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Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa, ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿ ವೆಂಕಟಪ್ಪ ಪುಟ್ಟಪ್ಪ
ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿ ವೆಂಕಟಪ್ಪ ಪುಟ್ಟಪ್ಪ
Born (1904-12-29)29 December 1904
Hirekodige Village, Koppa Taluk, Chikkamagaluru District, Kingdom of Mysore
Died 11 November 1994(1994-11-11) (aged 89)
Mysore, Karnataka, India
Pen name Kuvempu
Occupation Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Critic, Thinker, Professor, Vice Chancellor
Nationality India
Genre Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Essays
Literary movement Navodaya
Notable awards

Padma Vibhushan (1988), Padma Bhushan (1958), Jnanapith Award (1967), Karnataka Ratna (1992),

Pampa Prashasti

Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa/ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿ ವೆಂಕಟಪ್ಪ ಪುಟ್ಟಪ್ಪ (29 December 1904 – 11 November 1994),[1] popularly known by the nickname Kuvempu/ಕುವೆಂಪು or by K. V. Puttappa/ಕೆ.ವಿ.ಪುಟ್ಟಪ್ಪ, was a Kannada Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Critic and Thinker. He is widely regarded as the greatest Kannada Poet of the 20th century. He is the first among Kannada writers to be decorated with the prestigious Jnanpith Award.[2]

For his contributions to Kannada Literature, the Government of Karnataka decorated him with the honorific Rashtrakavi ("National Poet") in 1958 and Karnataka Ratna ("Gem of Karnataka") in 1992. His epic narrative Sri Ramayana Darshanam, a modern rendering of the Indian Hindu epic Ramayana is regarded as the revival of the era of Mahakavya ("Great Epic poetry") in contemporary form and charm. His writings and his contribution to "Universal Humanism" (in his own words, "Vishwa maanavataa Vaada") gives him a unique place in modern Indian literature. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan by Government of India in 1988. He penned the Karnataka State Anthem Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate.


Early life and Education[edit]

Kuvempu was born in Hirekodige near Bommalapura in Koppa Taluk of the Chikmagalur District, Karnataka, to a Vokkaliga Kannada family. His father was Venkatappa Gowda from Kuppali and mother Seethamma from Hirekodige, a nearby village. He grew up in the lush Malenadu region of Tirthahalli, called Kuppali in Shivamogga district. Early in his childhood, he was home schooled by an appointed teacher from Dakshina Kannada district. He joined the Anglo Vernacular school in Tirthahalli to continue his middle school education. Kuvempu's father died when he was only twelve. He finished his lower and secondary education in Kannada and English languages in Thirthahalli and moved to Mysore for further education at the Wesleyan High School. Thereafter, he pursued college studies at the Maharaja College of Mysore and graduated in 1929, majoring in Kannada.


He married Hemavathi on 30 April 1937. He was forced to enter marital life on advice of this faculty at Ramakrishna Mission. Kuvempu has two sons, K P Poornachandra Tejaswi, Kokilodaya Chaitra, and two daughters, Indukala and Tharini. Tharini is married to K. Chidananda Gowda, the former Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University. His home in Mysore is called Udayaravi ("Rising Sun"). His son Poornachandra Tejaswi was a polymath, contributing significantly to Kannada literature, photography, calligraphy, digital imaging, social movements, and agriculture.


Kuvempu began his academic career as a lecturer of Kannada language at the Maharajas College in Mysore in 1929. He worked as an assistant professor in the Central college, Bangalore from 1936. He re-joined Maharajas college in Mysore in 1946 as a professor. (group photo) He went on to become the principal of the Maharajas college in 1955. In 1956 he was selected as the Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University where he served till retirement in 1960. He was the first graduate from Mysore University to rise to that position.[3]

Works and message[edit]

Kuvempu started his literary work in English, with a collection of poetry called Beginner's Muse but later switched to his native Kannada. He spearheaded the movement to make Kannada the medium for education, emphasizing the theme "Education in the Mother tongue". To cater to the needs of Kannada research, he founded the Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe ("Institute of Kannada Studies") in the Mysore University, which has since been renamed after him as "Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies". As Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, he pioneered the study of sciences and languages. He championed the publishing of Knowledge for the laymen with by G. Hanumanta Rao.

