rAShTrakavi Dr. G.S.Shivarudrappa
Dr. G.S.Shivarudrappa is all set to become the next ‘rAShTrakavi’ – National Poet. Karnataka government is ready to make this announcement in the next few days. Both the previous national poets in Kannada -M.Govinda Pai and Kuvempu – are not alive today. Infact that is the whole reason why we are conferring this title now. Apparently, there can be only one ‘rAShTrakavi’ at a time.
This nomination was not without controversies. From what I heard, Dr. GSS, Prof. K.S.Nissar Ahmed, Sri. Chennavira Kanavi and Sri. Chandrashekhar Kambara were being considered. I was not surprised, but shocked, to see Sri. Kambara’s name in that list. I cannot think of anything other than caste politics for the inclusion of his name. I admire and respect Sri. Kanavi a lot. He is a good poet. But no sir, he is nowhere close to be named a ‘rAShTrakavi’.
That leaves us with Dr. GSS and Prof. KSN. One thing to note is that Prof. KSN was part of the selection committee!!! I won’t be surprised if some smart Alec in the government did this on purpose – to completely eliminate Prof. KSN from the race. I have seen such ‘smart’ and ‘shady’ moves by the government several times in the past. The fact that Prof. KSN did not attend the final selection meeting, is a different issue. He also came out and said that the only deserving person to be named as ‘rAShTrakavi’ is late Dr. Da.Ra.Bendre.
Well, who can argue with that? Bendre is perhaps one of the greatest poets in Kannada (and in my book, he is THE greatest poet in Kannada). But then, shouldn’t ‘rAShTrakavi’ be alive? That was the whole point. And, I personally don’t agree awarding anything posthumously. I whole heartedly appreciate Prof. KSN’s arguments, but don’t agree with him.
Prof. KSN is an excellent poet. He is your typical ‘navOdaya kavi’. So is Dr. GSS. But, I think Dr. GSS is a little more. He is not only a great poet, but quite a well respected critique too. His prose and poetry are one of the best in Kannada literature. Dr. GSS truly deserves to be the next ‘rAShTrakavi’.
He has mentioned several times that two of his favorite poems are ‘uDugaNavEShTita’ and ‘ede tuMbi hADidenu’ – the former was his very first song broadcast from AIR, music by Padmacharan and sung by H.R.Leelavathi. The latter was composed and sung by Mysore Ananthaswamy. I don’t know if he likes these two songs just because they are famous, or if he truly likes these two compositions more than the rest.
In several speeches Dr. GSS has talked about how he listened to his first poem broadcast from Akashavani. His first book ‘tIrthavANi’ was published. He was travelling in a bus (I don’t know the departure and arrival cities). Apparently the bus driver stopped for a coffee break in Tarikere. When Dr. GSS was sipping coffee in a small road side cafe which had radio at a high volume, he heard the melodious ‘udugaNavEShTita’. At the end of the song the radio announcer mentioned that the music director was Padmacharan, singer was H.R.Leelavathi and the poet was Dr. G.S.Shivarudrappa. He was a happy man!!!
He is a happy man even today. Indeed, entire state should be happy for him – our new ‘rAShTrakavi’. We salute you sir!!!