The Lovely Land
Situated in the southern part of India, the province of Karnataka spreads over the Deccan Plateau. At 300B.C., it had formed the southern tip of Mauryan empire. Its boundaries enlarged or receded swaying to the drum beats of history & today it accounts for a sixteenth area of India & has a population of about 45 million. Its language is Kannada & its people are known as kannadigas. The three distinct regions are a narrow coastal area along Arabian Sea; high hills, the Western Ghats; & sprawling plains towards the east.
The name of the land Karnataka has come from `Kari-nadu` meaning the land of black soil say the scholars, & some others hold that `Karunadu` also means beautiful country; either way the land is celebrated as beautiful throughout its ancient literature.
The water-soaked western strip across the Arabian sea is humid & warm in summer, water-soaked in monsoon, profuse with coconut grooves & paddy fields criss crossed by strips of silvery streams & sparkling stretches of sand.The hilly uplands of Malnad, One of the wettest regions of the world, where the bamboo flourishes wild & areca, teak, rosewood & matti are grown. It is also the home of the stately gaur & langur. In its southern reaches frequent kheddas are held to capture roaming groups of elephants. Also the swift deer & the deadly tiger, whose eyes burning bright in forest night roam animatedly in the forests.The east of the ghats is strikingly bare. This elevated stretch is supposed to be the oldest land on the earth where ancient rocks of earth are seen jutting in & out odd shapes. Rivers like Cauvrey, Sharavathi & Ghataprabha pass through upgraded valleys & resulting in water-falls & occasional rapids. The torrental fall of these rivers have been harnessed to generate hydro-electric power in an area where black coal is scarce.
The Capital par excellence
The Capital par excellence Bangalore today has become an Industrial Metropolis. It is also called India`s science city. Sophisticated industries in the public sector employ thousands and thousands of workers. It is also called the Electronics city because most of the country`s basic electronic industries are based here. It is the fastest growing city in Asia.
Aircraft-building, telecommunication, aeronautics, machine manufacture, etc., have taken giant strides here. Bangalore was known for its salubrious climate which however is now being debated because of the accelerated progress of modern industry. It was called an air-conditioned city and a pensioner`s paradise but with these advances it is to be seen how long it could retain these epithets.
Karnataka is beautiful not only in the eyes of her sons and daughters. She captivates any one who sets eyes on her. It was the great Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta who traversed all the way from Magadha to distant Sravanabelagola (Karnataka) to lay his remains in this land before entering the Kingdom of God. To sum up in the incomparable words of Shakespeare - "age cannot wither her charm, nor custom stale her infinite variety".
The origins of Karnataka emerge through the mists of antiquity. Celebrated in lore and legend, an array of dynasties that marched through this land is thrilling. The grandiloquent temples, the sturdy Indo-Arabic edifices, the Gomata colossus stretching itself to the very sky in all its naked glory, transport one into a historic dream sequence. It is here the Vedantic trio radiated through their lofty teachings and Basava preached for a life of good conduct and self-surrender and Haridasas pleaded for
spiritual vision in celestial songs celebrating the glory of bhakti. It is also a land filled with aroma of Jasmine & Sandalwood and has mines producing gold.
Through the mists of antiquity enveloping the origins of Karnataka, we find that it was celebrated in lore and legend. It is claimed as the birthplace of puranic heroes, Parasurama and Hanuman. The earliest references to this land were made in Mahabharatha, Ramayana and Jain legends. Its two thousands years of history reveals a profuse growth of its language, literature, art and culture. The first poetical classic Kavirajamarga of emperor Nrupathunga describes the land as stretching between Godavari and Cauvery. The area has shrunk now but his description of the people as - "valiant fighters, poets, rulers - beautiful, gentle, noble, virtuous, proud, fierce, wise and of superior intelligence" is amply borne out by history.
Array of Dynasties
The historian is thrilled by the array of dynasties that marched their armies to battle and ruled over this land. The Chalukyas, Kadambas, Rastrakutas, Hoysalas, Gangas, Vijayanagar Rajas, Hyder, Tippu and the Wodeyars have left their king-sized footprints on its sands. The chroniclers of art note with delight the exquisite Chalukyan carvings of the Badami - Aiyhole - Pattadakal temple complex, as cradles of temple architecture. The bejewelled and ornate sculptures of Hoysala temple at Belur, Halebid and Somanathpur are poems in stone. It is here the skilled artists have treated stone like ivory and executed filigree work of greatest finesse.
