Birthday: December 29, 1904
Died At Age: 89
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa
Born Country: India
Born in: Chikkamagaluru district
Famous as: Novelist
father: Venkatappa Gowda
children: Indukala, Kokilodaya Chaitra, Poornachandra Tejaswi, TariNi
Died on: November 11, 1994
place of death: Mysore
education: Maharaja's College; Mysore, Hardwick High School
awards: Jnanpith Award
Sahitya Akademi Award for Kannada Writers
Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa, better known as Kuvempu, was an Indian poet, playwright, novelist and critic. He is regarded by many as the best Kannada poet of the 20th century. He was also the first Kannada writer who received the Jnanpith Award. He completed his education from Mysuru University, after which he continued to work there as a teacher. During this time, he contributed to several literary works. His best known works include the epic ‘Sri Ramayana Darshanam’, based on the famous Hindu epic Ramayana, and novels such as ‘Kanuru Heggaditi’ (Proprietress of Kanuru). He is credited with writing the Karnataka State Anthem ‘Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate.’ Throughout his life, he received numerous honors, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the third and second highest civilian honors in India.
Kuvempu’s academic career started as a lecturer of Kannada language at Maharaja’s College in Mysore. Between 1936 and 1946, he worked as an assistant professor in the Central College in Bangalore. Later in 1946, he again joined Maharaja’s College as a professor. Eventually, he went on to become its principal. In 1956, he was made the vice-chancellor of Mysore University. He served in this post till his retirement in 1960. He is also the first graduate from the university who reached that position.
He began composing his literary works in English, with a collection of poems known as ‘Beginner’s Muse’. Later, he decided to write in his native language, Kannada, instead. He also led the movement which emphasized Kannada as the medium of education in Karnataka. He founded the ‘Institute of Kannada Studies’ in the Mysore University, which was later renamed after him as ‘Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies’. Throughout his life, he wrote and published twenty-five collections of poems, two novels, as well as biographies and literary criticisms. He also wrote several collections of stories, essays and a few plays.
His most important works include ‘Sri Ramayana Darshana’, an epic based on the famous Hindu epic ‘Ramayana,’ through which he discusses duties, rights as well as the social responsibilities that an individual has. This work earned him the Sahitya Akademi as well as the Jnanapith award. He also wrote two novels ‘Kanuru Heggaditi’, which translates to ‘Proprietress of Kanuru’ and ‘Malegalalli Madumagulu,’ which translates to ‘The Bride in the Mountains’. His works were much appreciated and earned him several honors, the most notable ones being ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 1958, and ‘Padma Vibhushan’ in 1988.
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Family & Personal Life
Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa was born in a village named Kuppalli, situated in Shivamogga district, Kingdom of Mysore, Karnataka, on 29 December 1904. His mother’s name was Seethamma, while his father’s name was Venkatappa Gowda. He was homeschooled during his childhood by a teacher from South Canara. His father passed away when he was just twelve years old.
He finished his schooling in Thirthahalli, after which he went to Mysore to pursue further education at Wesleyan High School. He graduated from Maharaja College of Mysore in 1929, with his major in Kannada.
His wife’s name was Hemavathi. They were married on April 30, 1937. They had four children, Poornachandra Tejaswi, Kokilodaya Chaitra, Indukala and Tharini.
He passed away at the age of 89, in Mysore, on 11th November 1994.