It was quite an impressive event, the grand sammelan our Kannada Sahitya Parishat had organized sometime back, roping in all sections of Kannadigas. And the enthusiasm they en masse displayed was thrilling! As I watched the pageant on T.V, my mind automatically raced back to that sammelan of many years back. . Being younger, hence able to commute let alone withstand the melee, we women writers put in full attendance with all enthusiasm.
To be frank, that was a sort of exposure for me. My name having become a bit known due to a few popular novels, and the film of mass appeal- ‘Sepoy Ramu' with late great actor Rajkumar as the hero’ (based on my novel ‘Barale innu.... Yamune? (Kannada), I was able to carry myself. Also, the patronage of T.Sunandamma - the famous humorist of our Kannada literature, acted as passport.
We both had that common bond- Humor. Such sammelans are suitable venues for meeting each other, for striking friendship, and listening to their discussions vis-à-vis. Meeting literary giants like Ta.Ra.Su, Pu Ti Na, L.S.Sheshagirirao, Venkatasubbayya, Gokak, A.N. Subbarao and the like, and interacting with them elevated our mind to some extent .
Very avidly did we listen to the lectures of the scholars on the dais - each one proficient in his field imparting a fund of knowledge ! Yes, verily an infectious inspiring atmosphere, except for a jarring note. One of the scholars tore most of the writings of women writers to pieces, and caught the next train back home before the enraged gang could confront him!
It was like tackling the hornet’s nest! Refusing to take the insults (as they termed it) lying down, the second sex showed their anger through vehement articles, showered newspapers with letters to the editors, and in all probability, to that villain also. The impromptu front formed by the ladies who had taken up the challenge, quoted their writers as being very gifted- in no way less, but after some time the eruption subsiding, it adopted a healthier form. Taking up the criticism vented as a sort of challenge, Lekakiyaru (as the women writers are known in Kannada), rose to the occasion, and Lo! Writings of superior caliber in all fields of kannada literature began to sprout forth- evolve to greater forms, and inspiring to the extent of many men writers adopting secretively women’s name (may be their wives?) to get into the market. Whatever it be, today, those Lekakiyaru who took up the gauntlet, have really proved themselves and carved a paramount place of their own in the firmament of our Kannada Sahitya.
To quote a few names of us writer’s ‘ Middle period’, late Triveni - (pseudonym of the writer) became famous by beginning a new trend in fiction-writing. Most of her themes centered around psychiatry, two most outstanding novels being ‘Sharapanjara’ , and ‘Bekkina kannu’ .
Another contemporary writer known by the pen name ‘Vani’, became very popular through her portrayal of family life. Her novels ‘Shubhamangala’ ,and ‘Eradu kanasu’ etc brought her immense accolade, in addition to being pictured.
Late M.K. Indira became a household name by taking up a wide canvas for depicting the life around, and of Malenadu etc. Educated only up to primary school, married early, she was something of a marvel! So many prestigious awards, award-winning films! Her characterizations, narrative style were simply exquisite! And memory?
It seems the manuscript of her first novel- ‘Tungbhadra’ was lost by the publisher, and she had no second copy; Undaunted, she rewrote the entire book- huge though it was, from memory! It became a masterpiece, and made her- by winning a prestigious award. And that at the age of fortyfive! The Incident reminds one of the famous writers of ‘French revolution’- Thomas Carlyle who lost his manuscript of the famous book through the negligence of his friend. Likewise, he rewrote the mammoth work through sheer memory, and won laurels!.
Rightly has Thomas Addison said- ‘Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration’ ..
Late T. Sunandamma was another stalwart, carving a niche for herself in humor. Recipient of highest honors, and a mammoth book containing her writings signifies her achievements.
One other person has to be mentioned - late Dr.Nirupama, a versatile and prolific writer, considered as a genius by the literary world, and worthy of Jnanapeet award. !.
Likewise, there are so many successful Lekakiyaru in all fields that it is not possible to mention them all. Activated by exposure, education,and encouragement, many more are springing up, brightening, the firmament of our Kannada literature.
An important milestone was set in when ‘Lekakiyara sangha’ was started by Literary stalwarts ; H.S.Parvati, another noted name in Kannada literature, along with Dr.Nirupama, and with the guidance of the litterateur late G.Narayana, organized it with the main idea of bringing together all the Kannada women-writers into its fold, and pave the way for interaction. ‘Lekakiyara sangha,’ as it is known, has gained status after many years of tribulation, spreading its branches far and wide, and encouraging the worthy with prestigious awards- competition, in all spheres. The magazine ‘Lekaki’ published by it regularly, and sent to all its vast circle of members, is very interesting and informative.
Very recently, the seventh Sammelan ‘All India Lekakiyara Literature Conference' took place in Bangalore, and attended by prestigious persons in all walks of life and eminent litterateurs . The function conducted by Dr.Vasundhara Bhupati , President of ‘Lekakiyara sangha’, and with Nadoja Sarha Abubakar (eminent Kannada writer) as President of the Sammelan, with felicitation for the Jnanapita Awardee Prathiba Re (Orissa famous writer), was much lauded by one and all.