time to guide others. “He always encouraged young writers like me and it is difficult to find such a mentor among seniors nowadays,” said writer and dramatist D.S. Chougale from Belagavi.

(With inputs from Rishikesh Bahadur Desai)

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