The massive carvings of Vijayanagar Temples at Hampi with their florid exuberance is another facet
of the same craft.The over-ornate and voluptuous dancers carved out of stone at the Halebid and Belur temples almost burst out graces of Indian dancing. The sturdy, monumental Ibrahimrousa in Bijapur, the layered fort which contains mystery of the whispering echoes at Golgumbaz - the biggest dome ever constructed, are the last words in decorative magnificence. They are among the finest specimens of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The serene strength of the Gomata monolith standing aloft stretching up to the very sky in all its naked glory is an embodiment of renunciation. The smile that lights its masculine face washes away all the worries that pester our mundane existence.
Language & Culture
Woven into the warp and woof of Kannada literature are the Jain puranas and incomparable stately works of the three great gems ( as they are called) Pampa, Ranna, Janna. Ratnakara is a great poet who in lucid sangatya produced his magnum-opus, so simple and flowing yet so engrossing and evocative. The great poet Sarvajna with his 3-lined Tripadi has the last word on all matters and his aphorisms are delivered in hammerlike strokes. He is the poet of the people and the most quoted.
The great poets of Kannada are too numerous for mention. A few have produced epic verse comparable to Valmiki or Homer. The torrential and magnificent flow of Kumara Visa, the lyrical graces of Lakshimisha, the embellished passage of Shadakshari, the regale of Harihara, the rich and dramatic Harischandra Kavya of Raghavanka and the vast sweep of Ratnakaravarni match the best in world`s literature.
With the advent of English education, the influence of western literature and thought ushered in a new renaissance. The novel, short story, lyric, new drama and personal essay portray a new secular outlook. At the risk of invidiousness, we name a few of the leading figures of this movement- B.M. Sree, D.V.G, Masti, Kuvempu, Bendre, Karanth followed by Kailasam, Sriranga, Anakru, Gokak and Adiga.
B.M.Sree, called the high priest of new Kannada was a scholar in many languages. His influence was far reaching and was noted for its extraordinary creativeness and elevation of spirit. D.V. Gundappa, a man of enormous wisdom and clarity of thought wrote expansively illuminating many facets of life and thought. Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, not only wrote fine lyrical poetry, and drama but has also given us excellent stories and novels. Kuvempu, known for torrential sweep of poetic creativity, besides his many other great works gave us "Ramayana Darshana", imbibed with Miltonic grandeur. Karanth on the other hand has written novels which smell of the earth and have provided commentary pregnant with meaning on the complex social relationships of our times.He also produced massive scientific literature
for the young and treatises performing arts. He is responsible for reformation of the age-old Yakshagana. The rich music and mystic eloquence that enveloped the poetic utterances of Bendre have yet a spontaneity and vigour of folk utterances. His poetry belongs to the realm of music as also word-magic. In Kailasam, the habinger of the social drama, we find comedy entering the theater in an arresting way. His genius has been compared to that of Wilde and Shaw and his influence in changing the "puranic stage" by inducting into its structure social problems of the day is comparable to that of Ibsen. Gokak and Adiga are the exponents of new wave poetry and their influence on the language is enormous. Also it is to be noted that four of them are Jnanapith awardees and one recently has won the Kabir award.
Philosophers & Saints
To the philosopher, it is the land where the Vedantic trio spread their message of highest philosophical truths to all mankind. Adi Shankara, Madhwa and Ramanuja operated here to spread Upanishidic truths to mankind. Earlier, Basaveswara, Akkamahadevi and host of Shivasharanas sang vachanas in lucid Kannada and preached bhakti and righteous conduct to one and all. To read their evocative vachanas, meant for the highest as well as the lowest, irrespective of caste and creed, is to glimpse the very heaven itself (steal not, kill not, never tell a lie, get not angry, feel not contempt for others. This is internal purity, this is external purity). Can there be anything more simple and more profound?Then came the Haridasas, inspired saint singers with their padas interspersed with infinite piety and devotion. The central core of their teaching was `Hari bhakti` which enables one to attain proximity to God. Purandara Dasa, rightly called the forefather of Karnatak music has left thousands of padas. He was one of the greatest saints with an extraordinary range of vision. He had a rare sense of humor. His songs which preached surrender to Vittala have an elusive fragrance, poetic fervour, extraordinary logic and cutting satire. Kannada language itself passed from the ponderous Halegannada to easy flowing Hosagannada and the message went home to one and all. The endless number of songs of Sripadaraya, Kanakadasa, Vadiraya, Vijaya Dasa, & others. Haridas brought upanishidic truths to people in melodious music which echo throught on Karnataka even today.
