The Kannada Context: Post-modernist. Post-9/11. Concerns.

Firstly, let us remember the victims of 9/11. Let us wish that the world leaders gather enough sense and courage to fight the root cause of terrorism, and not just resort to paranoiac ways like “racial profiling”. Like they say do not attribute malice to that which can be sufficiently explained by stupidity. We are living in interestingly stupid times. Stupidity is addictive. So is paranoia. We should fight both.

Unsurprisingly, there are posts on 9/11. Satish Kumar writes about his experiences on that fateful morning. It was a picture perfect day and he was working in his office 5 miles away from the Pentagon. Well, and then, a lot has happened in the world. In America. In Afghanistan. In Iraq. Everywhere.

On a side note, it is interesting that hardly anybody talks about the other historically important thing that happened on 9/11, exactly a hundred years ago: The birth of Satyagraha.

Jeevishivu offers a lot of losely knit, yet very insightful, views on his reading of a short story anthology by the young Kannada writer Vivek Shanbhag. The anthology is called “mattobbana samsaara” (literally, Another Man's Family). He is specially concerned with the questions that one of the stories – “saravana services” – raises in him. He says the story explores the bigger relationship of an “India” with a “modern world”, by engaging the reader to seemingly ordinary contemporary incidents and interpersonal relationships. Although this is not novel in the Kannada (or any other) short story tradition, the story is outstanding due to its completeness in depicting the writer's intent. Since I have also read the anthology a couple of months ago, I can say Shivu is making a lot of sense.

An important “young” Kannada poet turns er.. old. Well, his age. B R Lakshmanarao turned 60. It does seem quite a wonder to Sriram, like it seems to many others. He is known as a romantic poet, a naughty poet, a popular poet, an evergreen poet, a “cassette” poet – a lot of his poems are fairly popular songs, and it is said he mainly writes to quickly convert his poetry to cassettes. An important poet nonetheless.

Sudarshan has an interaction with the renowned Kannada short story writer Raghavendra Patil in Patil's house in Malladihalli, a small village in Chitradurga district, central Karnataka. He, along with Chandrashekhar Talya, a well known poet, talks about many a thing. For example, “why did Allama come to Sharana Movement?”. Patil says this:

“The Indian cultural history has an ongoing process of a dialectic that constrains any argument, say material vs metaphysical, from reigning on extremes. Therefore, in order to bring in a philosophical radiance to the Sharana movement, which under the leadership of Basavanna, could have turned merely a social struggle, Allama had to join the movement.” (translated)

Allama and Basavanna are two of the important vachanakaras who lived in the 16th centure CE. A vachana (or vacana) is a lyric that imbibed timeless philosophical/social concerns and expressed them in layman terms. Vachanakaras helped in unleashing and disseminating knowledge, which was until then mainly confined to Sanskrit or “non-layman” Kannada. Allama was perhaps the most important of them. A brief bio of Allama and a few of his translated vachanas. I wish Allama is extensively translated and read.

They also talk about the unhappy situation of the drift between the fields of literature (arts, for that matter) and technology. Also about post modernist concerns in Patil's works and the new Kannada poetry. Patil won the Central Sahitya Academy award for his novel Teru (literally, The Holy Chariot). Incidentally, he is my uncle and Malladihalli is one of my homes. So there.

Dr. K. Ayyappa Panicker died recently, on 23rd August 2006. He was a Malayalam poet, critic, and a scholar of great repute. Dr. U R Ananthamurthy writes a memoir to Ayyappa Panicker with who he shared a very special friendship. His article gives not just a his personal view of his relationship with Dr. Panicker, but also the flow of creativity and thoughts across Bhasha writers (regional language writers). The likes of O V Vijayan, Panicker, Govindan, Gopalakrishna Adiga, Ananthamurthy belonged to the “creative monority” non-community.

Noteworhty is another English post with a provocative title, India of the Rich & Bharat of the Poor. An excerpt below. A lot of scope for debate here.

These days in expensive private schools the children of the rich don't have an opportunity to expand their experience by coming to know of the rich life and culture of the poor of this country. This will create two countries, the India of the rich and the Bharath of the Poor. I want common schools empowered again so that all the children of this country have an opportunity to share their joy of learning together and also learning from one another in a mixed school. They should learn in the medium of the language of the region and also learn to speak English for it brings about a sense of equality among the children of the rich and the poor.

