Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa (Kannada: ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿ ವೆಂಕಟಪ್ಪ ಪುಟ್ಟಪ್ಪ ; 29 December 1904 – 11 November 1994), popularly called by the pet name Kuvempu (ಕುವೆಂಪು) or by the abbreviation K. V. Puttappa, was a Kannada writer and poet. He is widely regarded as the greatest poet of 20th century of Kannada literature and as for whole Indian literature . He was the Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University from 1956 till his retirement in 1960. He was recipient of many prestigious awards such as Rashtrakavi (National poet), the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of India, and the Jnanpith Award for his work on Sri Ramayana Darshanam, the complete Ramayana in Kannada. Kuvempu University was established in his honour in his home district of Shimoga, Karnataka, India.
- Every child, at birth, is the Universal Man. But, as it grows, we turn it into "a petty man." It should be the function of education to turn it again into the original "Universal Man."
The child which by birth was the universal man is fettered by us with such constraints as country, language, religion, caste, race and colour. To free it from all these limitations and transform it into "the enlightened soul", that is to say, the universal man, — this should become the first and foremost function of our education, culture, civilization, and what not.
- Vishwa-Manava [translated as "Universal Man", "Universal Humanity", or "The Universal Man"], as quoted in Epic in Indian Literature (1985) by Harōgadde Mānappa Nāyaka, p. xix; also in Interdisciplinary Alter-natives in Comparative Literature (2013), edited by E. V. Ramakrishnan, Harish Trivedi, and Chandra Mohan, p. 71
- Variant translations:
- Every child is a Universal Man at birth. We reduce him into a "Little Man" as he grows up. The duty of education should be to make him "The Universal Man" once again.
- As quoted in Life and Literature of Sri Kuvempu 26:42
- Every child, at birth, is the universal man. But, as it grows, we turn it into a "petty man" (through caste, creed, religion and race). It should be the function of education to turn it into the original "universal man".
- When I hear Kannada, my heart leaps up and I am all ears.
- It is not correct to say that Valmiki is the only Ramayana poet. There are thousands of Ramayana poets. There is a Ramayana poet in every village.
- Statement when he deviated from traditional versions of the Valmiki Ramayana epic and was criticized for the changes made, as quoted in The Ramayana Revisited (2004) by Mandakranta Bose, p. 140
Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate (1930)
- "Victory to you Mother Karnataka, The Daughter of Mother India!" · An earlier version of this was written as "Kishorachandravani" in 1924, and numerous revsions occurred until 1956, when it began to be used as an unofficial anthem. It officially became the state song of Karnataka in 2003.
- Victory to you Mother Karnataka,
The daughter of Mother India!
Hail the land of beautiful rivers and forests!
Hail the abode of saints and seers!
- A new jewel in the crown of Goddess Earth,
You are a trove of sandalwood, beauty and gold.
Victory to you Mother Karnataka, the daughter of Mother India,
where Rama and Krishna had their incarnations.
- Garden of peace for all communities,
A sight that allures the connoisseurs,
A garden where Hindus, Christians,
Muslims, Parsis and the Jains (can grow together);
The site where many kings like Janaka ruled;
A haven for singers and musicians;
The body of the children of Mother Kannada;
The house where the Kannada Tongue plays in joy.
- "Aniketana" ["Homeless" or "Boundless"] — translated by V. K. Gokak as "The Unhoused Consciousness (The song of the Universal Man)":
- Be unhoused, O my soul!
Only the Infinite be your goal.
Leave those myriad forms behind,
Leave the million names that bind.
A flash will pierce your heart and mind,
And unhouse you, O my soul!
- Winnow the chaff of a hundred creeds
Beyond these systems, hollow as reeds,
Turn unhorizened to where Truth leads,
To be unhoused, O my soul!
- The infinite Yoga knows no end,
Endless the quest you apprehend.
You'll grow infinite and ascend,
When you are unhoused, O my soul!
Poet, nature lover and humanist (2004)
- Quotes of Kuvempu from "Poet, nature lover and humanist", Deccan Herald (25 April 2004)
- In me is the sky, in me lies the earth.
- A couplet he wrote in Kannada, before writing his first full poem in the language.
- Amidst the early morning dew
Walking across the greenery
And in the evening that is scary
While taking a breath,
Oh, flower, I listen to your song,
Oh flower, I defeat your love.
- "The Flower", a translation of his first Kannada poem "Poovu".
- When Manmatha kissed Rati, blood from her lips may have spilt on earth and blossomed into rose on the plant and kisses the viewer's eyes with its beauty now!
- It was a day of blackest deed
When Delhi streets of fame
Did glitter well by cursed greed
Of harsh Timoor the lame.
- Poem written in English, on Timur’s invasion of India
Quotes about Kuvempu
- Inspired by neo-Vedanta, Kuvempu considered the Vedas and Upanishads as India’s common spiritual heritage, not texts of Brahminical orthodoxy.
A famous poem of Kuvempu, "Aniketana", asks that our consciousness not be bounded by the identities of caste, religion, gender, and even language, since they lessen our experience in the world. He wished that we aspire to become vishvamanava (universal human).
- Chandan Gowda, in "Shadow On The Glen" in Outlook (12 January 2015)
- Kuvempu never visited temples, but believed in the presence of creator in each creature. In fact, whenever Kuvempu was not writing or teaching, he meditated. To him, worshipping nature was a path to attain Aadhyatma or The Supreme Soul.
- D Javare Gowda, as quoted in "Poet, nature lover and humanist", Deccan Herald (25 April 2004)
- Many don't know Kuvempu wrote poems in English as early as 1922, bringing out a collection of seven poems titled Beginner's muse! In 1924, when Kuvempu got introduced to the Irish poet James Cousins through Dr M H Krishnamachar, he suggested to Kuvempu that he should write only in Kannada. Though he was initially disheartened by Cousin's advice, he later realised his full potential as a poet and a multi-faceted writer in the richness of Kannada.
- Dr. Pradhan Gurudatta on the occasion of Kuvempu's Centenary Celebrations in 2004, as quoted in "Poet, nature lover and humanist", Deccan Herald (25 April 2004)
- "Nobel may have eluded him, but Kuvempu's achievements matched Tagore's" by Ramakrishna Upadhya, in The Week (29 December 2017)
- "Karnataka state government celebrates Vishwamanava Day on 29 December", ISBT Online
- "Why do Kannadigas admire Kuvempu (Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa) so much?" at Quora
- "Kuvempu: A Birth Centenary Tribute" at Kamat's Potpourri · Photos page
- Kuvempu profile at Internet Archive (2007)
- Life and Literature of Sri Kuvempu, at YouTube