(Last Updated on : 16/02/2010)
Culture of Raichur district is a rich blend of the art, architecture and literature of various famous ruling dynasties that held sway here. The temples and mathas that were built by these ancient rulers were the centres of cultural, literary and social activities. The rulers of some of the most powerful kingdoms- like the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, of Viajayanagara
and of the Bahmanis and Adil Shahs, which arose in the vicinity of the district, were great patrons of arts and letters. A galaxy of eminent personalities, who shone in the cultural field, hailed from this district. There were independent Bhakti movements
pioneered by Sharanas and Haridasas who were dedicated souls and many of whom have left a deep impress on the literature and culture of the Kannada society. A brief history in the development and spread of the literary art and culture of the place is discussed below.
In the 11th century, Naoli in the Lingsugur taluk was known for two reputed vachanakaras, namely, Shankara Dasimayya and Dhakkeya Marayya. They were the beginners of the vachana style which produced, in the following centuries, a unique treasure of Kannada literature
. Significant contributions were made towards the Vachanakaras by Ayadakki Marayya, Ayadakki Lakkamma and Bibbi Bacharasa in the 12th century. In the 16th century, Lingannacharya of Kallur wrote Vararamya-Ratnakara in Bhamini-shatpadi metre.
The mathas were re-organised during the reign of the Vijayanagara
Kings, and the cultivation of arts and letters received a great impetus. The great Haridasa tradition was propagated in Raichur district by several eminent saints like Vijayadasa, Gopaladasa and Jagannathadasa in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are well known for having written a great number of devotional and mystical songs. A number of famous dasas followed these saints, and they are renowned for their Sanskrit and Kannada works and treatise. They include Praneshadasa, Vasudeva Vitthala, Panganama Thimmanna Dasa, Kallur Subbannacharya, Guru Pranesha, Sreesha Pranesha Vitthala etc, all of whom strove earnestly to continue the Haridasa tradition.
A great number of Veerashaiva writers arose in the 18th century. The most famous names in this field include Sangavibhu of Ganekal who wrote Kumara Vijaya and three Shatakas; Ganamathadarya, the author of Bhakti-Sudharasa, Kudlur Basavalinga Sharma etc. Famous writers of the 19th century include Veerabhadra Kavi, Gugal Parappayya, Mariswamy etc. The late Kaviratna Chenna kavi and Maski Basavappa Sastry were famous for their Puranas.
Concerted efforts have been made by many people for the preservation, protection and propagation of the literary traditions of the place. The research work of Gorebala Hanumantha Rao of Lingsugur in the field of Dasa Sahitya (the literature of Dasas), has brought to light the works of several Dasas who strove hard to propagate the Dasa tradition. He brought out more than 50 works containing keertanas of several Dasas. It was also discovered that there were Harijans and Muslims too among the Dasas.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the literary and cultural activities gained a considerable momentum through the strenuous efforts of Pandit Taranath (1891-1942), an eminent thinker, linguist and social worker, who hailed from South Kanara District but spent many active years of his life in the Raichur region. He attracted a number of devoted followers whom he inspired to work earnestly for the country. He wrote Dharma Sambhava, Dharmada Tirulu and other thought- provoking works. He was highly proficient in Ayurveda
also and trained many youth in this medical science. He founded the Hamdard High School at Raichur.
The late Kallinatha Shastri Puranik wrote many well-known Puranas, like his father Kaviratna Chenna kavi. He has also authored many plays, songs and other works. Late Prof. D.K.Bhimasen Rao of Bidgi in Manvi taluk, who worked as the Head of the Kannada Department of Osmania University
, was responsible for fostering Kannada movement in Hyderabad
through Kannada Sahitya Mandir and Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. Late Sri Manvi Narasinga Rao, who worked for the cause of Kannada through Kannada Sahitya Mandir, Hyderabad, contributed to the Kannada literature Saraswati Tatva (a collection of essays) and Kannada Yatre (a travelogue), etc. He was mainly responsible for organizing the Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. Considerable contributions have been made by a number of other people who sought to revive and preserve the artistic culture of the place. These include Pandit D.M.Sharma, Dr.S.M.Hunashal, Sri Annadanayya Puranik, Sri Jaithirth Rajpurohit, Sri Chandrashekhara Sastry, Sri Gadwal Shankarappa etc.
It is therefore evident from the above discussion that the literary legacy of Raichur district is a rather rich one. Raichur district thus has rich cultural traditions and has been playing an important role in the field of literary activities since early times.