OLN talks about the language police who want to keep the “sanctity” of a language. He uses the word ‘maDi’ in Kannada which has connotations of sanctity, and which also means ‘to die’. So, he says if you insist on a ‘maDi bhaShe’ (sanctified language), you are only saying ‘maDi bhaShe’ (die, language!). A good sensible article in the face of ignorant language “protectors”.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Bangalore. What a fascinating title! Sriram does a detailed review of Janaki Nair's book on Bangalore. He calls it a “wonderful treatise”. The post is in English. An excerpt.

While the book focusses most on the twentieth century as a time period for looking at Bangalore, it is difficult to wriggle away from either the past or the present continuum. Being one of the the fastest growing cities, a city that had intentions of having a planned growth and also being cosmopolitan for ages, the issues that a city like Bangalore throws up are interesting and diverse. Janaki Nair starts off by looking at two parts of the city – Bengaluru and Bangalore – the older part where the so called “natives” stayed and the cantonment area which was a world of its own. Unlike Hyderabad, Delhi and Ahmedabad, Bangalore does not have an “old city” which is in the walled area and a new city that is more modern. It is just that these two areas grew simultaneously.

I think our Kannada dailies and media (other language media also) should regularly visit blogs like nUreMtu suLLu. Among other things, the blog demythifies some things that media claims and gives out incisive comments about Kannada newspapers. A “meta-media” of sorts. As they insist in their subtitle: You may not be a “Dhrutharashtra”, but we want to be the Sanjaya for you! The posts are in English with a judicious mix of Kannada.

On a related note, the Times group has bought the VRL group of newspapers/magazines. What a pity! Pavanaja writes that it in not new that an organisation runs both English and regional language dailies. All these organisations have a seperate editor, reporters and staff for the different language papers. But the way times is going to do this is totally new and hopeless. The Kannada news paper is going to be called “Times of India-Karnataka”, and 80% of the news is *translation* of Bangalore Times “news” articles! No reporters needed. Also, the translator's job is easy. What is there to translate in Times of India? Pictures? We surely live in interesting Times.. er times.

Harishchandra Shetty has a set of funny cartoons. Very contemporary. Like many people, Harsha finds out that Chikungunya has got nothing to do with Chicken. And he finds that out in the US. Heh. Funny post. Here are some smileys that you could use in IM. Well, Kannada smileys. :) Er.. or should I smile in Kannada?

Shyam Kishore remembers his father through a sentimental poem and asks his father to come back, as his child. Adige Mane (cooking room or kitchen) gives you eclectic recipes. Recipes are in English. Benaka writes a series of posts on his Japan tour.

Shiv Shankar writes about Ganapa (Ganesh, Vinayaka et al.) and his “phase transitions” – a traditions confined to homes, public celebrations, calenders-cassettes-“collections”, “shows” using latest technology, well, and so on. But still Ganapa is timeless. Triveni is intrigued by the notion of “drushti taaguvudu” or “nazar lag jaana”, as it is called in Hindi/Urdu, for cute kids. And wonders about the fate of so many cute kids that come under the scrutiny of so many eyes in our shopping malls. I rather wonder about the fate of the er.. cute girls that are ogled at by so many incisive eyes at these malls. ;)

vnag writes a post on his denture. I recall Ogden Nash's famous lines: Some tortures are physical others mental; One that is both is dental. Although the post is amusing to the readers, vnag is not at all amused with the long painful process it takes just to cleanse one's denture despite having made much progress in the medical field.

That's about it for now. Till the next time, good bye!


  • […] Ever wondered what blogospheres in other languages are chattering about? Similar issues? Different takes? What sort of perspectives? Sanket brings us a great roundup of the Kannada Blogworld on Post Modernist and Post 9/11 concerns. […]

  • Sanket,

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog ( I really appreciate it. One small correction – while I use the collective term “We” and “us” in my blog, it is the effort of a single individual.

    While it would be great if Kannada dailies (and others too) take a look at blogs like mine, I do not believe the Indian main stream media really cares about blogs. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we should stop having a bit of fun pointing a finger or two at the main stream media.

    Sorry for this shameless plug: I do have another blog ( wherein I try to tweeze a laugh or two out of the general news. Please take a look.

    Thanks again,

    Seshadri (“Sanjaya”)

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