Kuvempu was more than a writer for his life was in itself a 'great message'. He was against casteism, meaningless practices and religious ritual. Kuvempu's writings reflect his resentment against these practices. The Shoodra Tapaswi ("untouchable saint") was one such writing. Kuvempu who was from the Vokkaliga community gave a perspective to the ancient epic Ramayana that was quite unlike the portrayal of the characters by the original author Valmiki. Kuvempu's version of the epic called Sri Ramayana Darshanam won him the prestigious Jnanpith Award. His epic underscores his vision of Sarvodaya ("upliftment of all"). The protogonist of his epic, the Hindu god Rama, personifies this when he tests himself along with his consort Sita by jumping into the fire.

The speech he made during the convocation ceremony of Bangalore University was published in the book Vichaarakranthige Aahwaana. It calls for a re-assessment of developmental policies. Though it was delivered in 1974, the message is still considered relevant to modern society. In the year 1987, The Government of Karnataka started the Kuvempu University in the Shimoga district, Karnataka. The i is located in the Jnana Sahyadri campus, 28 km from Shimoga city.


  • Chakracharanake swagatha  – "Welcome to wheel footed" when he bought his first car
  • Uluva Yogi ("tilling Yogi") is the title he gave the farmer
  • Sarvarige samapaalu, sarvarige samabaalu ("Equal share for all, Equal life for all", when he called for egalitarian society).
  • O nanna chetana, Agu nee aniketana ("Be unhoused O my soul, only the infinite is your goal").



Collection of Poems[edit]

  • Kolalu/ಕೊಳಲು (1930)
  • Paanchajanya/ಪಾಂಚಜನ್ಯ (1936)
  • Navilu/ನವಿಲು (1937)
  • Kindarijogi Mattu Itara Kavanagalu/ಕಿಂದರಿಜೇೂಗಿ ಮತ್ತು ಇತರ ಕವನಗಳು (1938)
  • Kogile Mattu Soviet Russia/ಕೇೂಗಿಲೆ ಮತ್ತು ಸೇೂವಿಯತ್ ರಷ್ಯಾ (1944)
  • Kinkini/ಕಿಂಕಿಣಿ (1946)
  • Agnihamsa/ಅಗ್ನಿಹಂಸ (1946)
  • Prema Kashmira/ಪ್ರೇಮ ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರ (1946)
  • Chandramanchake Baa Chakori/ಚಂದ್ರಮಂಚಕೆ ಬಾ ಚಕೇೂರಿ (1954)
  • Ikshugangotri/ಇಕ್ಷುಗಂಗೇೂತ್ರಿ (1957)
  • Kabbigana kaibutti/ಕಬ್ಬಿಗನ ಕೈಬುಟ್ಟಿ
  • Pakshikaashi/ಪಕ್ಷಿಕಾಶಿ
  • Jenaaguvaa/ಜೇನಾಗುವಾ
  • Kutichaka/ಕುಟೀಚಕ
  • Kadiradake/ಕದರಡಿಕೆ
  • Kathana Kavanagalu/ಕಥನ ಕವನಗಳು
  • Manthrakshathe/ಮಂತ್ರಾಕ್ಷತೆ
  • Valmikiya Bhagya/ವಾಲ್ಮೀಖಿಯ ಭಾಗ್ಯ
  • Honna Hottare/ಹೊನ್ನ ಹೊತ್ತಾರೆ
  • Aniketana/ಅನಿಕೇತನ
  • Kruttike/ಕೃತ್ತಿಕೆ
  • Anuththara/ಅನುತ್ತರ
  • Preta Que/ಪ್ರೇತ ಕ್ಯೂ
  • Shodashi/ಷೇೂಡಶಿ
  • Kalasundari/ಕಲಾಸುಂದರಿ



