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A multifaceted enthraller - Dr. Chandrashekar B. Kambara

Dr. Chandrashekar B. Kambar (Poet & Playwright)
20th September 2011, another memorable day in the history of Kannada Literature. The selection committee announced the Jnanpith Award for the year 2010 to Dr. Chandrashekar B. Kambar, a poet, writer and playwright for life contribution to Kannada Literature.

Jnanpith award is given for the best creative literary writing by any Indian citizen in any of the Indian languages listed in the Eight Schedule of the Indian Constitution.The award symbolizes the comprehensive vision of Indian Literature and National Integration.

Conceptualized by Late Smt. Rama Jain, then President of the Bharathiya Jnanpith in 1961.Since 1965, 49 eminent Indian Literary personalities have received the prestigious award.It is the eight time that Kannada Literature has been honored with the selection of Dr. Chandrashekar B.Kambar for the Jnanpith award for the year 2010.

Born on January 2nd, 1937 in Ghodageri village in Belagavi district, Dr. Kambar’s journey in arts started from home and he went on to hold a Phd in the subject ‘Uttara Karnatakada Janapada Ranga Bhumi’ ( ‘The Folk Theatre of North Karnataka’). He also is a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Kambar’s professional life also saw him holding many distinguished positions, notably -
  • President of the Karnataka Nataka academy from 1980 - 1983
  • Founder Vice - Chancellor of the Kannada University in Hampi in 1991-1998
  • Chairman of the National School of Drama Society from 1996-2000
  • Nominated Member of the Karnataka Legislative Council from 2003-2010

Dwight MacDonald, an American Journalist and Critic in his 1953 essay "A Theory of Mass Culture" says "Folk art grew from below. It was a spontaneous autochthonous expression of the people, shaped by themselves, pretty much without the benefit of High culture, to suit their own needs." This was the type of folk art exposure, that nourished and shaped the mind and thinking of Dr. Kambar in his childhood. The same genre is very obviously seen in all his works.

For the 74 year old Dr. Kambar, his roots matter a great deal. His Mother sang Tripadi, a metre in the Kannada language dating back to 700 AD.(Tripadi contains 3 lines each differing from the others in the number of feet and moras - or Sanskrit matras - but in accordance with the rules laid out by Nagavarma II, Kannada Grammarian of 11th century). Dr. Kambar’s aunt had a poem for all occasions ! His childhood was filled savoring and imbibing these art. This is one reason why western thoughts have not influenced the writer’s thinking and works.

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia.org

Dr. Kambar is a pioneer in adopting a unique style of blending folk, mythology with modern outlook. The chosen expression medium for all his poems, stories, novels and plays is Dr. Kambar’s native Ghodgeri language, a dialect of Kannada language. In the area of Indian Theatre, he is credited with being a pioneer in blending folk and modern theatrical forms which has been widely appreciated by the audience.

Popularly known as ‘Shivapura Kambar Masther’ in his native district (Shivapura is an imaginary utopian village of Dr. Kambar’s poems and tales), the literary journey has seen many master pieces where some of plays have been made into feature films. Some of the masterpieces are -
  • Plays - Jokumaraswamy, Kaadu Kudure, Harakeya Kuri, Siri Sampige, Tirukana Kanasu, Sivaratri
  • Poems and poem collections - Helatena Kela, Chokari
  • Novels and Stories - Karimaayi, G.K. Maastarara Pranaya Prasanga, Singarevva
  • Mattu Aramane, Shikara Soorya.
  • Research and Critical perceptions - Sangya Balya, Bayalaatagalu, Kannada Folkore Dictionary, An Anthology of Modern Indian Plays for the National School of Drama, Idu Desi

These creations have been very well received by both the audience and the critics. The accolades Dr. Kambar has received shows the extent of appeal his work has been generating.
  • Jnanpith Award for the year 2010 for lifetime contribution
  • Nadoja Award by Kannada University, Hampi in 2004
  • Pampa Award in 2003 for lifetime contribution
  • Kabir Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 2002
  • Sahitya academy Award in 1991
  • Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1983
  • National Film award for the title song - Kaadu Kudure in 1978
  • Kamaladevi Chatopadhyaya Award in 1975
  • State Academy of Literature Award for Singarevva Mattu Aramane
The list goes on...

Dr. Chandrashekar B. Kambar is a versatile artist whose creative greatness can be defined as George Edward Moore, English Philosopher says, "A Great Artist is always before his time or behind it." This essence can be tasted in Dr. Kambar’s creative masterpieces!


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1 comment:

Radhika said...

Smitha, very well written. Loved your thoughtful compilation of Kambara's work, articles on him, his interviews, all in one place. Savitha being scientist who studies genes rightly said, writing runs in the blood for Smitha!  

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