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
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.
(Collected Articles) edited by Gurulinga Kapase, 1993,
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.
‘Madhurachennara Jeevana mattu Kaarya’ by Gurulinga
‘Madhurachenna’ by Chennaveera Kanavi,
‘Madhurachenna’ (Critical Essays) edited by Gurulinga
4. Madhurachenna (Photograph, Courtesy: Kamat’s Potpouri)
1. ‘Madhurachenna’ by G.S. Kapase (Translated from Kannada by GB Sajjan (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2005