  • Birugaali/ಬಿರುಗಾಳಿ (1930)
  • Maharatri/ಮಹಾರಾತ್ರಿ (1931)
  • Smashana Kurushethra/ಸ್ಮಶಾನ ಕುರುಕ್ಷೇತ್ರ (1931)
  • Jalagaara/ಜಲಗಾರ (1931)
  • Raktaakshi/ರಕ್ತಾಕ್ಷಿ (1932)
  • Shoodra Tapaswi/ಶೂದ್ರ ತಪಸ್ವಿ (1944)
  • Beralge koral/ಬೆರಳ್ಗೆ ಕೊರಳ್ (1947)
  • Yamana solu/ಯಮನ ಸೇೂಲು
  • Chandrahasa/ಚಂದ್ರಹಾಸ
  • Balidaana/ಬಲಿದಾನ


  • Nenapina Doniyali/ನೆನಪಿನ ದೇೂಣಿಯಲಿ (1980)

Collection of stories[edit]

  • Sanyaasi Mattu Itare Kategalu (1937)
  • Nanna Devaru Mattu Itara Kategalu (1940)


  • Malenaadina Chitragalu (1933)

Literary criticism[edit]

  • Atmashreegagi Nirankushamatigalagi (1944)
  • Kavyavihara (1946)
  • Taponandana (1951)
  • Vibhuthi Pooje (1953)
  • Draupadiya Shrimudi (1960)
  • Vicharakrantige Ahvana (1976)
  • Sahityaprachara
  • Ithyadi
  • Raso Vai Saha

Essay and Other[edit]

  • Manujamatha Viswapatha
  • Kavya Vihara
  • Mantramangalya


  • Swami Vivekananda(1932)
  • Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1934)
   Sri Sharada Devi


  • Guruvinodane Devaredege
  • Janapriya Valmiki Ramayana

Stories and poems for children[edit]

  • Bommanahalliya kindarijogi(1936)
  • Mari vijnani(1947)
  • Meghapura (1947)
  • Nanna mane (1947)
  • Nanna gopala
  • Amalana kathe
  • Sahasa pavana
  • Modannana Tamma
  • Narigaligeke Kodilla
  • Haluru

Kuvempu's works in visual media[edit]




Kavimane — Kuvempu Memorial[edit]

Kuvempu's ancestral house in Kuppali
Kuvempu's memorial in Kavishaila, Kuppali

The childhood home of Kuvempu at Kuppali has been converted into a museum by Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishtana (a trust dedicated to Kuvempu). This trust has undertaken immense developmental works in Kuppali to showcase Kuvempu and his works to the external world.[7] On November 23, 2015 night, many valuables including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards conferred on poet laureate Kuvempu were stolen from Kavimane.[8][9][10]

The entire museum has been ransacked. The surveillance cameras there have also been damaged. Interestingly the Jnanapith award kept there has remained intact.


The gradually rising hill south of the house is named Kavishaila, Kuvempu's mortal remains were placed at Kavishaila.[7]

Biographies on Kuvempu[edit]

  • Annana Nenapu, Poornachandra Tejaswi
  • Yugada Kavi, K.C. Shiva Reddy
  • Kuvempu, Pradhan Gurudatta
  • Magalu Kanda Kuvempu, Tharini Chidananda,

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Gentle Radiance of a Luminous Lamp". Ramakrishna Math. Archived from the original on 22 August 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2006. 
  2. ^ "Jnanpith Awards". Ekavi. Retrieved 31 October 2006. 
  3. ^ Bharati, Veena. "Poet, nature lover and humanist". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 18 March 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Culture p484-485" (PDF). A Handbook of Karnataka. Government of Karnataka. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "Where the poet once lived". Deccan Herald. 29 June 2009. 
  8. ^ CORRESPONDENT, STAFF (24 November 2015). "Kuvempu memorial ransacked". The Hindhu. 
  9. ^ "Padma Awards, Cash Stolen From magane Memorial". The New Indian Express. 25 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Kumar R B, Santosh (29 June 2009). "Padma awards of renowned Kannada poet Kuvempu stolen". The Indian Express. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]