Poet GSS Brought Many Talents Together
By Rajashekara S | Published: 24th December 2013 08:00 AM |
Some of the most popular songs in Kannada music, rendered by the best voices of the land, are by G S Shivarudrappa, who breathed his last on Monday. A student who succeeded his teacher Kuvempu as Rashtra Kavi not only carried his legacy forward but also transformed and guided a generation of writers who later became giants in their own right. GSS directed Kannada’s intellectual path in a quiet manner. “He brought together all forms of arts and created a department,” says well-known singer Shimogga Subbanna, who has lent his voice to several songs by GSS.
As head of the Kannada Study Centre at Bangalore University, GSS opened a window to world literature by starting comparative literature, and recruiting teachers from other languages.
“He was a real democrat in Kannada literature. He drew inspiration from Kuvempu’s writing and also accepted Dalit literature,” says his student Baraguru Ramachandrappa, who later worked with him at the Kannada Study Centre.
The greatest quality of GSS is that he never discouraged aspiring writers. He sincerely read and responded to them, writing letters and encouraging them to write better. “When I met him six months ago, he was reading a book by a new writer,” recalls poet and playwright KY Narayanaswamy.
Recalling his own experience, novelist Jogi said: “I had given him one of my books. When I met him a few weeks later, he congratulated me and suggested how I could write better.”
When film actor late Vishnu Vardhan asked him why he read works of all new writers, GSS replied: “I wouldn’t have become a writer if none of my senior writers had read and appreciated my early writing.”
True to the saying that a great teacher inspires, GSS never hurt anyone. But he invited healthy criticism. “He never said a poem was good or bad. He only helped us understand what good poetry is,” said Jogi.
He remained rooted, humble and humane till the end, said Narayanaswamy.
“In his death, we have lost that student-teacher chain,” said Jogi, who, like thousands of others, considered him his teacher though he had never been in his class.