25 June 2008

S L Bhairappa's novels and the Gnaanapeeth award

Aavarana was the first novel I read of S L Bhairappa. In fact, the first Kannada novel after a decade, I guess. I stopped reading Kannada novels after I chanced upon Anantha Murty's Samskara. It left such a horrifying mark in my mind, about our whole cultural bias and all that. I was just out of school, had entered the city for the first time and happened to read that book, to add to it a tragic phase at home for me made a great impact and I'm glad that I stopped reading any novel works in Kannada at that time.

So, times changed and now I don’t get into a novel to get impacted so much. I don’t try to relate it neither to my life, nor with anyone I know's lives. So, I can understand the novel as a novel, feel for the characters and appreciate the art of story telling. Now, I distinguish between neither the languages nor the writers and get biased about the whole stuff.

So, I got curious about the debate Aavarana raised, and particularly since it was claimed to be a documentation of historical facts that are buried under the pseudo-secular truth. I started reading it, I dint like the language it used, nor the behaviour of characters. But yet, what attracted me there, I don’t know. May be because of the hard work of the writer or anything related to it. Definitely it’s not a classical wonder as far as the novel was considered, but it was successful in making me forget everything else for a few days, I had stopped speaking to my parents also until I finished it at one read!! I read for a week to complete the novel till late nights to make for the lost time when I worked.

Though I didn’t appreciate the novel experience, the addiction it caused haunted me. Just like a drug addict, had to buy a few more books, and yes, visited Ankita and bought four more Bhairappa books. Thabbaliyu neenade magane, Daatu, Nirakarana, Gruhabhanga. One after the other.....I must admit I had fallen pray to the trapper called Bhairappa. His way of implementing things that are known to us, not known to us.. Marvellous.

He takes us to a village named Kalenahalli thru his 'Thabbaliyu neenade magane', and crafts a story there as if it is a real village, and the people are our own ancestors, and as if one character there believes and thinks similar to me!! He does create a structure where without mentioning he induces in us a truth that though the elders had little knowledge of the world outside, the quality in their lives is missing even with our advanced Hi-tech living. He never mentions any point there, and leaves the impact to reader's imagination. Is this a quality novelist's traits? I have never experienced such a thing while reading modern novels in other languages, I have read a few English novels, a few Telugu novels and a couple of Hindi novels of very big novelists, but the feel of Bhairappa is really unique. An addiction to be specific is a criterion when you describe a Bhairappa's novel.

Last day of my reading the novel TNM, I had to take a sick leave, since I felt feverish and couldn’t think of anything else that day, I was depressed and totally down!! Gruha bhanga is another novel that made me cry with pain, as if it is happening to me! How and why should people be sacrificed like that? I felt relieved finally that I live in an entirely different era than the one mentioned in the book. And about Daatu, I was disgusted throughout it. Ah! Indian infamous caste system at its peak is in discussion over there. People feeling guilty of crossing lines, making lines to call themselves superior....oh! To what level...I never knew there existed an upper caste feeling among the lower caste people aswell. I mean the lowest castes themselves have different categories, of which one is superior to another and they call balagai (right hand) over another yedagai (left hand)!! And also it pictures how difficult it is to defy the system, uproot it or live against its hardliners! It is a disgusting novel, about which I have no specific comments than that it made me believe that there is no hope to the Indian system of living!

It all started at a theatre presentation of one of Bhairappa’s novels Mandra, where I bought Avarana and started with SLB’s works. I have no doubt that there is a great amount of truth when SLB states thru Avarana that he was virtually removed from the Text book formation committee of Indira Gandhi govt., for voicing against the thought of teaching history in a leftist way and hiding the facts!

I am told that Parva is a great novel, and it is one of its kind in the Indian literary circles. I, so doubt the authenticity of the award givers of Gnaanpeeth, country’s highest literary award. I don’t understand why SLB has not got this award till date, is that because his views are opposed to the leftist ones? Or is that because his works are in Kannada language? Or he has more enemies in literary circles than friends? Can’t say if the award is given away with authenticity and impartiality.

If one URA who propelled me to stop reading Kannada novels could be given the award, why not Bhairappa, who propelled me to buy more Kannada books, and get hooked to them?! We have lost many legendary writers in Kannada who died without being awarded with Gnaanpeeth, the likes of DVG, PuTiNa, Adiga, KSNarasimha swamy, who all deserved it more than a few who were conferred the award with. One can understand the authenticity of such awards, and also of their order.

I demand the Central Sahitya Academy to confer the award on Bhairappa instantly.

Of course, not that without the award he is not what he is already, but it becomes our duty to honour such people with the due respect on our part. Let’s not waste any more time in the regard.

Correction : It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the The Times of India newspaper.


Aravind GJ said...

I totally agree with you. It is not due to Kannada language because Kannada has got the highest number of Jnaanapeetha awards. But certainly, ones chances of getting an award increases if his writings are leaned towards left views.

I would also suggest you to go through the works of Poorna Chandra Tejaswi.

Kadalabal said...

if noble prize is not given to mahatma gandhi gandhi is not the looser but the award ( the awarding committe if they dont recognise the real man who deserved noble peace prize)
SLByrappa is not the loser and people have talked so much about for and againist but I must say he is above all these and deserves the award. I believe this is not given by central sahitya academy but by a seperate committe if i am not correct please let me know
I have read most of his novels and they are all abosorbing and takes you into the places and characters so close you get engrossed

mouna said...

do u now support reservations? or u still against it?

vanaja said...

certainly Dr S L Bhairappa deserves the Indian highest literary Award 'Jnanapeetha Award',Though I read Bhairappa's books 15 years ago no book has given me such an eternal satisfaction as Bhairappa's novels

Dr Vanaja

vadiraja said...

