D. R. Bendre

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Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre ದತ್ತಾತ್ರೇಯ ರಾಮಚಂದ್ರ ಬೇಂದ್ರೆ
D.R Bendre
Born (1896-01-31)31 January 1896
Dharwad, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died 26 October 1981(1981-10-26) (aged 85)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Pen name Ambikatanayadatta
Occupation Teacher, poet
Nationality Indian
Genre Fiction
Literary movement Navodaya

Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre (31 January 1896 – 26 October 1981), popularly known as Da. Ra. Bendre, was one of the most notable Kannada poets of the Navodaya Period. He was given the honorific Varakavi ('gifted poet'). Bendre was awarded the Jnanpith Award[1] for Kannada, the highest literary honor conferred in India.[2] He wrote under the pen-name of Ambikatanayadatta (lit, "Datta, Child of Ambika"). He also held the title Karnataka Kula Thilaka ("The ornament of the Karnataka Family") conferred by Udupi Adamaru Math. The Padma Shri was conferred on him by Government of India.


Early life and education[edit]

Bendre was born into a Madhwa Brahmin family in Dharwad,Full name Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre (Kannada:ದತ್ತಾತ್ರೇಯ ರಾಮಚಂದ್ರ ಬೇಂದ್ರೆ ; Marathi: दत्तात्रेय रामचंद्र बेंद्रे) Karnataka.[3] His grandfather was a Dashagranthi ("Master of ten volumes of sacred lore") and scholar in Sanskrit classical literature. Bendre's father, a Sanskrit scholar himself, died when Bendre was only 12

years old. Bendre later adopted the pen-name of Ambikatanayadatta. Bendre completed his primary and high school education in Dharwad with his uncle's help and completed his matriculation in 1913. He joined the Fergusson College, Pune, for his higher education. After obtaining his degree Bendre returned to Dharwad and started teaching at Victoria high school. He married Laxmibai from Ranebennur in 1919. He earned his Master of Arts degree in 1935.[4]


Starting his career as a teacher at Victoria high school(Renamed as Vidyaranya High school after independence) in Dharwad, he worked as a professor of Kannada in D.A.V. College Solapur between 1944 and 1956. In 1956 he was appointed an advisor for All India Radio's Dharwad station.

Later life[edit]

Bendre formed the Geleyara Balaga ("Group of Friends") in 1922, a peer group inclined toward the study of culture and literature. This friends circle drew poets, writers and intellectuals from different parts of Karnataka including Ananda Kanda, Shamba Joshi, Siddavanahalli Krishna Sharma, Enke, G.B.Joshi, Krishnakumar Kallur, V. K. Gokak, R. S. Mugali and Pandhareenathachar Galagali.[5][6] In 1926, Bendre started the cultural movement "Nada-habba'", a celebration of the land and its culture which is still prevalent in Karnataka. This festival is celebrated during the time of the Hindu festival Navaratri.

In 1932 Bendre was sentenced to home imprisonment in Mugad village for writing Nara Bali ("Human Sacrifice"), which was branded seditious by the British government.[7] Bendre's two sons Panduranga and Vamana and daughter Mangala were the only surviving children among nine who were born to him.[8] In 1943, he presided over the 27th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held at Shimoga. He went on to become a fellow of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat. In 1972 the Government of Karnataka produced a documentary on his life.[8]

Works and message[edit]

Bendre started with simple and earthly romantic poetry, often using the "spoken" form of the language. His later works dug deeper into social and philosophical matters. According to G. S. Amur, a leading critic in Kannada, "Bendre believed in the value of an integrated personality but loved to project himself as a threefold being: Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre - the biological self, the thinking self and the creative self. According to Amur, the three 'selves' were conceived as mutually supporting 'selves', as the imagery Bendre used to concrete this idea clearly suggests. He spoke of Ambikatanayadatta and Professor Bendre as two entities that were closely related just as the river and its bank or the belly and the back. One could not exist without the other.[9]

Bendre is usually considered the father figure of modern Kannada poetry. His poems are linked to the Kannada poetic tradition through their use of folklore, the vachanas and the Kirtans. Apart from native prosodic forms, Bendre also employed native imagery, folk beliefs, references to Indian mythology and the language spoken by the common people. Nada Lila ("The Play of Sounds") is perhaps the most remarkable among his collection of poems. All the features of Navodaya poetry like patriotism, the reformatory zeal, critical attitude, Indian culture, consolidation of traditional strength, mystical faith and assertion of a poet's individuality can be found in this collection of poems.

Bendre used diverse techniques for spiritual lyrics, classical style for sonnets, and traditional as well as colloquial idioms for pastoral and folk lyrics. Symbolism is characteristic of his poetry. His poem Patargitti (Butterfly) which is sung as a nursery rhyme is about the colors of temptation. Mudalmaneya ("Dawn") is symbolic of all pervading peace or, the poet's yearning for it. In the Kuniyonu bara ('Let us Dance") all diverse currents of thought meet in on great confluence. Apparently, all of Bendre's poems could be set to music and abound in alliteration; but there was always a hidden layer of meaning which only a trained poetic mind could decipher.

