Dharwad: ‘Vishwa Vinootana, Vidya Chetana, Sarva Hrudaya Sanskari, Jaya Bharati, Karunaada Saraswati, Gudi Gopura Shilpa Kalakruti…’ Thus goes the hymn, the rendition of which marks the commencement of the annual convocation of Karnatak University, Dharwad.
Composed by Channaveera Kanavi, the song is the poet’s ode to his alma mater, wherein he celebrates the varsity’s rich legacy of excellence, academic rigour and its eternal tryst with knowledge. Not many students who graduate from KUD would have known that the song was composed by one of the most distinguished alumnus of the varsity.
Respected by his fellow writers and litterateurs for his singular talent, Kanavi was loved by his friends for his soft manner and affable nature. Writer Veena Shanteshwar summed up Kanavi’s literary legacy succinctly: “Poetry is all this is said; and so much unsaid, and this applies to Kanavi’s poetry, suggestiveness and sensitivity are the two major traits of his verse.”
The understated loftiness in Kanvi’s poetry instilled many values in life in his readers, added Veena. “Many literature students of my generation grew up into gentle-hearted admirers of nature, influenced by his poetry. Kannadigas, particularly the denizens of Dharwad, will remain eternally grateful to him for this,” she said.
In an interview he gave to this correspondent, Kanavi acknowledged his debt to KUD, the environment of which he said had been conducive to his growth as a poet. “The creative atmosphere at Karnatak College and the beautiful natural environment of Dharwad inspired me to write poems,” he had said.
For the poet, securing admission to Karnatak College was a dream come true. It was while writing the Mulki exam – the public examination for class seven students – at the Training College for Men that he first saw the college, and when he enrolled at the college a few years later, it appeared as though his destiny had led him there.
Kanavi considered himself fortunate to have learnt at the feet of literary Titans such as Vinayak Krishna Gokak, who was the then principal. As a student, he wrote poems, humorous limericks and articles, which he promptly presented at literary events. The many awards he won during his formative years were a precursor to his illustrious innings in literature. When Gokak and Da Ra Bendre wrote the foreword for his collections of poems, it was destiny rounding off yet another loop in his life.
In his wife, Shantadevi Kanavi, he found an ideal companion, both in life and letters. A distinguished writer herself, Shantadevi authored many novels and collections of short stores.
Conferred the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award in 1976, and the honorary award in 1984, Shantadevi passed away in May 2020 – a loss that shook Kanavi greatly.
The levity with which Kanavi treated the problems of life in his verse was a trait that held him in good stead in life as well.
He once said that the remuneration of Rs 15 he received from All India Radio, where he was often invited to recite poems and participate in radio plays, helped him pay the rent for his room. Kanavi, with like-minded friends and students, formed the ‘Kavyanubhava Mantapa’ that served as an informal stage where young literary talents could express themselves among peers.


Source link