Kayyar Kinhanna Rai

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Kayyara Kinhanna Rai
Born(1915-06-08)8 June 1915
Kayyar, Madras Presidency, British India[1]
Died9 August 2015(2015-08-09) (aged 100)
Badiyadka, Kerala, India
OccupationNovelist, essayist, journalist, Teacher, Farmer
Notable worksSrimukha, Ikyagaana, Punarnava, Shathamanada Gaana, Makkala Padya Manjari, Koraga

Kayyara Kinhanna Rai (8 June 1915 – 9 August 2015) was an Indian independence activist, author, poet, journalist, teacher and farmer.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Rai was born on 8 June 1915 to Duggappa and Deyyakka Rai in a Tulu-speaking[8] Bunt family.[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 Unhakke 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.[9] 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[10] and Sahithya Drushti. He was conferred an honorary doctorate by Mangalore University in 2005.[11] 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.[12]

Rai was also an avid agriculturist and was active in the cultivation of areca, rubber and rice.

Later life[edit]

Rai was a campaigner for the merger of Kasaragod district into Karnataka.[13] One of his main goals was 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.[14] 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 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.[15][16]

Rai had a natural death from old age at his residence at Kallakalia near Badiyadka, Kasaragod, Kerala at the age of 100.[17]


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[18]
  • Karnataka Ekikarana (Unification) Award – 2007
  • Honorary Fellowship by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat – 2009[19]
  • 1st Karnataka Gadinada Ratna Award[7]
  • Pampa award


  • "Benki biddide namma manege ... O bega banni, Kannadada gadi kayona banni, Kannadada nudi kaypona banni" – ("Our house is on fire ... Oh come fast, let's safeguard the boundaries of Kannada, let's 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 29 March 2004. Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  2. ^ "Kayyara Kinhanna Rai | World Tuluvas Network". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  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. 6 June 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Kasargod: Sahitya Sammelan Invitation Handed Over to Poet, Dr Kayyara". Archived from the original on 20 January 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Kasaragod meet to discuss border issues". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 31 July 2010.
  8. ^ Jaideep Shenoy (7 June 2015). "Kannada poet Kayyara Kinhanna Rai turns 100 on June 8 | Mangaluru News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  9. ^ Awards presented to Kayyara Kinyanna Rai are mentioned by Staff Correspondent (25 January 2005). "Honorary doctorates for Sheni, Rai, Sathyu". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 6 April 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  10. ^ Sahitya Akademi, Eng Flying Dolls By Various
  11. ^ "Three stalwarts conferred with doctorates". Online Edition of the Deccan Herald, dated 25 January 2005. 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Archived from the original on 13 September 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  12. ^ "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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2005. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  13. ^ 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 (25 November 2002). "Will Kerala lose its northern tip?". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  14. ^ Decaan Herald News Service. "Political move on Mahajan Report sought". Online Edition of the Deccan Herald. 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Archived from the original on 31 March 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  15. ^ Formation of Kasargod Merger Action Council is mentioned by K.P. Pushparaj (6 May 2004). "Demand to implement Mahajan panel report". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  16. ^ Daijiworld News Network. "Mangalore: 'Movement for Tulu State after Merger of Kasaragod' – Kinhanna Rai". Online webpage of Daijiworld.com. Walter Nandalike, Daijiworld.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  17. ^ ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಗಟ್ಟಿದನಿ ಕಯ್ಯಾರ ಕಿಞ್ಞಣ್ಣ ರೈ ಅಸ್ತಂಗತ (in Kannada)
  18. ^ "Nadoja for Kinhanna Rai, Sarojini Mahishi, Ham. Pa. Na., two others". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 November 2006. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  19. ^ "Kinhanna Rai to receive fellowship". The Times of India. 6 June 2009.

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