Google, on Friday, paid tribute to the Kannada Poet and Padma Vibhushan awardee Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa with a doodle on the occasion of his 113th birthday. Born on December 29, 1904, in Karnataka to a Vokkaliga Kannada family Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa was popularly known by the nickname Kuvempu and he is said to be one of the greatest Kannada Poet of the 20th century.
Kuvempu began his academic career as a lecturer of Kannada language at the Maharajas College in Mysore in 1929 and retired as Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University in 1960. He started his literary work in English, with a collection of poetry called Beginner’s Muse but later switched to his native Kannada.
He was of the view that best education can be delivered in once mother tongue. In Karnataka, he spearheaded the movement to make Kannada the medium for education. During his tenure, he founded the Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe (Institute of Kannada Studies) in the Mysore University, which has since been renamed after him as ‘Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies’.
A prolific writer and poet Kuvempu published 25 collections of poetry, two novels, in addition to biographies, literary criticism, story collections, essays and about 10 plays. His epics — Sri Ramayana Darshanam (in two volumes) and Chitrangada — and his autobiography (Nenapina Doniyali; published in 1980) remain among his noted works. He won the Jnanpith Award for Sri Ramayana Darshanam (in 1968, for the year 1967) — the first Kannada writer to receive the honour.
He was also only the second Kannada poet to be named ‘rashtrakavi’ in 1958. Apart from these, he was conferred several other honours, including the Padma Vibhushan (1988), Padma Bhushan (1958) and Karnataka Ratna (1992). This year marks not just the 50th anniversary of Kannada receiving its first Jnanpith for Sri Ramayana Darshanam of Kuvempu, but also the golden jubilee of the his novel Malegalalli Madumagalu.
To mark the occasion, Bengaluru Centre of the National School of Drama (NSD) and the Department of Kannada and Culture are jointly presenting the fourth edition of the theatre adaptation of the 750-page magnum opus of Kuvempu, which is the depiction of conflicts between tradition and modernity, and individual and society. The nine-hour-long play will be staged from December 29 to January 31 for four days in a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The play commences at 8 p.m. and ends by 6 a.m. the next day.
Kuvempu died at the age of 89 on November 11, 1994 in Mysore. Government of India is releasing a commemorative stamp today at Kuppali, the birth place of the Kuvempu. Government of Karnataka is also organising different programmes across the state to celebrate his 113th birthday.