Towards the end of his life Bendre was deeply absorbed in numbers. This was not just a new interest but one that became a central concern.[9] When Dom Moraes visited him during his exploration of Karnataka in 1976, he found Bendre immersed in numbers. In his books Vishvadharanasutra and A Theory of Immortality Bendre made ambitious attempts to intuit all knowledge into numbers.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1972, film director and playwright Girish Karnad made a Kannada documentary film, D. R. Bendre on his life and work.[10][11]

Awards and honours[edit]

And many more.


Poetry collections

  • Krishnakumari (1922)
  • Gari (1932)
  • Moorthi mattu Kamakastoori (1934)
  • Sakheegeeta (1937)
  • Uyyale (1938)
  • Nadaleele (1940)
  • Meghadoota (1943))
  • Haadu Paadu (1946)
  • Gangavatarana (1951)
  • Krishnakumari mattu Haadu Paadu (1956)
  • Sooryapana (1956)
  • Hridayasamudra (1956)
  • Muktakantha (1956)
  • Chaityalaya (1957)
  • Jeevalahari (1957)
  • Aralu Maralu (1957)
  • Namana (1958)
  • Sanchaya (1959)
  • Uttarayana (1960)
  • Mugilamallige (1961)
  • Yaksha Yakshi (1962)
  • Naaku Tanti (1964)
  • Maryade (1966)
  • Shrimata (1968)
  • Baa Hattara (1969)
  • Idu Nabhovani (1970)
  • Vinaya (1972)
  • Matte Shravana Bantu (1973)
  • Olave Namma Badaku (1977)
  • Chaturokti (1978)
  • Paraki (1982)
  • Kavyavaikhari (1982)
  • Balabodhe (1983)
  • Ta Lekkaniki Ta Dauti (1983)
  • Chaitanyada Puje (1983)
  • Pratibimbagalu (1987)
  • Shravana Pratibhe (1987)
  • Kuniyonu Baa (1990)
  • Buddha


  • Tirukara Pidugu (1930)
  • Uddhara (1930)
  • Nageya Hoge (1931)
  • Hucchatagalu (1935)
  • Hosa Samsara mattu Itara Ekankagalu (1950)
  • Ambikatanayadatta Nataka Samputa (1982)

Story collections

  • Nirabharanasundari (1940)


  • Sahitya mattu Vimarshe (1937)
  • Sahityasamshodhana (1940)
  • Vicharamanjari (1945)
  • Kavi Lakshmishana Jaimini Bharatakke Munnudi (1954)
  • Maharashtra Sahitya (1959)
  • Kannada Sahityadalli Nalku Nayakaratnagalu (1968)
  • Matella Jyotu (1972)
  • Sahityada Viratsvaroopa (1974)
  • Kumaravyasa (1979)
  • Matadharma mattu Adhunika Manava (1979)

Edited works

  • Nannadu Ee Kannada Nadu (1928)
  • Hakki Haruthide (1930)
  • Chandrahasa (1948)
  • Hosagannada Kavyashree (1957)
  • Kanakadasa Chaturshatamanotsava Samsmarana – Samputa (1965)


  • Vittala Sampradaya (1984)
  • Hosagannada Kavyashree (1957)
  • Shantala (1972)
  • Upanishadrahasya, by R.D. Ranade (1923)
  • Bharatiya Navajanma (1936, "The Indian Renaissance" by Sri Aurobindo)
  • Sri Aravindara Yoga Ashrama mattu Tatvopadesha (1947)
  • Kabira Vachanavali (1968)
  • Bhagnamoorthi (1972)
  • Guru Govindasingh
  • Noorondu Kavanagalu (from Tagore's poems ed. by Humayun Kabir)

Works in other languages

  • A Theory of Immortality (1977)

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Jnanapeeth Awards". Ekavi. Retrieved 31 October 2006. 
  2. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. 
  3. ^ Datta, Amaresh (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo Volume 1 of Encyclopaedia of Indian literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 413. ISBN 9788126018031. 
  4. ^ Dharwad.com – Bendre's bio data retrieved on 5/27/07
  5. ^ "Trust to bring out articles on Bendre in book form". India: The Hindu. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Friends' gift to the written word". India: Deccan Herald. 26 September 2003. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bendre comes alive at Belgaum jail". India: The New Indian Express. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Vara Kavi Bendre". India: ARCHIMAGE Architects. 30 August 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c Amur, G. S. Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre (Ambikatanayadatta) Makers of Indian literature Volume 1 of Encyclopaedia of Indian literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 105. ISBN 9788172015152. 
  10. ^ D. R. Bendre IMDB.
  11. ^ AWARDS: The multi-faceted playwright Frontline, Vol. 16, No. 03, 30 January – 12 February 1999.

External links[edit]