I have read almost all the novels of Dr. S L bhairappa and I and my wife are the ardent fans of Dr. Bhirappa. As it is rightly said that if at the Jnanapeetha Award is given on the basis of literary excellence, Dr. Bhairappa deserves it most. In the contemporary writers, Dr. Bhairappa stands out with his openness and uncorrupted views, who is not bogged down by the lure of political recognititons. I do remember still that when Dr. Bhairappa was the president of kannada sahithya sammelana held at Kanakapura, Dr. H S Venkatesha Murthy has given him the best tribute by way of his poem, where he says that even though Dr. Bhairappa has not got Jnapeetha, he has got the HRUDAYA PEETHA of lakhs and crores of Kannadigas. Long Live Dr. Bhairappa and his line of thought

Anonymous said...

Well said WadiRaj He got Hrudaya peetha long back now he should get Jnyana Peetha... instantly... He deserves Bharata Ratna award also... he is the only writer who tells truth & makes scenes come infront of us..

Great Person too....

Anonymous said...

Dr S L Bhairappa must get Jnanapeeth Award, because He takes 5 to 6 years to collect the information requiresd for writing a novel. He visits the places, meets people, gathers voluminous books, read them and make notes of it. He then starts writing the novel. He take 1 to 2 years to write it. I think, as far as I know, no body does this tideous work except English writers.
Read his "Parva". You definitely wonder. Just because the "Mahabharata" what we know, is scintifically and logically written. Arjuna's birth is as common as ours. In Himalaya (Now Tibet), people called Devas, used to live. "Indra" the leader had "Niyoga" with Kunti, with prior permission of Pandu. This is the fact. But what we were told was a fantasy story, wherein Kunti prayed for a son to "Indra", and she got Arjuna on her hand the next moment.
He reads minimum 20 books to write a novel. Visits many places. Meet peole. Oh! God. Who does all this hard work.
Leave this hard work. The Truth is told in every novel. Except few (approximately 10%) of the novel is with art. And his books are evergreen. Take Avarana only. They were sold like hot cakes. In 6 months 1 lakh copies were sold.
More over he is straight forward, never compromise with truth. He is liked mainly for the talent of making readers addicted to reading whatever it may be. The empathy is also a main quality.

For all these reasons he must be conferred the Jnanapeeth Award.

Narayan said...

It is great to see so many are like me in wanting the highest award for SLB. Had he written in any western language he would have the Nobel for literature long back.
If you just read him once you will get hooked on to the way he writes and admire the real facts he brings out. When I read his BHITTHI I could immediately relate with great accuracy the facts my mother remembers even now at the age of 80 years the toll which took so many lives due to Cholera in old mysore area which rendered so many children as orphans and the problems they had to undergo growing up.
Award or no award SLB stays for life with us.

ಬಾಲು ಕೆಂಚಪ್ಪ said...

I have also read Bhairappa's all the novels. yes! I am almost sure. Why he has not got Peetha award? I have no answer. Why? He is fit enough to get Nobel Prize. Yes.I mean it.
He should get it. He has formed our life.. especially those of us who are forty plus!

mahesh said...

the fact that slbhairappa is born as kannadiga is a maater of great pride..award or no award..the quality and quantity of research that's ingrained in his every literary work is spellbounding by all standards..it's only the powers be who are behind votes have suppressed true voices of the land..sadly this is also our history,present and lets hope it shall not be so in future

manjunath said...

K Manjunatha Prasad.
Dr SL Bhairappa is the most deserving contemporary kannada writer for the Jnanapeeta Award. I have read many of his novels from my college days and continue to read his books even now.I am really impressed by the language, style of narration,the " vichara" it carries , the class and quality of the entire work. To crown it, many of his books have seen the highest re-prints and have been translated to many other languages and have been well accepted world over. It is quite unfortunate that till now the selectors have not yet taken a right decision in conferring the highest literary award to the MOST deserving Indian writer.

Srik said...

Today - He has been awarded with Saraswati Samman - the parallel to Jnanapith award. A true honour that finally beckons the master!

NarayanNS said...

When SLB gets an international award,perhaps Jnaanapeetha award committee will get the sense atleast to honour him suitably. Some of his works ,i am told, is translated to English.

Anonymous said...

When I was in 9th class i read his novel 'dharmashri' i was impacted by this novel it is a fantastic and full of fealing's. I liked his writing style and next i read his novel related to the aurangazeb's janana and the making people's hijada it was morst intrested thing i liked it most and inspired. Next i liked to read his autobiography named at 'bhitti',in this he written his problems and how he came up. One day i was watching news the head line shows 'kannadakke mattondu jnanapeeth' i feel it's woned by s l bhairappa but it's for chandrashekhar kambaar i feel bad but i feel happy because kannada got a 8th jnanapeeth. I liked him most.

Mallikarjuna said...

Plz note,
Jnaanapeetha Award is given by Times Of India group.

Most of the awardees have to meet their criteria & you'd find only secular-bent folks getting awarded.

remember our Kambara Chandrashekar is Congress MLC.

I personally like SLB's books, but frankly, would you care 2 hoots, if he didn't get that award?

He's the only author, whose books do SELL.