Karnataka has the second largest numbers of inscriptions in the whole of India. Beginning from the Asokan edicts(B.C.300) to the inscriptions of the Rajas of Vijayanagar, they are legion. "Hero-stones" and sculptured panels proliferate throughout the land. Karnataka is popularly , perhaps rightly, known as the birth place of Indian music. The most unique feature of Karnataka is that this is the only province where both the main styles of Indian Music (Karnatak and Hindustani) prevail side by side. While in the north of Tungabhadra, is wedded to the Karnatak system. The term Karnatak music does not mean music of this state, but denoted a broad tradition with distinctive features of articulation and grammar which regin supreme in all the four southern states- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.Karnataka has also played a very significant part in the development of lakshana(theory). It may appear paradoxical that some of the great stalwarts of the Hinidustani tradition today are from north Karnataka. Mansoor, Bhimsen, Joshi, Rajguru, Hangal, to name a few, are top notch artisits in the Hindustani style. As for Karnataka music, even in the post-Tyagaraja period, under the patronage of the Wodeyars. Sadashiva Rao, Muthiah Bhagavatar and the incomparable Vasudevacharya composed hundreds of Keertanas of exquisite beauty. Old Mysore is know, as the beehive of Vynikas. The legendary Veene Sheshanna who was one of the greatest Vynikas played on half a dozen other instruments too. It is said of him that if you gave him a log of wood and a thick rope he would produce melodies out of them. He was also a great composer (Vaggeyakara)as he produced more than 50 incomparable compositions of his own (swara Jathis, Varnas, Keerthanas and bejwelled, ornagte, lilt-laden Tillanas of titillating quality), Bidaram Krishnappa was a musician par-excellence. His disciple T.Chowdaiah, the famed 7-stringed violinist was considered a genius of the music world. To sing at Mysore was a stamp of respectability and even famed northern musicians Nattan Khan, Fiaz Khan, Abbas Khan, Barakatula Khan, Gohar Jan and Indubala were eager to perform at Mysore durbart. Ustad Vilayat Hussian Khan stayed for a decade in Mysore as a guest of the durbar. They were all Asthan-Vidwans.As regards Musicology(lakshana) the greatest number of texts were contributed by Kannadigas whose domain extended even to Akbar`s durbar. Someswara, Sarangadeva, Kallinatha, Ramamatya, Adilshah (Emperor of Bijapur) Pundarika Vitala( in Akbar`s durbar) and even Govinda Dikshita and Venkatamakhi (though they were in Tanjore durbar) to mention a few outstanding musiclogists who were of Karnataka origin. Many of their texts are basic to both systems of music. Their roots lay here in Karnataka.
Dance and Drama
Bharatanatyam has grown strong roots in Karnataka and the Hoysala queen, Shantaladevi, herself was believed to be a great exponent of this art. All the temple towns had a coterie of
dancers, (the Devadasi system). Later the Mysore kings patronized this art and there were great performing artists attached to the palace. The names of Jatti Tayamma, Jejamma and Venkatalakshamma (who is still with us) stand out as famous dancers of the Mysore school. This school particularly is noted for its accent on Abhinaya and lasya. Once a preserve of a professional sect, it has been taken up by girls from decent families. A number of teaching institutes have sprung up. We have a number of dancers giving performance in and out of season.
The vigorous revival of interest in this great art doubtless augurs well for the future. There is again a lot of enthusiasm generated in the theatre movement. Amateur troupes have taken over the role of professional companies. Theatre lovers are growing in number and there is a lot of experimentation. Kailasam and Sriranga are the pioneers of the changing theatre scene. Nowdays various plays belonging to different genre are being put on stage and the movement steadily gathering strength.Karnad, Karanth and Kambara have turned out exquisite plays and the theatre today is always ever full.
The People of Karnataka
The Kannada people are by nature friendly, soft spoken and undemonstrative. They are skeptical of pushfullness and ebullience, but inside they are deeply conscious of their rich heritage, hidden behind a façade of diffidence. Hospitality to other cultures is spontaneous with them. They are ungrudgingly tolerant. Mellowness and sanity are the hallmarks of Kannada culture. They distrust fanaticism.
Aroma of Sandal
The mention of Karnataka evokes the image of oldest rocks jutting out in odd shapes, forests of Malnad soaked in rain, barren stretches of Maidan, towering temples, thousands of tanks, swift flowing rivers and streams skirting their way across the region, The sweet and everlasting fragrance of sandal wood without which poetry would have been much poorer is found in plenty in the forest of Karnataka. The god and the lovers are smeared with "Chandana" the paste of sandalwood, You have exquisite descriptions of this in all religious and erotic poetry. The aroma of white Jasmine and yellow sampige and ripe jack fruit fill the languid air of the region.
