Kannada culture should be more celebrated:Ahmed

“I think that the audience here at the Bangalore Literature Festival reflects the spirit of Bangalore for its Kannada literature.

Published: 01st October 2013 10:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2013 10:38 AM   |  A+A-

“I think that the audience here at the Bangalore Literature Festival reflects the spirit of Bangalore for its Kannada literature. It was encouraging to see a small enthused crowd, who really understood and appreciated literature,” says the poet Nisar Ahmed, who’s a household name in Karnataka.

Twenty years ago he retired as a professor of geology for the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Central College (Bangalore University), a job he chose over a post as assistant geologist, Mines and Geology, Mysore Government in Gulbarga in the late fifties. “The latter was an executive job, which meant that I often had to be on the move. So after about serving for seven to eight months, I thought I should resign as there didn’t seem to be enough time to write,” he says. Ahmed says that his calling was stronger than the desire for a lucrative job.

“Kannada is not my mother tongue and I’ve never formally studied Kannada literature, but I’ve been writing since my intermediate (pre-university) years though I took it up more seriously after I started BSc Honours,” he says. But it was another unexpected incident that made him the literary genius that he is today - being transferred to Shimoga after marriage. “My little boy wasn’t born yet, and my wife was back in Bangalore. Those years were like penance - I would go off to nearby sugarcane and coconut plantations or orchards by the Tunga channel and sit and read for hours while all my colleagues and friends went into town during the weekends,” he reminisces.

It was then that he was introduced to the treasure house of Kuvempu’s prose, whom he cites as one of his major influences. He also continued writing - both prose and poetry - and he noticed that his language became richer. “Some of my poems like Raman Satta Suddi, Masti(a poetic portrait of the great laureate), Nimmodaniddu Nimmantagade  and Nityotsava were written in that solitude,” he shares. Ahmed, whose best known work are Nityotsava, Ella Maretiryvaga, Kurigalu Saar Kurigalu and Benne Kadda Namma Krishna, has also authored several articles and commentaries and translated Pablo Neruda’s Gentleman Alone into Kannada titled Bari Maryadastare as well as Muhammad Iqbal’s Saare Jahan Se Accha. “I was also the first to translate Othello into contemporary Kannada,” he declares, “And many followed my lead.”

On his experience at the lit fest, he says, “Well, my only suggestion is, Kannada culture should be more celebrated, perhaps by putting up pictures of the greats that this region has produced. This will help newcomers understand our heritage.” Lauding the efforts of the organisers, he believes ‘unconventional’ festivals like these in the landscape of Kannada literature will bring writers and their works closer to people.

Stay up to date on all the latest Bengaluru news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp