Shishunala Sharif

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Shishunala Sharif (Kannada: ಸಂತ ಶಿಶುನಾಳ ಶರೀಫ, 1819–1889) was a saint poet, philosopher and social reformer from the state of Karnataka in India.[1] His compositions of tatvapada (moral poems) are in Kannada language. Sharif is recognised as the first Muslim poet in Kannada literature.[2]

Shishunala Sharif was born on 3 July 1819 in Shishuvinahala, a village in Shiggaon taluk (in Haveri district), Karnataka. He was the only son and a late born to his parents. Legend has it that Shishunala Sharif was conceived with the blessings of Gods.

As a child, Shishunala Sharif was very intelligent. After completing his studies, he worked as a school teacher for a while, before taking up the spiritual search. He found a Guru in Shri Kalasada Guru Govinda Bhatta. They both shared a very cordial relationship and often engaged in intriguing spiritual discussions.

Though a Muslim by birth, Shishunala Sharif believed in the tenets of Hinduism and helped bring communal harmony. In his birthplace Shishuvinahala, even today, both Hindus and Muslims revere him as a saint at the same temple.

Shishunala Sharif was known to compose poems as per the situation and sing them to spread the message. Though he never wrote down his compositions, by word of mouth many of them have been passed down to future generations.[3]

Furthermore, it is believed[by whom?] that his teacher (Guru) Sri Govinda Bhatta, a Brahmin converted him to Hinduism and made him a Brahmin. This is one of the well documented conversions from Islam to Hinduism. Shishunala Sharif's preachings can be compared with those of Kabir.

Famous Compositions[edit]

  1. Kodagana koli nungitha nodavva thangi
  2. Gudiya Nodiranna Dehada
  3. Alabeda Thangi Alabeda
  4. Tharavalla Thagi Ninna
  5. Biddiyabbe Muduki
  6. Soruthihudu Maneya Maaligi
  7. Ellaranthavanalla Nanna Ganda
  8. Mohada Hendathi Theerida Balika
  9. Sneha Madabekinthavala
  10. Savaalondu Ninna Mela
  11. Koo Koo Enuthide Belava


Santha Shishunala Sharifa is a Kannada feature film directed by T.S. Nagabharana in 1990. The main character was played by the Kannada actor Sridhar, and supporting cast included Girish Karnad and Suman Ranganath

Sharif's songs have been sung by famous playback singers, notably C. Aswath.

Raghu Dixit's work has been appreciated[4] for spreading the words of Sharif's wisdom to the world. Raghu's self-titled debut album launched by the popular music director duo Vishal-Shekhar[5] contains two songs "Soruthihudu Maniya Maligi"[6] and "Gudugudiya Sedi Noda",[7] which are compositions of Sharif. His next album Jag Changa also has 2 songs originally written by Shishunala Sharifa "Lokada Kalaji" and "Kodagana Koli Nungitha".


  1. ^ "When Shishunala came alive". Online webpage of Deccan Herald. Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2007. 
  2. ^ "'Shishunala Sharif's works emphasized religious harmony'". Online webpage of The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu). 4 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2007. 
  3. ^ "To listen Shishunala Sharif's songs". Kannada Audio. 
  4. ^ Denselow, Robin (18 April 2011). "Raghu Dixit and Hans Raj Hans – review". The Guardian (London). 
  5. ^ "Raghu Dixit: Vishal, Shekhar launch new artist Video". 28 February 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Music. "The Raghu Dixit Project " Music". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo. "The Raghu Dixit Project " Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 

External links[edit]