Kannada World, Indian Cosmos

A comprehensive presentation of modern Kannada literature in translation

01 May 2011
Sirigannada:Contemporary Kannada Writings Edited by Vivek Shanbhag TRANQUEBAR, 293 PAGES, Rs 295
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Sirigannada:Contemporary Kannada Writings Edited by Vivek Shanbhag TRANQUEBAR, 293 PAGES, Rs 295
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SIRIGANNADA PRESENTS THE READER, especially the non-Kannada reader, with a wide range of Kannada writing that reflects the concerns, preoccupations and anxieties of writers and critics regarding contemporary Kannada culture. The anthology features short stories, extracts from plays and novels, a couple of poems, an autobiographical narrative and a few essays. What is of great interest is that the pieces in the volume represent the diverse traditions within Kannada culture and literature and, very importantly, also bring the reader face to face with the changes India has been undergoing during the past two decades, widely recognised as the phase of globalisation. In this sense, the anthology—through translation—captures the Kannada world as representative of the Indian cosmos.

The Kannada literary tradition moved into a modernist phase—called Navya in Kannada—more than 50 years ago. The Navya phase generated tremendous intellectual energy by closely interrogating long-held notions of tradition, culture, community life and individual choices. The enormous positive scepticism of the Navya writers continues to be one of the most outstanding features of Kannada literary and cultural traditions and—even after several decades—marks contemporary Kannada consciousness.

There followed a phase during which the specificity of the Dalit experience journeyed into a larger ideological terrain (inspired by Marxist ideas) that dealt with the oppression of all lower castes and marginalised sections of society. This phase is recognised as the Bandaya phase—meaning 'protest'. Bandaya literature is protest literature.

N Manu Chakravarthy teaches English at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has written books in English and Kannada on cinema, music and cultural theory.

Keywords: Kannada Navya Dalit KP Poornachandra Tejaswi Vaidehi anthology
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