V. K. Gokak

(9 August 1909 - 28 April 1992 / Savanur, Haveri district, Karnataka / India)

Biography of V. K. Gokak

V. K. Gokak poet

Vinayaka Krishna Gokak (Kannada: ವಿನಾಯಕ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಗೊಕಾಕ್) was a major writer in Kannada language and a scholar of English and Kannada literatures. He was fifth among eight recipients of Jnanpith Award (1990) for Kannada language for his epic Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi. Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi that deals with the vedic age is perhaps the longest epic written in any language in the 20th Century. In 1961, Gokak was awarded the Padmashree from the Government of India for Dyava Prithvi.

Academic Life

Vinayak Gokak was a student of literature at Karnatak College Dharwar. Gokak with a first at Oxford in a colonial India, was a charismatic Indian professor of English. After returning from Oxford, he in the year 1938 became the principal of Willingdon college, Sangli. Through the years, Gokak had the privilege of heading colleges, universites and elite institutes in India. He served as the first Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning at Puttaparthi, Anantapur District between 1981 - 1985. His novel Samarasave Jeevana is considered one of the representative works of Navodaya literature in Kannada.

Honours and awards

1. Presidentship of the 40th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in 1958.
2. Honorary doctorates from the Karnatak University.
3. Honorary doctorates from the Pacific University of the USA.
4. Central Sahitya Akademi award for his 'Dyava Prithivi' in 1961.
5. Jnanpith award-for his Bharatha sindhu rashmi, in 1990.

V. K. Gokak's Works:

Epics
Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi

Novels
Samarasave Jeevana

Poetry Collections
Urnanaabha
Abyudaya
Baaladeguladalli
Dhyava Pruthvi (Kannada Saahithya Academy Award)
Samudra Geethegal

Translations
Voices of the Himalaya: arun. translated by the authors, Kamala Ratnam, V.K. Gokak and others. (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1966. vi, 70 p. Poems by celebrated poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'

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English Words

Speech that came like leech-craft
And killed us almost, bleeding us white!
You bleached our souls soiled with impurities.
You bathed our hearts amid tempestuous seas
Of a purer, drearier, delight.
O tongues of fire! You came devouring
Forests of nightshade, creepers that enmesh,
Trees that never remembered to grow,
And shrubs that were but thornmills in our flesh.

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