Mangaluru Lit Fest: Honouring Six Decades Of The Man Who Reinvented ‘The Idea Of Bharat’

by Swarajya Staff - Nov 1, 2018 03:37 PM +05:30 IST
Mangaluru Lit Fest: Honouring Six Decades Of The Man Who Reinvented ‘The Idea Of Bharat’ S L Bhyrappa speaks at the ‘Saakshi: The Witness’ session, at the Jaipur Literature Fest on January 19, 2017. (Photo by Saumya Khandelwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
  • Mangaluru’s maiden literary festival will honour S L Bhyrappa, the man whose writings offer insights not constrained by political correctness.

“The purpose of reading history is not to deride or vilify anybody. And it shouldn’t be. At best, the study of history should help us to honestly, dispassionately understand the rights and wrongs of people we regard as our ancestors and use those lessons to shape our present and future,” writes Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa (S L Bhyrappa) in Aavarana, a novel that is considered to be one of his best.

At 87, Bhyrappa continues to maintain his sharp insights about current affairs and his regimen for writing. He is definitely the avant-garde of Kannada literature and one would think twice before disputing that. His works have been widely translated into Hindi and Marathi and holds a huge base of readers who follow his work in his home state of Karnataka.

And his contribution to literature will be celebrated and honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Mangaluru Literature Festival that is scheduled to take place this weekend (3, 4 November).

On Bhyrappa

Hailing from Hassan’s Channarayapatna, Bhyrappa lost his mother and siblings to the deadly Bubonic plague at a very young age and was forced to take up odd jobs to keep his dreams afloat and pay for his basic educational needs.

Bhyrappa rolled out his first novel, Bheemakaya, in 1958 and since then has went on to write a couple of dozen more. Aavarana, Kavalu and Parva are some of his most notable works so far. For his contributions, he received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2015.

His re-imagination of Mahabharata in his book Parva received widespread acclaim since it carried a sociological and an anthropological angle. In Aavarana, he has spoken vociferously against Tipu Sultan and the Islamist worldview.

Bhyrappa, who has been very vocal about political developments in the state and the country has never been invited, by the state Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party to inaugurate the Dasara festival in his hometown Mysuru. This created a storm in the recent days as the BJP ironically criticised the then Siddaramaiah government for not having him do the honours, since they did not do the honours when their government was in power in the state between 2008 and 2012. He also called out against the Cauvery riots, agitating the protesters even further, by saying that rioting will lead to nothing.

This man minces no words and his works have dared present that idea of Bharat that history books havent dared paint in their real colours. Not for nothing are his works revered by those that read India right. And it was only apt that a literary festival on the coast that has in the recent past seen many unpleasant scenes the kinds he has described in his famous works, honour a man whose fiction expresses the shrouded realities of India.

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