Kayyar Kinhanna Rai

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Kayyar Kinhanna Rai
Kayyar Kinhanna Rai in 2010
Born (1915-06-08) 8 June 1915 (age 99)
Kayyar, Kasaragod, South Kanara, Madras Presidency, British India[1]
Occupation Novelist, essayist, journalist
Nationality Indian

Kayyar Kinhanna Rai (Kannada: ಕಯ್ಯಾರ ಕಿಞ್ಞಣ್ಣ ರೈ) (born 8 June 1915) is an Indian independence activist, author, poet and former journalist.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Rai was born on 8 June 1915 to Duggappa and Deyyakka Rai.[1] His given name is unique since it includes the Kannada alphabet 'ಞ' (a palatal consonant pronounced nasally as "nya"), which is used very rarely in the written Kannada of today and is absent in the English alphabet which often leads to various other transliterations of his given name such as Kinyanna and Kinnanna.Rai first learned Kannada in school.[1] Later he published his first handwritten journal, Susheela, at the age of 12.[1] He was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and also participated in the freedom movement of India.[1] During this period he married Unyakka and is a father to eight children.


Rai started his career as a secondary school teacher. He also delved into journalism and contributed his writings to newspapers like Swabhimana, Madras Mail and The Hindu.[1] He received the National Award for Best Teacher in 1969.[8] He is a writer and poet who has written books on theatre, grammar and children. Some of his famous poems are Shreemukha, Aikyagana, Punarnava, Chethana and Koraga. He has written a biography of Govinda Pai, the Kannada poet from whom he was highly influenced. His other important works are Malayala Sahitya Charithre (History of Malayalam literature),which is a translation of an original work by P. K. Parameshwaran Nair[9] and Sahithya Drushti. He was conferred an honorary doctorate by Mangalore University in 2005.[10] He also chaired the 66th Akhila Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Kannada Literature Conference), which was held at Mangalore. Some of his poems have been used as songs for the Kannada film, Paduvaaralli Pandavaru (Kannada: ಪಡುವಾರಳ್ಳಿ ಪಾಂಡವರು) which was directed by Puttanna Kanagal. In 1980 he also stood for elections in Kasargod to the Kerala Legislative Assembly but was unsuccessful.[11]

Later activism[edit]

Rai has been a campaigner for the merger of Kasaragod district into Karnataka.[12] One of his main goals is to seek the implementation of the Mahajan Committee Report, which urged the inclusion of the northern part of Kasaragod district (to the north of the Chandragiri river) into Karnataka.[13] He founded the Kasargod Merger Action Council (Kasaragod Vileeneekarana Kriya Samithi) in 2002 to work towards this goal. Describing the goals of this council Rai has said that the linguistic minorities in the district were not against the Malayalis or Kerala State, per se, but were demanding the implementation of the Justice Mahajan Commission report, vis-a-vis the fulfilment of promises made by the former Chief Ministers, E. M. S. Namboodiripad, C. Achutha Menon and Pattam Thanu Pillai, in this regard.[14] He has also lent his hands for the demand of a separate Tulu Nadu state for the Tulu speaking population of India.[15]


Some of the awards and honours that Rai has received include:

  • Karnataka Sahitya Academy award - 1969
  • National Award for Best Teacher - 1969
  • Honorary Fellowship by Manipal Academy of Higher Education (1970).
  • President - 67th Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in Mangalore in 1998 [5]
  • Pejawar Award in literature - 2004
  • Alva's Nudisri Award - 2005
  • Adarsha Ratna Award - 2006
  • Nadoja (Teacher of the State) Award - 2006[16]
  • Karnataka Ekikarana (Unification) Award - 2007
  • Honorary Fellowship by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat - 2009 [17]
  • 1st Karnataka Gadinada Ratna Award [7]


  • "Benki biddide namma manege ... O bega banni, Kannadada gadi kayona banni, Kannadada nudi kaypona banni" - ("Our house is on fire ... Oh come fast, lets safeguard the boundaries of Kannada, lets save the Kannada language")[1]
  • "Language and culture transcend geographical barriers and people who want to disseminate culture and language are not bound by borders."[1]
  • "It is meaningless for the Karnataka Government to observe Suvarna Karnataka [the Golden Jubilee of the formation of the state of Karnataka] if the problems faced by the State are not solved."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i A short biography of Kayyara Kinyanna Rai is presented by Anantha Padmanabha. "Kayyara Kinyanna Rai-90". Online Webpage of ThatsKannada.com, dated 2004-03-29. Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  2. ^ Kayyar Kinhanna Rai | World Tuluvas Network
  3. ^ Kayyar Kinhanna Rai - Rediff Pages
  4. ^ Kayyara Kinhanna Rai Felicitated by Vatal Nagaraj | News - The Dakshin Times
  5. ^ a b "Kayyara Kinhanna Rai to be felicitated on June 8". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2009-06-06. 
  6. ^ Kasargod: Sahitya Sammelan Invitation Handed Over to Poet, Dr Kayyara
  7. ^ a b "Kasaragod meet to discuss border issues". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2010-07-31. 
  8. ^ Awards presented to Kayyara Kinyanna Rai are mentioned by Staff Correspondent (2005-01-25). "Honorary doctorates for Sheni, Rai, Sathyu". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  9. ^ Sahitya Akademi, Eng Flying Dolls By Various
  10. ^ Honorary doctorate presented to Kayyara Kinyanna Rai is mentioned by "Three stalwarts conferred with doctorates". Online Edition of the Deccan Herald, dated 2005-01-25. 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-18. [dead link]
  11. ^ Kayyara Kinyanna Rai's election campaign has been mentioned by "Statistical Report on the General Election, 1980 to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala" (PDF). Online Webpage of the Election Commission of India. Election Commission of India, New Delhi. Retrieved 2007-04-19. [dead link]
  12. ^ Proposal by Kinyanna Rai to approach the Supreme Court of India to urge the merger of Kasargod into Karnataka is mentioned by K.P. Pushparaj (2002-11-25). "Will Kerala lose its northern tip?". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  13. ^ Kinyanna Rai's assertion to implement the Mahajan Report is mentioned by Decaan Herald News Service. "Political move on Mahajan Report sought". Online Edition of the Deccan Herald. 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-19. [dead link]
  14. ^ Formation of Kasargod Merger Action Council is mentioned by K.P. Pushparaj (2004-05-06). "Demand to implement Mahajan panel report". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2004-05-06 (Chennai, India: 2006, The Hindu). Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  15. ^ Kinyanna Rai's indication of a movement for a separate Tulu Nadu state is mentioned by Daijiworld News Network. "Mangalore: 'Movement for Tulu State after Merger of Kasaragod' - Kinhanna Rai". Online webpage of Daijiworld.com. Walter Nandalike, Daijiworld.com. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  16. ^ "Nadoja for Kinhanna Rai, Sarojini Mahishi, Ham. Pa. Na., two others". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 26 November 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Kinhanna Rai to receive fellowship". The Times Of India. 2009-06-06. 

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