Kannada Sahitya Sammelana – Presidents

nissar.jpg73rd All India Kannada Conference is starting in two days. Shivamogga is all dressed up for the event. We all look forward to this once-a-year event with such passion. When you think of “kannaDa sAhitya sammELana”, it’s really “Kannada” which binds us. That’s the sweetest of the words and we love and live for it. Now that we are all looking forward to yet another literary event, it’s the right time to look back and analyze the past conferences. I plan to write a few sentences on this topic everyday, for the next few days. Let me touh upon the Sammelana president’s today. I won’t go into the history and say which Sammelana was presided by which person, I am sure you can google to get that list. I will just share some interesting stories and analyze the selection procedure. 

Selection of the conference president happens way before the sammelana is inaugurated. Inspite of this being quite political, I have to admit that for the most part they have selected the right people all these years. Caste factor plays a big role, but real merit does have it’s place. One of the exceptions I can remember is the 1989/90 Hubballi Sammelana where Hiremath was selected over KS Narasimhaswamy. That selection was purely based on caste and not merit. Entire Kannada writer community boycotted that Sammelana and held a parallel conference in Bangalore with P Lankesh as the president and Gopalakrishna Adiga as the convener. The only big name writer who supported Hiremath was Dr. Siddiah Puranik, The next year, KSN was selected as the president of the sammelana in Mysore. What better place than Mysore for Sri. KS Narasimhaswamy ? 

An interesting note is that Prof. Gopalakrishna Adiga spearheaded the parallel conference in Bangalore, to oppose Hiremath’s selection in Hubballi. But, years earlier, when Adiga was appointed as the president of the Dharmasthala sammelana, the writers gang had boycotted that sammelana. I am not too sure about the reasons, but I think it had everything to do with Adiga’s firebrand innovative style of ‘navya kavya’. That style was too new for the other writers to digest. 

Another selection which made a mockery of the president’s position is choosing Kamala Hampana to chair the Moodabidre sammelana. I have read Kamala Hampana and I have to say that it is very sad to see people like her being selected for such honorary positions. Believe me, and I am not exaggerating, I think I write better poems than her. Where Are Karanth, Bhyrappa, Shivarudrappa, DL Narasimhachar, Kuvempu, Adiga, Bendre, and where is Kamala Hampana ? Really, that was a disgrace. In my honest opinion, that was perhaps one of the worst selections in the history of Kannada Sahitya Sammelana. 

Usually, the practice is to have a procession before the inauguration. The president of the sammelana will take part in that procession. It’s just another way of honoring them. One other interesting information is that Rashtrakavi Dr.GSS did not have a procession in the Davanagere Sammelana. If I remember correctly, that was due to law and order problem than anything else. And in Mysore Sammelana, security did not allow KSN’s wife inside the inauguration hall, after the procession. Of course, they realized the mistake immediately. But, it was still a glaring error on their part. 

We have a very deserving person chairing this year’s sammelana. Prof. Nissar Ahmed is an extremely fluent poet, a scholar and an articulate speaker. Very well deserved honor, we salute you sir. There were other names floating around for the position of the president. The list included Prof. G Venkatasubbiah and LS Seshagiri Rao. Both very deserving and I hope they get their chance soon. 

Prof. Nissar Ahmed is not only famous for his style, but also for the content. In one of his poems, he wonders why every house in the neighborhood has ‘Rangoli’ in the front yard and his house doesn’t have it. His ideas are very rich and some of the thoughts expressed in his poems have very deep meanings. I do not want to touch on the ever popular ‘nityOtsava’. How about the following lines from another poem ? 


gÁwæ ªÀiÁvÀæªÀ¤°è PÀ¼ÉzÀÄ ºÉÆÃUÀÄ  

This is one of my favorite poems. ‘O traveler, the pedestal in my heart is ready for you. Come over for one night, stay, and leave’. Who is the traveler ? Who am I ? It is so brilliantly portrayed. 

Another good poem reads like this : 

ºÉÆwÛ GjzÀ »jAiÀiÁ¸É £ÀA¢vÉÆÃ

ºÀtvÉ »rzÀ ¢Ã£À  

Modern Kannada poetry is all about such writings. Prof. Nissar Ahmed once said that a lot of his muslim friends are great writers in Urdu, but none of them got the recognition which he did. We all need to thank Nissar’s father for making sure that his son took the Kannada path. Else, it would have been such a grave loss for Kannada literature, and we would never have realized it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Kannada, Literature

13 Comments on “Kannada Sahitya Sammelana – Presidents”

  1. rk Says:

    nimma kannadaabhimaana shlaaghneeya. bahala sogasagi barediddera kannada sahitya sameelanada adhyakshara bagge. aneka vicharagalu thilitu ee lekhana odhida mele.

    jai karnataka maathe

    aal kannada, baal kannada

    sirigannadam gelge, sirigannadam baalge.

