Shivaram Karanth was born on 10th October, 1902, in Kota near Udupi in the Udupi District of Karnataka to a Kannada family. Being the fifth child of his parents Shesha Karantha and Lakshmamma, he completed his primary education in Kundapura and Mangalore. His elder brother was K. R. Karanth, who served as minister in the Madras Presidency in the 1940s. Shivaram Karanth was influenced by Gandhi’s principles and took part in Indian Independence movement while he was in college. He did not complete his education and went to participate in the Non-cooperation movement and canvassed for Khadi and Swadeshi for five years upto 1927. By that time Karanth had already started writing fiction-detective novels, to begin with — as well as plays. He married Leela Karanth when he was in his thirties. Kota Shivaram Karanth (October 10, 1902 – December 9, 1997) was a Kannada writer, social activist, environmentalist, Yakshagana artist, film maker and thinker. He was described as the “Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India”, who has been one of the finest novelists-activists since independence by Ramachandra Guha. He was the third among eight recipients of Jnanpith Award for Kannada, the highest literary honour conferred by the Govt. of India.
Karanth was an intellectual and environmentalist who tremendously contributed to the art and culture of Karnataka. He is considered as one of the greatest novelist in Kannada. Some of his novels — including Marali Mannige, Bettada Jeeva, Alida Mele, Mookajjiya Kanasugalu, Mai Managala Suliyalli, Ade OOru Ade Mara, Shaneeshwarana Neralinalli, Kudiyara Koosu, Svapnada Hole, Sarsammana Samadhi, and Chomana Dudi — are widely read and continue to be discussed even today. He wrote 45 novels and was said that he tried to write at least one novel per year. Yakshagana (1957) and Yakshagana (1975) are two of his books on Yakshagana. He is the first person to do some serious research in Yakshagana, collecting old Prasangas, searching the roots of yakshagana, its musical heritage etc. He tried to revive this medieval semi-folk art and made some experiments in Yakshagana using Ballet and other modern forms of dances. He took Yakshagana troops to European countries, as a unique effort in those days. He also made experiments in printing during 1930 – 40s by printing his own novels, but incurred serious financial losses. Interestingly, his earlier novels have cover pages of art work made by himself and this fact, that the novelist drawing the cover page of his own books may be a unique record in modern literature! At the age of 95, he wrote a book on birds (published during 2002 by Manohara Grantha Mala, Dharwad)
Apart from his 45 novels, he also wrote 31 plays, 4 short stories, 6 books of essays ,13 books on art, including a history of world art in Kannada and a work on Chalukyan Sculpture and Architecture, a standard treatise on the Yakshagana (with which dramatic form, his name is identified), a three volume book of knowledge for children, a four volume encyclopedia on science for grown ups, 240 children’s books, six books on travel, two books on birds, three Travelogues, an autobiography. The list is incomplete. Dr. Karanth has 417 books to his credit
- He has been described as ‘the Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India’ by Ramachandra Guhe.
- Continue being discussed even today.
- Being the first person to conduct a serious research on yakshagana, by collecting old prasangas,searching the roots of yakshagana its musical heritage etc., he tried to revive
- And many more play tools are being provided.
- A well maintained swimming pool is provided for giving training in swimming. An expert personnel in swimming who has acquired experience and knowledge from various places outside India is incharge of the training.
- A variety of cultural programmes including Drama and Dance are held here. Especially on 10th October, Karanth’s birthday, arrangements are done to occupy nearly thousand people, to watch the programmes.
- A specially built audio visual hall where summer camps and workshops are usually held. Also used for displaying creative films which are produced specially for children.
- Karanth’s house is made up as the museum. Karanth’s photos of rare occasions, JNANAPEETHA award received by him for his work ‘MOOKAJJIYA KANASUGALU’ etc., are displayed here.Museum is open for the public from 9.30 A.M – 1.00 P.M and from 2.00 P.M – 6.00 P.M.
- These paintings portray different facets of life brought out by Karanth’s novels
- Artists are invited to display their paintings here and are set for sale also.
- The great artists of our state will attend and help the children to improve their skills.
- Resource persons like Mohan sona and Chandra Sowgandhika will conduct the classes for children on various fields like drama, songs, story telling, proverbs, preparing natural colours, folk games etc.,.
Dr. Karantha Interview: