SANCHIYA HONNAMMA, 1680 A.D.
Century (Approximately 1680 A.D.)
in Chamarajanagara district, the royal court of Chikkadevaraya.
Known (Vokkaliga?) (Belonged to the profession of providing
betel nuts and other condiments to the king. She was a disciple of
Singararya and Tirumalarya
Varadevate (sarasa sAhityada
is one among just a handful of women poets mentioned in the traditional histories
of Kannada literature. However, unlike Kanti and Muktayakka, Honnamma has at
least written a complete work. Helavanakatte
Giriyamma also has composed a work in Sangatya.
This does not really mean that there was a total absence of women’s writings during
this period. This situation has arisen because of a marginalization of women and
their achievements in a patriarchal society. One has to take note of the fact that
even ‘Hadibadeya Dharma’ by Honnamma
is more of a guide book meant for aspiring wives and the duties prescribed are none
other than those imposed by the male controlled patriarchal system.
‘Hadibadeya Dharma’ was first published in the
Karnataka Kavya Kalanidhi
series edited by the celebrated team of M.A.Ramanuja
Iyyengar and S.G.Narasimhchar.
A thoroughly revised edition was published in 1940, edited by D.Champabai.
This was published by the
. Two editions with prose translations
have appeared in recent decades. One of them is renders the text in modern prose
and this task is done by N.Ranganathasharma a renowned
scholar in Sanskrit.
‘Hadibadeya Dharma’ contains nine chapters and
constitutes 479 poems. The fact that they are in sangatya
meter which can be rendered in to music with utmost ease is note worthy. The author
is caught in a dilemma between her inner feelings and the value system imposed from
above. She does speak about gender bias and makes bold to say that it is not a loss
if one begets a daughter. To say that the birth of a son is nothing
special, needed some courage during those days. She has culled out her
material from religious texts such as the ‘Manusmriti’
and literary epics like the ’Ramayana’ and the ‘Mahabharatha’.
She sets out to create a simple code of conduct for a newly married woman in a transparent
style. The mode of narration is persuasive and the advice sounds very appropriate
within that frame work. In a way this shows the hollow nature of a humanistic approach
in a demanding society. Of course there is an under current of sorrow and disappointment.
One finds thinly veiled instances of feminine angst. She has not hesitated to give
advice to men also regarding the treatment of women folk.
This is essentially an ethical code with out any literary
pretensions. However a simile here and a
turn of words there do succeed in charming the reader. She has shown lyrical capabilities
in situations that are suffused with human emotions. The portrayal of a woman waiting
for her husband is very poetic. ‘Hadibadeya
Dharma’ should be studied as an extremely rare instance where in a woman gains an
entry in to the portals of literature.
Hadibadeya Dharma (hadibadeya
dharma) (The duties of a faithful wife)
1. ‘Honnammana Hadibadeya
Dharma- vivechanatmaka prabandha’
by Sadananda N. Naik, 1968,
. 2. ‘Hadibadeya
dharma-ondu adhyayana’ by
Madhu Venka Reddy, 1995,
Kannada Sahitya Parishattu,
Honnamma’ by H.M.Shankaranarayana
Rao, 1959, Prasaranga,
Dharma-ondu Parichaya by
N.Kumuda, 1999, Chetana
Bookhouse (Akhila Agencies),
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