ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)

- Life and Times- His Studies at Mysore -
Introduction

Kuvempu- His Birth, Childhood and Life

His Initiation into Learning- School Days

A Poem That Became His Childhood Guru

His Studies at Mysore

His First English Poem

Kannada at the Time of Colonial Rule

His Meeting the Irish Poet James H Cousins

His Writing poetry in Kannada

His Trip to Calcutta

His Marital Life

His Teaching and Writing

KaviShaila, Poets home after 1994
 

Puttappa's studies continued at the Wesleyan High School. The English literature he read from the textbooks as a part of the school curriculum greatly attracted him. The book 'Studies in Literature', edited by Pritchard was the first work that influenced him enormously. This collection of selected parts of great poetry of great poets unveiled a new horizon of English literature before him. It introduced him to the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Carlyle, Gibbon, Daniel Depot, and Ruskin. Puttappa stepped into the Mysore Public Library in search of wealth of English literature.

He explains thus, what he found there:
"Some were standing near the racks right in front of me reading news papers. Some were sitting in chairs around a big table reading monthly magazines. I passed past them and entered in. I was amazed. There were plenty of books neatly arranged in the cupboards that had glass doors. Those books with calico covers of different hues adorned the cupboards. They were seductively attractive. Their titles were glowing in golden colour. The English letters stood flashing like soldiers in drill. Tennyson's poetry, Shakespeare's dramas, Milton's Paradise Lost so on and so forth. From bottom to the top, wherever you see, there were books, books and books! I looked at them repeatedly and the thirst remained unquenched. It was as if Mother Saraswathy, the splendidly affluent, has just pushed the loose end of her sari and stood there holding her golden-cupola like-ambrosia filled-breasts out to her beloved poet son, calling him with love 'come on son, suck the milk.'"

At one end, Puttappa's life at the high school had relinquished to the richness of the English literature while the strong current of freedom movement had begun to draw him towards it. A keen study of his writings reveals the influence of these forces on his works.

The high school days earned him good friends. It was an ideal atmosphere for literary activities. The Lotus Leaf Union started with Bhoopalam Chandrashekaraiah and other friends laid a firm foundation for literary discussions and readings. Puttappa even served as secretary of this union that was more like an academic association. During this time, Puttappa came into contact with many literature lovers and their intimacy developed. Na. Kasthuri was one among them. While he was the secretary of the union, Puttappa became a bit familiar with Swami Siddeswarananda of Mysore Ramakrishna Mutt who was keenly observing Puttappa's aptitude. He accommodated Puttappa at the hostel of Ramakrishna Mutt. It offered a solution for the problems of food and accommodation he was then facing.

Thus, the Ramakrishna Mutt became shelter to Puttappa for over the next twelve years. Until he completed the high school and the college education, became a teacher, and built a house for him, Puttappa stayed at the Ramakrishna Mutt nursed by the love and affection of Swami Siddeswarananda. By then his works 'Beginner's Muse, Kindari JOgi, Amalana Kathe, HaaLuru and many others had been published. Between 1920 and 1927, Puttappa studied at the Wesleyan Mission High School and the Maharaja College. In those days, the family problems tormented him. His mother died in 1924. Within a few years, his two sisters who had been married by then, died at a young age. Those were the days Puttappa had a greatly disturbed mind. In such a frame of mind, Puttappa even proclaimed himself as Swami Vivekananda.

Most important of literary events in his life occurred while he was in the second form of high school. It created an impulse in him to write the poem 'Bommanahalli Kindari Jogi'. Sundara was his English teacher then. Once he was teaching the poem Pied Piper of Hamlin to the class. He did not just read the poem; he enacted the sequences and explained the sections of the English poem charming his students, and himself laughing heartily. Pied Piper of Hamlin occupied Puttappa for its dancing rhythm and the exquisite humour that made the children laugh so much that it entered his poetic world and sank deep into his BhAvakOsha. Puttappa wrote the poem 'Bommanahalli Kindari JOgi' based on that story in the year 1926 at Shivamogga; that was after 6-7 years, while he was convalescing from a sickness. He did not have the original poem with him then. (However Puttappa himself had expressed that many people wrongly believed that the poem which was created based on a story he heard in the classroom was a translation of the narrative poem of Browning, though it was neither a translation nor an adaptation of the work cited.)

[Picked from Shri K. C. Shiva Reddy's book - Ugada Kavi (Poet of the Era). Translated to english by Shri R Vijayaraghavan]

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