Kuvempu: The greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century
New Delhi, Aug 08: Popularly known by pseudonym 'Kuvempu', Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa was the first among the Kannada writers to be awarded with the prestigious Jnanpith Award for his work 'Sri Ramayana Darshanam'.
Born on 29 December 1904, Kuvempu also served as Vice Chancellor of Mysore University.
Kuvempu started his literary work in English and later switched to his native Kannada and wrote popular novels like 'Kaanuru Heggadati' and 'Malegalalli Madumagalu'.
Kuvempu studied at Mysuru University in the 1920s, taught there for nearly three decades and served as its vice-chancellor from 1956 to 1960. He initiated education in Kannada as the language medium.
Known as 'Rashtrakavi' (national poet) and for penning the state anthem 'Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate', he wrote several plays, literary criticisms, essays, collection of stories and poems.
Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Karnataka Ratna and Sahitya Akademi award have been bestowed on Kuvempu who professed 'Vishwa Manava Sandesha' (Message of Universal Man).
For his contributions to Kannada Literature, the Government of Karnataka decorated him with the honorific Rashtrakavi ("National Poet") in 1964 and Karnataka Ratna ("The Gem of Karnataka") in 1992. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 1988. He penned the Karnataka State Anthem Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate.
Some of his most famous works are given below.
Kolalu, a collection of poems - 1929
Kaanuru Heggadati, a novel - 1936
Shoodra Tapaswi, a play - 1944
Sri Ramayana Darshanam (in two volumes) - 1949 and 1957
Apart from the aforementioned works, he wrote a movie, 'Kanooru Subbamma Heggaditi,' which was directed by Girish Karnad.
He died on 11 November 1994.
The childhood home of Kuvempu at Kuppali has been converted into a museum by Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishtana (a trust dedicated to Kuvempu). This trust has undertaken immense developmental works in Kuppali to showcase Kuvempu and his works to the external world.