B. M. Srikantaiah

(3 January 1884 - 5 January 1946 / Turuvekere taluk, Tumkur district, Karnataka / India)

Biography of B. M. Srikantaiah

B. M. Srikantaiah poet

B M Srikanthaiah (or B M Shri) (Kannada: ಬಿ ಎಮ್ ಶ್ರೀಕಂಠಯ್ಯ) was one of the most influential authors, writers and translators of Kannada literature.

Early Life and Education

He was born in Sampige village, Tumkur District Gubbi taluk. He studied at Srirangapatanam and Mysore, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from a Bangalore College and a Master of Arts degree in Madras.

Career

He joined Maharaja College of Mysore in Mysore as a Lecturer. After completing 25 years of service there he moved to Central College in Bangalore, later Vidyaranya College under the K. E. Board in Dharwad. He was also an honorary professor at the Kannada Department of the University of Mysore when it was founded in 1927.

One of this most famous works is the translation of the hymn Lead, Kindly Light as Karunaalu Baa Belake.

Known as the Kannada Kanva for his guardianship of Kannada Literature, he was instrumental in encouraging and promoting Kannada and inspiring writers such as Kuvempu and G. P. Rajarathnam to write in Kannada, at a time when English was becoming the common medium.

He championed the cause of Kannada and encouraged a generation of writers to express in their mother-tongue.

His book of translations, English Geethegalu is one of the famous books.

English Geethegalu inspired several budding poets, thus laying the foundation of a new pattern of lyrical poetry in Kannada. In his poems, Sri experimented with new forms of metre and diction. The three poems of his own composition in the collection of poems Honganasugalu (Golden Dreans, 1943) affords examples of his vision of life and his deep love for the motherland. These poems were composed three decades prior to their publication. His Shukrageete sums up his vision of life thus: "Truth alone shall triumph and not untruth, Knowledge, and not ignorance, is nectar. Bow to VishwabhArati - mother India of Universal Vision, and not to anything less"

Sri Gave impetus to the genre of poetic drama by writing three plays- Gadayuddha nataka (1925), Ashwathaman(1929), and Parasikaru(1935)- all Tragedies, on the Greek pattern.

For the first time, tragedy appeared on the kannada stage, Gadayuddha modelled on poet Ranna's epic of the same name.

He was awarded the 'RAja SEvAsakta' award by the Maharaja of Mysore and was the president of the Kannada Sahithya Sammelana in 1938 at Gulburga. A circle in Bangalore where 100 feet road and CMH road meet, has been named after him: B M Sri Circle.

B. M. Srikantaiah's Works:

Gadayuddha Natakam (play)
Aswatthaaman (Play)
Honganasugalu (Poetry)
English Geetagalu (English Songs, 1921)[Translation].
Kannadigarige olleya saahitya (Good literature for Kannada People)[Literary Criticism]
Kannada Kaipidi (History of Kannada Literature)[Literary Criticism]

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