Caradamom and pepper grow in abundance all across the forest of Malnad.The glitter of gold from Kolar mines and the shimmering silks have been celebrated in song and verse. Elephants roam in unhindered isolation all across the thick grown forests of the west coast.
The Gudigaras of Sorab, Sagar and Kumta regions are some of the world`s greatest craftsmen with their matchless carvings in sandal and ivory. Karnataka is also famous for the coffee of Coorg and Chimagalur. Shimoga happens to be the world capital for the best arecanut which is an auspicious offering to any guest of visitor; it is also chewed along with betel leaves - an ubiquitours habit spread all over India.
A Veritable Grainery
There is almost nothing that does not grow in Karnataka. Rice is the king of crops in coastal soil & in irrigated eastern plateau. We behold mango & cocnut groves across the land. Jowar, ragi, groundnut & oil seeds are growen in parts of north Karnataka & Mysore. Wheat is grown in Dharwar & Bijapur. Cotton reigns supreme in black soil belt tobacco is the favorite cash crop in
Belgaum. With Coffee in Coorg & Tea in Niligiri & spices in Sirsi & Siddapur. We witness almost a riot of fruits in South Canara where each house is a veritable orchard with all varieties of mango, jackfruit, pineapple, cashew in abundance. The most common trees all over the land are banyan, peepul, tamrind & neem & another tree which occurs all over Karnataka is the Sandalwood.
Karnataka is as well a tourist paradise. The herds of elephants, bison, gaur and langur roaming across Bandipur and Nagarahole, the Yakshangana dancers bedecked with jewels and colorful costumes swinging vigorously, the turbulent leap of Sharavathi at Jog falls, the myriad colored fountains of Brindavan, the ethereal glow of Mysore Palace splendidly lit up and the beaches of Karwar which Tagore described as the best in the world are sights for Gods.The Sun setting behind a hundred hillocks at Agumbe, the granite boulders and hill forts of Bellary and Chitradurga, the temples of
Badami and Aihole scooped out of caves, the monolithic Gomata colossus, tall and serene and the granite bull of Chamundi, the devastated ruins of Hampi, not to mention the world`s most exquisite Hoysala temples and the domes of Golgumbaz make this land a tourist paradise.
Under one State
Under the British, Kannada speaking areas had been torn asunder. The old Mysore State which had nine districts was the unit to which was added in 1956, under the realignment of linguistic states, Kannada speaking areas of then Bombay province (Dharwar, Belgaum, Bijapur and Karwar) Madras (Bellary and South Canara), Hyderabad (Gulbarga, Raichur and Bidar), and Coorg. Thus we have now 27 districts in all with a population of 45 million.
Kannada is one of the oldest languages in India and has a colourful history of some 15 centuries. It is poetically described as sweet like peeled plantain and fragrant like musk in incense. It has absorbed a lot of Sanskrit and adopted many Persian, Marathi and Urdu words for administrative and legal convenience. The modern influence has mainly come from the West to such an extent that our poets and especially dramatists are swayed by Brecht, Camus, Kafka and Sartre apart from Shakespeare, Shaw and the Greek dramatists.
Industry & Commerce
The Beginning of the `Model State`
After the fall of Tippu in 1700, the Wodeyars who ruled Mysore were fortunate in getting able administrators like Rangacharlu, Sheshadri Iyer, Sir M. Visweswarayya and Sir. Mirza Ismail. Sheshadri Iyer constructed the first hydro-electric works in Asia in Shivanasamudra.
Sir M. Visveswarayya known for fastidiousness in all matters, was a visionary of planned economy and an early crusader for industrialisation. He was the originator of the multipurpose river valley schemes (decades before President Roosevelt introduced the Tennesse Valley Authority in USA). With the help of these able administrators Mysore had earned the epithet of a model state. Sir.M Visweswarayya,the Spearhead of Industrialisation
It is indeed Sir. M Visweswarayya who spearheaded the movement for industrialisation by his slogan "Industralise or perish" & he became a legend in his own time and was called "the father of planning in India." Historians refer to him as the architect of modern Mysore. He was appointed Diwan of erstwhile Mysore state from 1912-1918. He lived beyond his hundred years, being active to the very end. As a first step to create an infrastructure to make Mysore an industrialised state, he setup the Mysore Economic Conference, to outline plans for industry. Then he founded the Mysore Bank, the Chamber of Commerce, Chamarajendra Technical Institute, The Mechanical Engineering School, etc. The Mysore University, Kannada Sahitya Parishad, Century Club, Modern Hindu Hotel, Mysore-Arasikere railway line, Chickabalapur rail link, Sandal Oil factory, Silk factory, Agricultural school were all started by him to serve as a base for building an industrial state.