  2. Shruthi Says:

    December Stud, that was a good, articulate post. I read your other posts too – very well-written.

  3. ‘ಊರು ಇದ್ದ ಕಡೆ ಹೊಲಗೇರಿ ಇರಲೇಬೇಕು …. ‘
    ನಾನು ಒಂದು ಸಮ್ಮೇಳನವನ್ನು ಸಹ ನೋಡಿಲ್ಲ. ಬರಿ ಕೇಳೊದು, ಓದೋದು ಅಷ್ಟೆ!! ಇಷ್ಟು ಹೇಳಿ ನನ್ನ ಎರಡು ಮಾತನ್ನ ಮುಗಿಸುತ್ತೀನಿ… 🙂

  4. prashanth Says:

    sumaaru 4-5 varshadinda sammELannakke hogabEku aMta andukOtaa iddeeni.. innU aagilla… 😦
    namma tamde modalu prati varsha tappade hogta iddru – sumaaru 15-20 kinta heccige sammELanakke hogiddaare – ittechege yaako hogta illa..

    Nissar anta andre nanage takshana gnaapaka barOdu ;nityOtsava’ & ‘kurigaLu saar kurigaLu’. Highschool nalli avara ondu padya ittu kannada text nalli – ‘nanna hAgeyE’ anta- innu gnaapaka ide…

    haven’t read kamala hampana – so no comments…

  5. Shiv Says:

    December Stud,

    It is an excellent idea to write everyday about Sahitya sammelena.This post on presidents was informative.I came to know so many things..very informative..

    Kannada writers & factionalism…looks they go hand in hand !

    No better person than Nissar…

    Kannadada Nityotsavavaagali!

  6. Arun Padaki Says:

    Very well written. Looking forward for the daily piece on the Sammelanaa. Yesterday’s news on e-TV Kannada featured the kitchen arrangements for the event. Tens of thousands of holiges were freshly prepared and neatly arranged. Sorry for digressing, but I had to share this.

  7. Srik Says:

    Kannadammana namanavannu nityotsavavannagisida Nisar avarige tumbu hrudayada shubhashayagaLu.

    When I was telling my mom that Dr. Nisar will preside this time, she was wondering “yeshtane sala”? I said, it wont repeat as others also will have to get a chance, adn this is the first time he is donning the mantle, she was surprised!

    I later said, its all because of politics… donn worry, at least we gave him a chance!

    Politics apart, its so heartening to know more about our Sahitya sammelana from a person who is so much away from Karnataka physically. I appreciate your effort and would demand more such stuffs on our poets and laurettes.

    Hmmm You have mentioned some of the political aspects of it which was not necessary at all. 😦

  8. rk Says:

    as commented by mr.padaki, ootada vyavasthe bahala amoghavaagi sagiruvanthe kaanatthe. for details, read this report in THE HINDU:


  9. ooTa andre RK haajar.. 🙂 .. bhraamhana ‘bahujana’ priya…smelling already what is there in that link..
    Bellur… innondu title nimage, I wouldn’t saya.. AdigebhaTTa but blogbhaTTa… baNabhaTTa tara..

  10. Vittal Says:

    See, I had almost forgotten Hiremath and Kamala Hampana episodes! Very true – Hiremath-thing was a big controversy! Good post.

  11. decemberstud Says:

    @ RK :
    Thank you very much. I strongly believe that two things which bind human beings are ‘language’ and ‘food’. So, it’s quite natural….;)

    @ Shruti :
    Thanks and thanks for visiting the blog !!! Glad you liked the post. I see that bulk of the visitors, at least to my blog, happen to be in India.

    @ Veena :
    You really should attend one Sammelana. it is a lot of fun. And, as you know, the proverb is nowadays more famous as ‘brAHMaNa bhOjana priya’ 🙂

    @ Prashanth :
    You should go and attend one Sammelana. take your father, and take Veena with you too. Apparently when the movie ‘kurigaLu saar kurigaLu’ was amde, the producers approached Nissar to take his permission and give some royalty. He himself told a group of us a few eyars back, and he was laughing about the whole episode. The fact that he did not take the royalty shows his greatness.

    @ Shiv :
    Welcome to my blog. Well, we have politics everywehre. It’s our job to point them out and live with the system. Oh, and try to improve the system 😉

    @ Arun :
    Thank you. I live and die for sweets. Now, i am so mad at you….;)

    @ Srik :
    True. As I said, politics is part and parcel of the game. I guess, to swim across the wave is the right thing to do. What say ?

    @ Vittal :
    Just de-spammed your comment. Looks like Akismet loves your comments. Yeah, Hiremath episode was so big. But, magically Mrs. Hampana escaped the controversy. Probably because no other ’eminent’ writer was ever considered that year.

  12. Yashas Says:

    Haa Haa Haa this is very very bad

  13. Frank Says:

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    for your blog? 100% unique and human readable.
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