Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa (1904 –1994) known more famously by his pen name Kuvempu, is considered to be the greatest Kannada Poet, Novelist, Author, Thinker and Critic of 20th century. The Kannada language is spoken mainly in Kuvempu’s home state of Karnataka, and he strongly advocated for it to be the main medium of education. He is the first among Kannada writers to be decorated with the prestigious Jnanpith Award. 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.
He was born in the Chikmanglur district of Karnataka on December 29, 1904. He had received early education in Shimoga and nearby districts and completed college education in Mysore. He had received early education in Shimoga and nearby districts and completed college education in Mysore. He started his academic career as teacher of Kannada language in Mysore and Bengaluru. He became professor, and then principal of the Maharaja’s College in Mysore. In 1956, he was appointed as Vice Chancellor of Mysore University. To promote research in Kannada, he founded the Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe (Institute of Kannada Studies) in the Mysore University. Today, it is known as Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies. Kuvempu took his last breath on November 1, 1994, at the age of 89.
His first literary works were in English but then he shifted to his mother tongue Kannada. A poetry collection called “Beginner’s Muse” was his first literary work in English. 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. Sri Ramayana Darshanam led him to become a Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith Award winner. His writings and his contribution to ‘Universal Humanism’ gives him a unique place in modern Indian literature. His other works include poem collections, novels, Plays, autobiography, stroires, essays and so on.
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