GUNDAPPA L., 1903-86


Lingannaiah Gundappa (ಎಲ್. ಗುಂಡಪ್ಪ) was a teacher-scholar, who worked ceaselessly for the cause of Kannada in the fields of translation, textual criticism and modern Kannada literature. He was born in Mathighatta village of Hassan district. He obtained his master’s degree in Kannada from the University of Mysore. He came under the influence of B.M.Srikantaiah his teacher and mentor during his student days. His knowledge of Tamil, Sanskrit, English and Kannada helped him in choosing his life’s vocation. He taught Kannada in the University of Mysore for a number of years and later he became an assistant editor of the English-Kannada dictionary. He was associated with Kannada-Kannada Nighantu brought out by Kannada Sahitya Parishat as an editor.

Gundappa’s erudition in Tamil has created a niche for him in the field of cultural studies in Kannada. Dravidian antecedents of Kannada language and literature deserve an in depth study in the context of our times and Gundappa has made available, many works translated directly from Tamil. He has translated many ancient classics of Tamil such as ‘Tirukkural’, ‘Manimekhalai’, ‘Shilappadikaram’, ‘Avvayaar’, ‘Peryapurana’, ‘Naalmanikaduku’ ‘Tiruvachakam’, ‘Perungathai’ and ‘Ulaganeethi’. He has tried his best to retain the original Tamil flavor and not succumb to the simple method of using Sanskrit equivalents. His efforts to use the syntactic patterns of ancient Tamil have thrown open the doors to a serious search for similar patterns in Kannada. He has translated a few works from Kannada to Tamil.

He has translated the ‘History of Tamil Literature’ by Mu.Varadarajan, “Bharatiyavara kavitegalu’ by Subrahmany Bharathi and “en charitrai’ an auto biography of U.Swaminatha Iyyer the great classical scholar of Tamil.

Gundappa’s translation of the stories of Count Leo Tolstoy is popular even to this day. He has brought out Kannada versions of ‘Svapna Vasavadattaa’ and the one act plays of Bhasa the Sanskrit playwright. He has rendered the long poem ‘Sohrab and Rustum’ by Mathew Arnold in Kannada. ‘Nara-Rakshasa’ is the Kannada rendering of the novel “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by R.L.Stevenson. He has a written a short treatise on the art of translation entitled ‘Kannadi Seve’

‘Adipurana Sangraha’ (1954) ranks among the most important contributions of Gundappa to Kannada Studies. This is an abridged version of the classic ‘Adipurana’ by Pampa. This was a trend setting venture because many of the ancient classics were later brought out in their abridged versions. This task was dictated by the modern secular attitude prevailing during that period and many parts that dealt with religious themes were invariably omitted. Gundappa has given a scholarly introduction to Jainism as well as its mythology and literature in this work. The story of Adipurana is narrated in lucid Kannada. He has provided a very useful glossary at the end. ‘Adipurana Sangraha’ is deemed to be a model for such abridged versions.

He was an author on his own merit. Some of his poems meant for children are anthologized even to this day. ‘Chataki mattu itara kavanagalu’ is a collection of his poems. His original works include ‘’, Pampa Parichaya’, ‘Thomas Alva Edison’, (Biography) ‘Florence Nightingale’ (Biography) and ‘Kannada Vyakarana Pathagalu’.

The dedicated service of L.Gundappa has earned him a few rewards such as Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award, Devraja Bahaddur Prize etc.


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