Originally published in Kannada as AjnatanobbanaAtmaCharitre
Imprint: AnkithaPustaka Publications, Bengaluru, 2012
Author: Krishnamurthy Hanuru
Translator: L.S. ShankaraSwamy
About the Book
The structure of this work is wondrously novel. An attempt to categorise it as history, mythology, folktale or poetic narrative will be an insult to its rich, creative ecology. A chronicle of one of Tipu Sultan’s soldiers, the novel uses all these literary forms slipping effortlessly from one to the other. Relegating the boundaries of space and time to the background, it escapes it. Hanur’s writing is extraordinarily picturesque, it graphically recreates the realities of different worlds. Characters and incidents, as well as the realness of their emotional struggles, binds the reader from beginning to end in one single sweep. Hanur’s scholarship, creative imagination and a reciprocal intuition is astonishing.
– Girish Karnad
A unique luminosity that is usually seen in Latin American literature is seen in the novel, AjnatanobbanaAtmacharitre. Finding its legitimacy in realism, every aspect of the narrative has become an image. This kind of writing is special to Kannada.
About the Author
Krishnamurthy Hanur, a folklore scholar from Mysore, has taught Kannada literature at the University of Mysore for over three decades. He started his literary career collecting folk songs and writing ethnographic accounts of folk informants. His three novels and many short stories encapsulate folk life and try to conceive history from the point of view of a common man. He is the recipient of many awards including the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award for best novel and Karnataka Rajyothsava Award for his contribution to the folklore of Karnataka.
About the Translator
L.S. Shankarswamyhas been teaching English Literature in colleges associated with the University of Mysore for over three decades. He is a well known translator of short stories, plays and parodies of Kannada into English and his involvement in Kannada theatre is well appreciated. His translation of Siri Found at Dawn (a Kannada short story by Krishnamurthy Hanuru) was published in Indian Literature, the bi-monthly journal of the Central Sahitya Academy’s.
Hitherwards in the forest region of MaleyaMadaiah, in the lap of the eastern forest isCauverypura. The place gets the name because it is at stone’s throw from the river Cauvery. On its banks is a grove of giant trees. Like the monasteries that we read about in the ancient epics, this grove is dotted with clumps of trees and shrubs. Walk down from the grove and you see the grave of a saint. Hundred steps from there is a hero stone. This one is not a carved, ornamental sculpture of a hero sitting on a horse or angels transporting him to the high heavens in a palanquin. A bearded man with bowed head sits at the forelegs of the horse, with his palms closed in supplication. Not many know the history of this stone.
On either sides are the carvings of the sun and the moon and inscribed below are the following words:
In the Bharata region of this JambooDweepa … The eastern Mudukutore hillock is glorious… River Cauvery flows in the westFlora, fauna, birds and vast expanse of forest spreads
Hugging the in between villages
Is the nearby Nelli stream…
In the middle of the circular grove of Cauverypura…
Is a Tomb
The Siddha saints lean in meditation
Came from the north, working for the welfare of the world
They settled in this right place
Mingling with people, preaching dharma
Giving medicine to ailing children
Saving the soul sacrificing the body Within the calling distance of these saints Is a stone figure…
The saint atop the horse attained holy feet in the year Seventeen Ninety-Nine in sarvajitusamvatsara on a holy Fridaywithout a fault he followed dharma
Holy, holy god! bless us all.
In the above mentioned inscription, the dotted spots indicate words that are not legible
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