I have become curious about Shivarama Karanth over the past few days, after reading “The headman of the little hill”, an English translation of the Kannada novel “Kudiyara Kusu”. I do remember reading a Telugu translation of some Karanth novel as a teenager..and liking it. But, strangely enough, I only remember the names of the authors I read during that time (…after getting an Engineering admission and before joining in the college)..and not the names of their works. I do remember some of the stories though. They were all Emesco pocket book editions.
Coming to the point, after reading “The headman of the little hill”, I got hold of “Mookajji’s Visions”, the novel that fetched Jnanapith to Karanth, in T.S.Sanjeeva Rao’s English translation. I just read the preface and began reading about Karanth again. In the process, I found this drawing by K.K.Hebbar, of Karanth.
…and the explanation after the drawing:
There is a highly imaginative line drawing of Dr Shivarama Karanth, by his friend Dr K.K.Hebbar. The great artist K.K.Hebbar gives Karanth in this portrait, four faces,five hands and a well developed proportionate body. While one hand of Karanth standing in a dancer’s poise touches the moon, another hand holds a quill. And there are books held in the other three hands. A long silk scarf is tied around the waist of the dancer, whose legs stand firmly on the ground.
This drawing reveals, as no words can, the indomitable courage, strong determination and lofty ideals of the one who, during a period of eight decades, wrote 45 novels, 97 plays, nine encyclopedias, one dictionary, six travelogues, thirteen critical works on art, eight works on science, two autobiographies – the second one in three volumes, 231 tales for children, four short-story collections, two poetry volumes and eight volumes of stray articles. In addition to such prodigious output, he was a painter, Yakshagana artist and an environmentalist.
After reading a bit about Karanth’s work, its diversity..and the whole span of nearly 80 active years of writing, I loved the imagery more than the image itself 😉
As Ramachandra Guha says in his essay on Karanth,
His myriad-mindedness inspired a proverb in Kannnada: Aadu muttada, soppilla, Karantharu maadada kelasavilla. (There is vegetation that a goat doesn’t eat, but there is no work that Karanth has not done.)
(Guha’s essay, that comes as a part of his book “The last liberal and other essays”, can be read on ArvindGupta’s site, here)
I am also strongly reminded of Bnim’s book “Marapurani Manikyalu”, which introduces great Telugu people, with such drawings and bi-lingual introductions in English and Telugu.
Hoping that this reading will continue for few more days, if nothing distracts me!
PS: The drawing and the passage afterwards were taken from a book whose preview I found on google books.
The book: K.Shivarama Karanth, by C.N.Ramachandran. Sahitya Akademi publication.