An evening of readings and discussion was hosted at the launch of the Penguin Classic edition of I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas at Forum Mall. The book was released by eminent Kannada critic Prof H S Raghvendra Rao and was followed by a conversation between Prof Krishnamurthy Chander, Head, Dept of English, Mysore University, Prof Rajendra Chenni, Head, Dept of English, Kuvempu University and the translator Dr H S Shivaprakash.
Emeritus Professor, NIAS, Bangalore Prof Settar chaired the session.
Vachana poetry in Kannada literature attained its zenith in the twelfth century.
Passionate, intensely personal, and ahead of their times, these free-verse poems speak eloquently of the futility of formal learning, the vanity of wealth and the evils of social divisions. The vachanas stress on the worship of Shiva, through love, labour and devotion, as the only worthwhile life-goal for the vachanakara-the vachana poet.
This collection offers a selection of vachanas composed by a wide range of vachanakaras from different walks of life writing during that period. While some of these poets are well known even today, most have been forgotten. Translated fluidly and with great skill by H S Shivaprakash, I Keep Vigil of Rudra is not only an important addition to Vachana literature, but also a must read for lovers of poetry everywhere.
H S Shivaprakash is a wellknown poet, playwright and translator from Karnataka.
His translations and adaptations of Shakespeare are widely staged. He has also translated major European, Latin American and African poets into Kannada and some of the best-known Kannada and Tamil poets into English. He is the winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting and four best book prizes of the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi for poetry and translations.
A former editor of the translations journal Indian Literature, Shivaprakash is an honorary fellow of the School of Letters, University of Iowa, and a specialist in Indian devotional traditions.
He is currently professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has recently been appointed the Director of Tagore Centre in Berlin.
The book is priced at ` 299.