K. V. Puttappa was born on 29th December 1904 of a well-to-do family of agriculturists. His father was Venkatappa and mother Seethamma. From his childhood, he imbibed everything he heard and saw from the forest-rich land of Malenad area. Plant and animal world provided constant company to this shy and self entertaining and ever-inquisitive boy. Folk songs and plays left a strong impression. After village-schooling he came to Mysore for higher learning and it was in this culture-rich city that his poetic genius bloomed. He was drawn to English literature and turned an avid reader of Shelley, Milton, Wordsworth, Tolstoy and other writers. He first started writing in English and brought out a collection named 'Beginners Muse'. When he presented a copy to Irish poet James Cousens, then in Mysore, he appreciated the young poet's efforts. However, he advised him to write in Kannada to reach the masses. That was a turning point (1921). Puttappa's stay in Ramakrishna Ashram, brought spiritual lacing to his writing. Influence of Shri Ramakrishna's teachings and Swami Vivekananda's life left a deep and profound impression. His biographics of both, are land-marks in Kannada literature.
He chaired the 1957 Kannada Sahitya Sammelana at Dharwad and was conferred honorary D.Litt. by the University of Mysore and by the Karnatak, Bangalore and Gulbarga universities, Padmavibhushana by the Government of India.
And He was appointed as Kannada lecturer after his completion of Master's degree, at Mysore itself. He continued at his alma mater and finally retired as Vice Chancellor of Mysore University. During his tenure, study, teaching, research and publications in Kannada received a big boost. Manasagangotri, his brain child, a complex of huge campus with faculties of Sciences, Arts Extension and specialization in many branches of learning came up. His writing continued. Out of the seventy books he wrote, thirty eight comprise of poetry and one epic, Shri Ramayana Darshanam. He wrote fourteen plays with mythological themes but with relevant and modern interpretation. He condemned superstitions and upheld human virtues.
Kuvempu strode the world of modern Kannada literature like a colossus, starting a whole new school of thought in poetic tradition and bringing unprecedented glory to Kannada in the linguistic and literary sphere of India. His creativity took Kannada poetry to a new peak and immortalised him in the hearts and minds of generations of poets to come, and he brought a new sense of pride to the Kannada-speaking masses at large. Kuvempu was highly prolific as a poet and produced over 30 major collections of poems in a period spanning five decades. But his creative intellect also expressed itself brilliantly in his various plays, novels and critiques. He also created significant children's literature and translations.
"Spirituality, love and commitment are the main features of Kuvempu's writings"
Literary works of Kuvempu:
Bommana Halliya Kindara Jogi
Nenapina Doniyalli (Autobiography)
Kanuru Subbamma Heggadithi
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