M. Govinda Pai [Rashtrakavi] (1883–1963 / Manjeshwar, Kasaragod, Kerala / India)
Biography of M. Govinda Pai
Manjeshwar Govinda Pai (Kannada: ಮಂಜೇಶ್ವರ ಗೋವಿಂದ ಪೈ), also known as Rastrakavi Govinda Pai, was a Kannada poet. He was awarded the first Rashtrakavi title by the Madras Government (Kasaragod district was part of South Kanara district of Madras state prior to the States reorganisation on 1 November 1956). Rashtrakavi M. Govinda Pai was the one who put Manjeshwar on the literary maps of India.
M. Govinda Pai was born on 23 March 1883 in a Konkani GSB family at his maternal grandfather's house in Manjeshwar. He was the first son of Mangalore Sahukaar Thimmappa Pai and Devaki Amma. Govinda Pai went to school in Mangalore. For college education, Pai went to Madras (Chennai). Due to the sudden death of his father, he had to return back.
Govinda Pai was also a prolific prose writer. His earliest composition in prose was Srikrishna Charita (1909) which provides for remarkable reading. His best works written in blank verse, viz., Golgotha (the last days of Christ, published in 1937), Vaisakhi (The last days of Buddha, published in 1946) and Hebberalu (The Thumb, the story of Ekalavya retold, published in 1946) have won for Govinda Pai a lasting place in the gallery of the greatest poets of Kannada literature. Gommata Jinastuti was his first published work.
He was able to read and write fluently 25 languages including Tulu, Sanskrit, Telagu, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Persian, Pali, Urdu, Greek and Japanese apart from Kannada, Konkani and English. He translated several Japanese works into Kannada.
His poems are...
Gilivindu (1930) (Parrot Flocks)
His first collection Gilivindu consists of 46 poems exhibits poets perspective towards life, his love for the country, his responsiveness to the nature around him and his love for Kannada.
Nandadeepa (The enduring lamp)
His Nandadeepa consisting of 37 poems, a tribute of divotion to God.
His other works are...
Hebberalu (On Ekalavya)
Chitrabhanu (On Quit India movement)
Vaishaki (About the last days f the Buddha)Mannina Sogadu
In 1949, the then Madras Government conferred on him the "Rashtrakavi" Award.The other Kannada poet who was conferred "Rashtrakavi" title later was Kuvempu. M.Govinda Pai was the president of Kannada Sahitya Sammelana at Bombay in 1951.
On his 125th birth anniversary, a national award was instituted in his name and his old house at Manjeshwar is mooted to be a national monument.
In Udupi near to his native place, "ಗೋವಿಂದ ಪೈ ಸಂಶೋಧನ ಕೇಂದ್ರ" ( "Research Institute of Govind Pai") is established near MGM College of Dr. T.M.A Pai Foundation of Manipal instituitions. Other centres in the viscinity are Yakshagana & Janapada Samshodhana Kendra, Kanakadasa Peetha and Tulu lexicon project.
Govind Pai was acknowledged by the Kerala government also. The Govind Pai memorial college under Kannur university in Manjeswar is a testimonial for this. Manjeshwara ,though a muslim majority area who predominantly speaks malayalam has always appreciated Govind Pai for his literary efforts