Ivanu Gandhi Alveno?

Sunday, 05 November 2006

Statue of DVG in bugle rock park, basavanaguDi

Photo of DVG's statue in Bugle Rock park in Basavanagudi, Bengaluru

Bengalooru never had the literary tradition like Mysooru and Dharawada. But, one locality is an exception - Basavanagudi.

Basavanagudi is the karmabhoomi of kannada literary luminaries like DVG and Masti Venkatesha Iyengar.

Oh! DVG!!

When I was taking this photo, a bunch of kids stood besides me and watched what I was doing. One of them said, “gandhi alveno ivaru?” (Isn’t he gandhi?).

I turned to them and said, ‘Illa kanro, avaru DV Gundappa’ (No guys, he is DV Gundappa).
Understanding hit him then, “Oh! DVG”.

DVG‘s most enduring work is ‘manku timmana kagga’, a collection of poems. Manku timma is a fictional character through whom DVG talks about life, beliefs and in general philosophies for life.
[This is where I realise my shortcoming of expressing myself in English. I know kagga is more than just some words of philosophy, but I lack the words.]

In its intention and depth, “manku timmana kagga”, is comparable to ‘vachanas’ of basavaNNa and sarvajna.

Reading a kagga without explanation is quite difficult for anybody who does not have the exposure to the rich vocabulary and word play of kannada. But, when understood, a four liner can bring much joy.

Consider this:

ಮುದುಕುರುಡಿ ಹೊಂಗಯನು ”ಬಾದಾಮಿ, ಕೋ” ಯೆನುತ |
ಪದುಳದಿಂ ಮೊಮ್ಮಂಗೆ ಕೊಡಲು ಸಿಹಿಯಹುದೆ? ||
ಹೃದಯವೊಳಿತಾಡೇಂ? ತಿಳಿವಿಹುದೆ? ಜಾಣಿಹುದೆ? |
ಸುಧೆ ಬಂತೆ ಸುಲಭದಲಿ? – ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ||

A blind, old woman gives a ‘honge’(bitter, oily) seed to her grandson, with full of love and affection, thinking its an almond.
However, if the child eats it, will it be sweet like an almond? no.
The heart may be pure but without understanding and cleverness, the good intention will not help in achieving results.
Was the ‘amrutha’ obtained easily ( a reference to samudra manthana by asuras and devas churning the ocean to get amrutha).

This is comparable to a sarvagna vachana in many ways:

  • creates a very visual analogy of a old woman and child
  • raises a question, thereby making the reader question his own thoughts, understanding in this regard
  • reinforces the moral with another, well known example.

This is the kind of imagery and wordplay, that have made vachanas and kaggas live in the hearts of people.