Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti

While reflecting on the history of Kannada revival, one thing that I am most certainly reminded of, is the publication of Udupi’s ŚrīkṛṣṇasūktiŚrīkṛṣṇasūkti was a monthly journal; Kerodi Subba Rao and Rajagopalakrishna Rao were its editors. Though I am not acquainted with Kerodi Subbarao, I have seen him from a distance. I have met a few of his friends and have spoken to them.  It seems that Subba Rao is a student of Bangalore's Central College. For a brief period he lived in Madras too. I still remember browsing through a book of romantic songs he had written during his youth; however, I’ve never heard anyone singing those songs. I have heard that Kerodi Subba Rao is a rasika[1] , a friendly human being, and a language enthusiast. I have even heard that he is sāttvika[2] and generous.

Rajagopalakrishna Rao was younger than Subba Rao. I had the opportunity to meet him a few times. He was known to be brutally honest and not one to suffer fools. He was a peaceful man. The one who drove Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti, I have heard, was Rajagopalakrishna Rao.

Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti was published during 1906-07. Had it been published today, it would have still remained highly respected. If there ever was a Kannada daily that was printed on beautiful smooth paper with the choicest of elegant typefaces, it was Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti. If there is another monthly journal that is as beautiful in appearance and touch in today’s date, then clearly I am not aware of it.

Even the subjects were such. The editorials that were published in it possessed a masculine voice.[3] Although the style of language was of a high quality, it pleasured the readers’ minds without ever becoming pedantic. Some of the essays that appeared in the journal still remain fresh in my memory; one such being a detailed article by Masti Venkatesha Iyengar that contained a critical appreciation of the novels by Thirumalamma of Nanjangud, editor of the Satī Hitaiṣiṇī Book Series. In that essay, Masti Venkatesha Iyengar had elucidated the literary nuances of that genre. Vidwan A. Keshavaiah of Gudibande in his article series Matamañjarī had collected information known in bits and pieces about various communities of the region and had summarized the same in a couple of pages. I was particularly impressed by that series. Keshavaiah was a gentleman. If I remember right, Matamañjarī was Keshavaiah’s Kannada translation of a book written in Telugu or some other language. Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti also published a lot of poems and essays. Keshavaiah had translated a Sanskrit play titled Bhartṛharinirvedam into Kannada.

All in all, we may declare that Śrīkṛṣṇasūkti had become an emblem of linguistic pride in the Dakshina Kannada region. It was a journal that was loved by the whole of Karnataka and was a reason for the success of Kannada. Our Kannada people lacked the spirit to save it [from extinction]; this is a tragedy that hasn't yet faded away from my mind.

This is an English translation of the fifth chapter of D V Gundappa’s Jnapakachitrashaale – Vol. 3 – Sahityopasakaru. Edited by Hari Ravikumar.

 

Footnotes

[1] A person of fine taste, a connoisseur.

[2] Endowed with the nature of sattva; good-hearted.

[3] By ‘masculine voice’ the author is not being sexist but is merely suggesting that the journal had an authoritative, fearless, and honest voice.

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Karthik Muralidharan is an entrepreneur, educator, and a motivational speaker. An MBA in Human Resource Management, Karthik currently runs businesses in Leadership Education, Training, and Wealth Management. He is deeply interested in prosody, philosophy, and literature.

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