Shantadevi Kanavi was a number one brief story author in Kannada whose work has been translated into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi and English. ‘Onagabaradu odala chilume’, edited by Shanta Imrapur and Ok R Siddhagangamma, is a set of 56 essential essays and analyses of her brief tales by famous literary critics. She was honoured for her lifetime literary contribution with the Karnataka Saahitya Akademi Award.
I have no idea whether or not an indestructible, everlasting atma exists. My seek for this elusive entity has not gone past that of poet V.G. Bhat’s, which reached a lifeless finish at web page 153 of Kittel’s Dictionary.
My scientific coaching tells me that the thoughts, feelings, reminiscence, mind, self consciousness are all features of the mind and stop to exist when the physique stops functioning or what’s medically known as loss of life. Nonetheless, an individual’s recollections, imprints and influences endure in others’ consciousness and life. So we will say an individual “exists” in others’ consciousness. When the individual is a author, artist, scientist, thinker and many others then she continues to affect her viewers and admirers for a number of years and even centuries and therefore stay a lot past her instances.
My mom Shantadevi Kannavi’s wealthy literary work has been commented upon and has been learn by 1000’s of individuals in Karnataka. Her form, loving, empathetic and giving nature has been talked about by all those that got here near her; household, buddies and even acquaintances.
So what ought to I write or recall on this remembrance?
I wish to distance myself from my emotional bonds along with her as my loving avva (mom) and look at her world outlook as revealed in her ideas and actions, which definitely performed a task in shaping mine too.
Avva had some very robust convictions which she practiced all her life. Nonetheless, she by no means tried to impose her convictions or her doubts on others.
She was not an atheist however all via her life she by no means went to a temple to worship any deity. She thought-about faith, religion and beliefs as non-public issues and never for public show. She practiced her personal non-public meditation within the puja room when she felt the necessity.
She didn’t imagine in astrology and by no means consulted an astrologer. Although not a science pupil her rationality saved her away from all of the superstitions and rituals like Rahu kaala, Gruhana, good and dangerous omens, muhoort, Navagruha shanti, Shani’s dangerous results and many others and many others.
She had developed a questioning, rational, scientific mood.
She revered all those that had taken up service to the much less privileged in any type or form. She herself by no means went to any spiritual chief or Swamiji looking for ethical or non secular steerage or counsel.
The standard in any individual she most abhorred even when they’d different redeeming ones was false pleasure, vanity and self promotion and looking for publicity. She tremendously admired all those that stood upright in opposition to injustice, defended the rights of the poor and oppressed women and men and instructed fact to energy.
Festivals have been joyous events for household get collectively to take pleasure in good meals and one another’s firm and never essentially for any particular rituals related.
When my mother and father had a decisive say within the conduct of marriages within the household they sanctified the union of the couple within the presence of members of the family with my father reciting some vachanas of sharanas of the twelfth century. However when they didn’t have a say, they left the conduct of the wedding to the desires of the couple and fortunately blessed them. They didn’t put on their concepts and practices on their sleeves or impose it on others, together with their very own youngsters or their spouses.
Avva appreciated the twelfth century vachanakaras as a result of a lot of their ideas coincided along with her beliefs and practices now within the 20th and 21st century. She began studying up on Buddhism just lately.
Her beliefs and practices weren’t these of her mom or father both. Her father’s huge residence library had tons of Victorian English literature together with fashionable Kannada literature and in addition a big part on philosophy and metaphysics. Shri Aurobindo, Jiddu Krishnamurthi , Vivekanand and others jostled with Vachanakaras and Lingayat literature. Her mother and father revered Shri Aurobindo and Mom of Pondicherry however that didn’t affect her a lot.
The purpose I’m making is she was very a lot her personal individual. What she believed and practiced was arrived at by her personal expertise, studying, reflection and cogitation.
She was fairly turned off by the sound and fury and public show of grief throughout a funeral. She noticed it minutely in a village and based mostly one among her well-known tales “Antima samskara” on a village funeral. She additionally began investigating a sensible different to an elaborate funeral and he or she discovered it within the donation of 1’s physique to medical analysis in a Medical School. She was emboldened by three of her family members really donating their physique thus. Nonetheless, she didn’t insist on it when she was unwell. Maybe as a realist she might need realised that anyway she wouldn’t be round so what’s the purpose in insisting on it. In spite of everything, a funeral relies upon extra on the beliefs of members of the family than the one that has handed away!
She didn’t research past matriculation. So, when she obtained a doctorate honoris causa in 2014 from the Karnataka State Girls’s College at Vijayapura (Bijapur) for her lifetime contribution to Kannada literature, I used to drag her leg that she jumped straight from matriculation to D Litt!
She was a voracious reader from childhood until her very finish. In truth, at her bedside in her final days was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which she will need to have been studying for the nth time.
Her favorite writers have been realists. Among the many Europeans, she notably cherished Jane Austen, Bronte sisters Emily and Charlotte, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, O Henry, Man de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov. She was maybe probably the most avid person of grandfather’s library.
She had learn the pioneers of recent Kannada prose in addition to her contemporaries: Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Anakru, Niranjan, Basavraj Kattimani, Tarasu, Kuvempu, Bhyrappa, Shankar Mokashi Punekar, Shantinath Desai, Tejasvi, Lankesh, Gauramma, Vani, Triveni, Anupama, Vaidehi and plenty of others. In her later years you’ll all the time discover her with a ebook in entrance of the TV in the lounge.
She cherished realists, as a result of she was a realist in her core persona.
Some critics have commented that in her tales at instances the feminine protagonist doesn’t overtly insurgent. However that’s what she discovered round her in her early years and as a realist author her tales mirrored that. And as ladies turned extra impartial, emancipated and assertive round her within the latter half of twentieth century her tales mirrored that too. She remained true to her realism all via and didn’t impose her needs or aspirations or “ideology” on her characters.
As a mom she was remarkably liberal in addition to frank and open. As we grew up she exerted completely no strain on us on the profession we selected or the life accomplice we selected; perception methods, political leanings and activism or some other life selections. On the identical time, she was all the time accessible and keen if she discovered us tense or in want of assist of any form.
As I turned a father and grandfather, I’ve usually puzzled whether or not I got here as much as her excessive requirements of parenting.
She was fairly agency in her convictions, although curious to know any proof based mostly different view. My father, the Kannada poet Chennaveera Kanavi, is circumspect by nature. On the uncommon event the place he took a public political stand and took part in a protest, she completely stood by him. She noticed his anguish earlier than and through Nationwide Emergency of Indira Gandhi (1975-77); or the Gokak agitation (1981-82) for primacy of Kannada in Karnataka or the protests in opposition to the heinous homicide of fellow author and good friend M M Kalburgi or communalism concerning citizenship and many others. in 2019. She all the time stood by him like a rock.
She refused to go centre stage and let her work converse for itself.
How can one not be influenced by such a lady of substance as a mom and loving counsel? She continues to stay in us all.
Shivanand Kanavi is an adjunct college member of NIAS, a former VP at TCS, and former govt editor of Enterprise India journal