Sri H.L Nage Gowda
(Rtd. I.A.S. Officer)
Sri H.L Nagegowda a multifaceted person was one of the many elders from Kannada literary field who have enriched Kannada literature and Folk literary field. Nagegowda has contributed immensely to the nation as a poet, storywriter, novelist, translator, Folk compiler, and researcher and as a producer. H.L.Nagegowda was born on February 11, 1915 in Heraganahalli, Nagamangala Taluk in Mandya district. On completion of B.Sc., and L.L.B., and passing the Mysore Civil Services competitive examination in 1941, he was selected for the Gazetted post. He has served in various positions like Deputy Commissioner of Shivamogga from 1961-63, Deputy Commissioner of Chikkamagalur from 1963-65, Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina kannada from 1965-69, Labour Commissioner from 1969-72, Muzarai Commissioner from 1972-73 and member of public service commission from 1973-79. He was an efficient administrator and was known for his devotion to duty, punctuality, and discipline and humanitarian considerations while discharging his duties at various high posts.
Nagegowda initially studied science and law, took up a job in administration; but developed a keen interest in Kannada literature and Folk. His 50 literary creations bear ample testimony to H.L.Nagegowda's rich, deep and abundant experience of life. From "Nanaguve geejagana hakki" and "Kathe-Vyathe" written in his younger days to the latest work "Malenadina Valmiki", the essence of his writings reflect rural innocence, curiosity, simplicity, and intense love towards life -"Nannuru" filled with light humour tickles and refreshes the minds of readers- Novels "Doddamane" and "Sonneyinda sonnege" depicting the rural culture are the best works of Mr.Gowda - "Bhoomige banda gandharva" is a rare novel portraying the life of renowned musician Bhairavi Kempegowda - "Sarojinidevi", a biography, gives an unexaggerated, real and interesting life sketch of Sarojinidevi and is marked by his beautiful narrative style - "Bettadinda battalige" or "Coffiya kathe" writen by him when he was the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur is very interesting.
Just as his creative writings, Nagegowda's translated literary works have also not remained just as a transformation, but have emerged as though they have been re-created. This appreciation can be extended to all his works starting from Sir Walterscots "Kenilworth" to eight great volumes of "Pravasi kanda India" - His scholarly command over the English language has been adapted to the intricacies of kannada language in all respects - As you flip through the pages of Pravasi kanda India, the grandeur of Indian culture unfolds before your eyes - The following words of appreciation by Rashtrakavi Kuvempu serve as a commentary for Nagegowda's translation: "Through this great travelogue, Nagegowda has added a new stream to the Kannada literary channel and made Kannadiga's hearts swell with joy."
Gowda's life history under the title "Nagasiri' comprising four volumes- "Jeevana Yatre" (Journey of life), "Videsha Yatre" (Foreign tour), "Chunavana Yatre" (Election tour), "Janapada Yatre" (Janpada tour) running into 2500 pages marked with honest narration, self introspection, clear thoughts is a classic example to others - Dr.G.S.Shivarudrappa wholeheartedly extols this by saying, "In no other language we find such a great autobiography"
Being an inspiration to the Folk literature through Kannada Sahitya Parishath and other institutions, Nagegowda has earned name and fame as a Folk compiler and research scholar - "Sobane chikkammana padagalu', "Padapadave Namma Yedeyalli', "Helavaru mattu avara kavyagalu', "Dundumallige hoo buttili bandave' are the gems of contribution to the Folk movement - "Essentials of Karnataka folklore' the one and only work in English that reflects cursorily the Karnataka"s entire Folk tradition was published by Nagegowda jointly with Prof.H.A.Ramakrishna to create awareness of Karnataka Folk tradition amongst the non-Kannadigas and westerners
A thousand page "Kannada Janapada Kosha' brought out under the editorship of Nagegowda is a phonetic dictionary dedicated to Janapada - This is an invaluable source for Janapada enthusiasts, learners and to those engaged in research activities; a milestone in the field of encyclopedia - "Malenada Valmiki' comprising the essays "Kuvempu kanda kaadu' and "Naa kanda Kuvempu' written by Nagegowda at the ripe age of eighty eight not only depicts the soulful relationship between Kuvempu and Nagegowda but also introduces one to Kuvempu' s new stream of thoughts
Shri NageGowda was instrumental in the publishing of "Janapada Jagattu" a magazine giving information about Karnataka Folk literature and art forms for the past 26 years.
Karnataka Janapada Parishathh (Trust/prathishthana) was started by Shri.Gowda in 1979 with the sole aim of preserving, and propagating and rejuvenating folk culture, became the first institution of its kind and set an example to several Folk activities throughout Karnataka - Shri Nagegowda's collection of folk treasure has to its credit audio tapes of Folk music which is estimated to run for about 2000 hours, videos of folk art form rites and rituals - Which can be viewed for about 800 hours in addition to color transparencies whose number exceeds one thousand. A Documentary film "Sirigandha' about folk art, culture and customs produced under the able guidance of Shri Nagegowda was telecast in 108 episodes from Bangalore Dooradarshan and has earned applause from young and old alike. Besides, he was the first president of Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Academy for six years and conceived projects and prepared enough blueprints for another 25 years and was able to implement many of them.
'Janapada Loka' established near Ramanagara on Bangalore-Mysore highway spread on 15 acres is the dream child of Shri Nagegowda, and he has left no stones unturned to make this turn a reality. Today it has blossomed into a very significant Folk cultural center in the country.
Shri Nagegowda received several awards for the service he rendered in different fields like administration, literary work and Janapada world. To mention a few of them:
Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award (1974), Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1988), Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Academy Award (1990), Karnataka Nataka Academy Fellowship (1992), President of All India 64 th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (1995), Membership of Karnataka Vidhana Parishath (1995) and in the same year Felicitation by Sri Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andra Pradesh for being the eldest member at the South Indian states legislators conference in presence of Sri Deve Gowda, Prerana Award (1999), S.D.Jayaram Prashasthi, Sandesha Kannada Sahitya Prashasthi (2002), "V.R.S.T" Excellency Prashasthi from Indian public communication??? (2002), "Chunchashree Prashasthi" of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana (2002), The prestigious "Nadoja" Award of Kannada Vishwa Vidyalaya, Hampi (2002) and Pampa Prashasthi (2002).
Shri Nagegowda who established a permanent place for Karnataka Janapada by establishing Karnataka Janapada Parishath and Janapada Loka left us on 22 nd September 2005 leaving an indelible impression in the history of Karnataka.