Sir. M Visweswarayya Also he built the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam (124 feet with sluice gates) and Bhadravati Iron and Steel factory. He had also suggested many more railway lines, he activated the work of the Representative Assembly and started the Mysore Economic Journal. Bharat Ratna was bestowed to him during 1955. With the benefit of these measures given to government enterprise by him and the subsequent pro-public sector policy implemented under the planning regime, the state has become an industrial metropolis in the country. Many central enterprises in the heavy industries like, BEML, BHEL, HAL, Wheel & Axle plant, electronic giants such as BEL & ITI are established in Bangalore.From a basically agricultural economy, Karnataka has evolved into an industrial one. It has today about 978 large and medium scale industrial units with a total investment exceeding Rs. 156,545 crores employing more than 4 lakh people.
Bangalore today has become an Industrial metropolis. As an electronic city it has already spread over 300 acres and has become a nerve center of activity. It has become a paradise of electronic whiz kids, as the major manufacturers and buyers like ITI, BHEL, BEL, were all originally started here. Out of the 430 major software companies, 87 companies have thier establishments in Bangalore, as against 110 companies in Chennai, the second biggest in this line. Karnataka has a lions share in exports of software in India. During 1997-98 India exported Rs. 6500 crores of software products and Karnataka had a share of Rs. 2000 crores out of it.
Karnataka has become the Information Technology (IT) powerhouse of India. It is bidding to retain it`s pre-eminent position as the second most important global center after the silicon valley of California. Bangalore is extending it`s growth in this sphere and the state is attempting to help it`s growth to other centers across the state, so that it becomes the largest IT and the first to initiate a venture capital fund to invest in companies undertaking IT projects, operating primarily in Karnataka.
The oldest power station in Asia, was setup at Shivanasamudra as early as in 1902, to produce
hydro-electric power. Thus the state is a forerunner in power generation. Due to rapid industrialisation, expansion of agriculture increased per-capita consumption of power and vagaries of the monsoon, the state has started feeling a shortage of power from 1970. The state setup a Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) to handle the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of power projects.The KPCL today manages 30 dams and 18 power stations with an installed capacity of 3628 MW., generating annually 16,513 million units. Today a strong infrastructure coupled with modern concepts, managerial and technical, have enabled the KPCL to gear up to meet the challenges of the rising energy demands of the state. Private power corporations too are encouraged and a number of mini schemes have been entrusted to them. The projects that have been finalised, like the Cogentrix, Nagarjuna Power Corporation, Joint Power Project near Bidadi and 4 barge mounted projects when completed are expected to enhance the availability of power by 2900 MWs.
The Kannada Cinema ranks 5th in terms of annual output of films in India and has well equipped studios, talented technicians and excellent outdoor locations. Kannada films have won many national and international awards for the past 25 years and 5 of them have won the President`s Golden Lotus award for the best pictures of the year. Dr. Rajkumar who has been the darling of the silver screen for more than 4 decades has won the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award.
The nation has bestowed on him the most coveted Padmabhushana title, a rare distinction and honour for the Kannada film world. Many a great director such as Kanagal Puttanna, shminarayana, M.R.Vittal, Siddalingiah, Pantalu from the mainstream cinema and Pattabhirama Reddy, Girish Karnad, B.V. Karanth,
G.V.Iyer, Girish Kasaravalli, from parallel cinema have rimented successfully with unique themes which have become extremely popular with our masses and have also won critical acclaim from discerning critics.The Government has for long been supporting the film industry with subsidy for production of regional language cinema, which began in the 1967 with a sum of Rs. 50, 000 and the amount has been progressively enhanced. In the recently announced new film policy (for films censored after 1-4-96), the amount of subsidy has been raised to 10 lakhs. This is made available to a maximum of 20 quality films (adjudged by a special committee) every year. Also the Kannada films shot in the state are exempted from entertainment tax. Another Film Awards scheme for quality films, artists and technicians has encouraged the industry in every way, and the cash amount is progressively enhanced. A special cash award for our films which have won National Awards also is announced. Apart from these, Puttanna kanagal award for outstanding contribution in field of Direction and Dr. Rajkumar Award for the person who has contributed significantly for the growth of Kannada cinema are awarded annually. Both these awards carry a cash prize of Rs. one lakh each.