With the gradual downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Kingdom of Mysore (1565-1947) and the kingdom of the Keladi Nayakas (1565-1763) ascended to absolute power in the southern and western regions of present day Karnataka respectively. Indeed, Kannada literature during Mysore and Keladi period almost had engaged themselves in a healthy and unique contention, putting chivalry in the first place. Output and creation of literary texts encompassing umpteen assorted themes had prospered affluently in these two stated majestic courts. The Mysore court was beautified and decked with distinguished and renowned writers who had authored encyclopaedias, epics and religious commentaries, also letting in composers and musicians. The Keladi court is better acknowledged and accepted for its prolific authorships on Veerashaiva doctrine. The Mysore kings themselves were already highly skilled in the fine arts and hence could make unforgettable contributions. A matchless and native form of elegiac Kannada literature with dramatic representation, referred to as Yakshagana had actually benefitted popularity during the 18th century.
Geetha Gopala, an eminent and renowned treatise on music during the Mysore and Keladi period in Kannada literature, is verily assigned to King Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704). The Wodeyar king is regarded the earliest composer of the dynasty, who went under the honorific Sahitya Vidyanikasha Prastharam ("Expert in literature"). Immensely enlivened and invigorated by Jayadeva's Geetha Govinda in Sanskrit, it was written in saptapadi (seven line verse) metre. This is the first instance of writing to have propagated the Vaishnava faith in the Kannada language.
Sarvajna, (literally standing for "The all knowing") a friar and wandering Veerashaiva poet, who had left a profound impression upon Kannada-speaking region and its people, also is known to have written during this Mysore and Keladi period of Kannada literature. Sarvajna's didactic Vachanas, authored in the tripadi metre (three-line verse, operational from 7th century), make up some of Kannada's most illustrious and notable compositions. With the exclusion of some early poems, Sarvajna's works were primarily centred upon his spiritual pursuit and hunt as a wanderer. The concise, curt and terse Vachanas incorporate his observations on the style of living, the function and intention of life and the ways of the world. Sarvajna was not however patronaged by the crowned heads, nor did he ever pen for fame; this very simple and uncomplicated man's principal endeavour was to apprise people about ethics and morals.
The authorship of Brahmin author Lakshmisa (also recognised as Lakshmisha), a well-accepted and admired story-teller and a dramatist, is dated back to the mid-16th or late 17th century, falling within the Mysore and Keladi period in Kannada literature. The Jaimini Bharata, his account and adaptation of the epic Mahabharata, penned in shatpadi metre (six-line verse, first cited by Nagavarma I in Chhandombudhi of c. 984 and operational from 1165), is one of the most in-style and well-liked poems of the late medieval period. Serving as a compilation of stories, the poem also incorporates the tale of the Sita Parityaga ("Repudiation of Sita"). The author Lakshmisa effectively had infused a different life into a religious story, turning it into a very human tale. The adaptation of Mahabharata, Jaimini Bharata, remains popular even today in contemporary times.
The Mysore and Keladi period in Kannada literature also had remained witness to advancements in dramatic compositions. Though there exists testimony that the genre 'theatre' was familiar and recognised from the 12th century or earlier, yet, modern Kannada theatre is delineated to the ascension of Yakshagana (a kind of field play), which had made its appearance in the 16th century. The Golden Age of Yakshagana authorships were profoundly adhered to the rule of King Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar II (1704-1714). Hugely esteemed and venerated as a multilingual person, King Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar had penned 14 Yakshagana in several languages, although all are composed in the Kannada script. He is also ascribed and qualified with the earliest Yakshaganas, that encompassed sangeeta (music), nataka (drama) and natya (dance).
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1794-1868), the monarch of the princely state of Mysore, was yet another fertile and affluent instance of the period of Mysore and Keladi in Kannada literature. More than 40 pennings have been assigned to him, also comprehending a poetic romance, named Saugandika Parinaya written in two versions, sangatya and a drama. Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar's reign indeed had successfully signalled the swing and shift from classical genres into modern literature, which was to be equilibrised and harmonised by the tremendous endeavours of much later colonial British evangelists and others.
(Last Updated on : 27-02-2009)
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