MADHURACHENNA, 1903-1953

Chennamallappa galagali/Halasangi (cennamallappa galagali/halasangi) (ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಪ್ಪ galagali/ಹಲಸಂಗಿ) who is better known by his nom de plume Madhuracenna (ಮಧುರಚೆನ್ನ) all over Karnataka was one of the important personalities involved in the cultural renaissance that took place during the early decades of the twentieth century. He had a very complex personality which was deeply interested in diverse fields such as mysticism, literature, religion, study of culture, folklore etc. Added to all this he has written poetry of enduring merit. He was a key member of the celebrated ‘geLeyara gumpu’ under the leadership of Bendre the great poet. He worked in tandem with his native friends such as Simpi Linganna, Kapase Revappa, Dhuulaa Saab etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Madhurachenna hailed from the village, Halasangi in the Indi talluk of Bijapur district. His family name is Chennamallappa Galagali. He studied in his village and passed the seventh standard (mulki) examination with distinction. But he could not pursue formal education any further. He got passionately interested in spirituality and literature. He was a self taught man in the sense that he learnt languages like Bengali, Marathi, Gujarathi, Tamil, Persian and English by his individual efforts and spent all his life in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. His spiritual inclinations and experiments resulted in intense poetry. These poems which are collected in ‘nanna nalla’ hold a unique niche in the spectrum of Kannada poetry. He was a very sincere devotee of Maharshi Aravinda and created a movement of sorts in Bijapur district which was inspired by the seer of Auroville.

Madhurachenna was a keen student of folklore, epigraphy, cultural history, literature, philosophy and religion. He was driven by a desire to unearth new material about the culture of Karnataka and document it with suitable commentaries and analysis. He has published a number of books and articles in this connection. All of them are collected in a single volume titled ‘Madhurachennara Lekhanagalu’, edited by Dr Gurulinga Kapase and published by the Kannada University, Hampi. (1993) this book is divided in to ten parts and contains seventy three articles. He has written on topics such as linguistics, inscriptions, Vedas and a history of his village Halasangi. In a way, these writings contain the seeds of regional history. Many of his articles are related to Veerashaivism and folklore. He is credited with the first published article in Kannada on folklore. He discovered an inscription at the age of nineteen, published a book on Kannada paleography at the age of twenty one and published the first ever article in Kannada on folklore at the age of twenty. Many of his writings have deep insights even though he could not take them to their logical conclusion because of paucity of time and the right ambiance. Madhurachenna has written his spiritual auto biography in four volumes, titled ‘pUrva ranga’, ‘kALa rAtri’, ‘beLagu’ and ‘AtmashOdha’

Madhurachenna’s contribution to folklore consists of two important anthologies, ‘garatiya hADu’ (ಗರತಿಯ ಹಾಡು) and ‘malligeya danDe’. (ಮಲ್ಲಿಗೆಯ ದಂಡೆ) These anthologies containing lyrical short poems sung essentially by women were truly trend setting. They have created awareness about folk poetry which was marginalized till then.

Some of his publications are as follows:

1.      ‘Nanna nalla’ (Poetry), 1933

2.      ‘pUrva ranga’, (1932) ‘kALa rAtri’, (1933) ‘beLagu’(1937) and ‘Atma samshodhane’ (1935): Auto Biography.

3.      ‘Madhurachennara lEKanagaLu’ (Collected Articles) edited by Gurulinga Kapase, 1993, Kannada University, Hampi.

4.      ‘AtmashOdha’ (Collected Poetry and Autobiography) edited by Gurulinga Kapase, 2000, Halasangi.

5.      ‘bALinalli beLaku’, (Translation of “Confessions’ by Count Leo Tolstoy)

6.      ‘kannaDigara kulaguru vidyAraNyaru’ Biography, (With Simpi Linganna)

He was in the chair of the poets’ meet in 9th Kannada Sahitya Sammelan held in Bijapur. (1923) Many books and volumes are published about his life and works. His contributions are significant because they reflect the zeal and hard work of the scholars who toiled ceaselessly for the rejuvenation of the culture of Karnataka with scant resources and hardly any recognition.

 

 

Further Reading and Links:

1.      ‘Madhurachennara Jeevana mattu Kaarya’ by Gurulinga Kapase, Karnatak University, Dharwar

2.      ‘Madhurachenna’ by Chennaveera Kanavi, Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Bangalore. 

3.      ‘Madhurachenna’ (Critical Essays) edited by Gurulinga Kapase, 2005, Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Bangalore.

4.      Madhurachenna (Photograph, Courtesy: Kamat’s Potpouri)

1.      ‘Madhurachenna’ by G.S. Kapase (Translated from Kannada by GB Sajjan (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2005

 

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