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Losing the Literature

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

 
   Which authors did we really miss this time for the Jnanpith Award from Kannada ? If I were to recommend who deserved it richly, it would be Poornachandra Tejaswi and Gopalakrishna Adiga.
   Digging the Internet depths in those days, Tejaswi brought the best of Science from all over the world and made it look wonderful in Kannada. The curiosity his story rose in each of us was tremendous; we had his book as a textbook. I remember each of my friends enjoying the book. We never found it uninteresting.
Another exceptional poet was Gopalakrishna Adiga, whose nationalist poem we had it in our school days. . His famous Bhaavageethe, “
ಯಾವ ಮೋಹನ ಮುರಳಿ ಕರೆಯಿತು” [Yaava Mohan Murali Kareyithu], strikes the chord in the depths of human heart.

 

ಯಾವ ಮೋಹನ ಮುರಳಿ ಕರೆಯಿತು ದೂರ ತೀರಕೆ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು

ಯಾವ ಬೃಂದಾವನವು ಸೆಳೆಯಿತು ನಿನ್ನ ಮಣ್ಣಿನ ಕಣ್ಣನು || ಯಾವ ||



ಹೂವು ಹಾಸಿಗೆ ಚಂದ್ರ ಚಂದನ ಬಾಹುಬಂಧನ ಚುಂಬನ

ಬಯಕೆ ತೋಟದ ಬೇಲಿಯೊಳಗೆ ಕರಣ ಕಣದಿ ರಿಂಗಣ || ಯಾವ ||



ಸಪ್ತ ಸಾಗರದಾಚೆಯೆಲ್ಲೋ ಸುಪ್ತ ಸಾಗರ ಕಾದಿದೆ

ಒಳೆಯದಲೆಗಳ ಮೂಕ ಮರ್ಮರ ಇಂದು ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೂ ಹಾಯಿತೇ || ಯಾವ ||



ವಿವಶವಾಯಿತು ಪ್ರಾಣ ಪರವಶವು ನಿನ್ನೀ ಚೇತನ

ಇರುವುದೆಲ್ಲವ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇರದುದರೆಡೆಗೆ ತುಡಿವುದೇ ಜೀವನ

ಯಾವ ಮೋಹನ ಮುರಳಿ ಕರೆಯಿತು ಇದ್ದಕ್ಕಿದ್ದೆಡೆ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು

ಯಾವ ಬೃಂದಾವನವು ಚಾಚಿತು ತನ್ನ ಮಿಂಚಿನ ಕೈಯನು || ಯಾವ || [1]    

    This  line of the last paragraph in the poem is truly his best, I believe.
  

ಇರುವುದೆಲ್ಲವ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇರದುದರೆಡೆಗೆ ತುಡಿವುದೇ ಜೀವನ
 [Deserting the present for what we yearn, is Life.]


    In addition, it is truly disappointing that no one’s reading them and the local languages in particular. Instead, the potboilers in English which are sensual, raunchy make the big rounds. Roger Ebert, a famous film critic, had asked in his post, how many  English readers were currently reading Norman Mailer, Scott Fitzgerald etc. except for the specialist researching the field ?
    A recent notification issued by the Rural Development Minister of Karnataka that books be given at Government functions instead of the bouquets, which no ones cares about after the function, is a right step in pushing the sales of the Kannada books, which sadly is in perpetual downturn.
   Steig Larsson’s trilogy, originally written in Swedish, has already made a world record in sales. Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, Guy De Maupassant , Anton Chekhov and the list goes on. In which language did they write? In a vernacular language.
   We have our own list of native writers in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada. The publishers are risk-averse to publish the translation [ except for big authors ]fearing loss of money. The translators are poorly paid which in turn means less exposure to indigenous literature of the land to the English audience.In the mean time, small-time writers having picked up English, write the potboiler – having shoddy plot-line, filled with clichés – and earn in lakhs. It’s true that there are really good writers in English too.Meanwhile, it’s also true that there are equally incompetent writers in English. Not realizing the potential of the literary scholarship of our languages, we bow out.
   DSC Prize for South Asian Literature started recently from 2009, is a sort of remedy, which honors the writers writing in any language about South Asian theme, whose their work(Novel) is available in English.Even then, writers whose works don’t find suitable English editions are left in the lurch. Is DSC a big prize ? May be or may be not. Nevertheless, the exposure a work achieves by being shortlisted can’t be matched by any other.[ We are not even talking about Nobel Prize here.]
   A similar scenario of neglect has already happened. The westerners claiming the patents which were discovered and written thousand years ago, and used in Ayurveda. The Government of India, having realized the gravity of the situation,  has recently taken steps in creating a comprehensive database of medicines discovered long ago in India. What was the cost in claiming late? Important compositions involving the likes of Turmeric etc. are already patented by a Western Company.
   I fear the likelihood of a similar kind of fate befalling on us again. I truly do.

Sources:
 [1] -Complete Lyrics from here

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