Adya Rangacharya, a novelist, scholar, actor, dramatist, director and a renowned scholar contributed his entire life to Kannada theatre, becoming a cultural icon of his times. Adya Rangacharya adopted the pseudonym of Sriranga for most of his plays and literary works.
His Early life and Education
Adya Rangacharya was born as R.V.Jagirdar in an established family based in North Karnataka in 1904. He went to Pune and the University of London to pursue a study in linguistics before which he learnt Sanskrit at a very young age.
He returned to India as a Professor and joined the freedom struggle. He entered the field of Kannada theatre during the 1930s as an amateur director and went ahead to write 71 plays and act in 47 full length plays.
Adya Rangacharya and His Plays
Adya Rangacharya was said to be the Bernard Shaw of Karanataka. His plays, his characters and his themes were as loquacious as himself and often spoke vehemently of social realism, satire, gandhian thoughts, freedom struggle, contradictions within the society, poverty, untouchability, hypocrisies and disintegration in families and marriages.
Some of his acclaimed plays were Shokachakra (Wheel of Sorrow), Udara Vairagya (Renunciation of Livelihood), Vaidyaraja (Doctor) and Narakadalli Narahari , Samagra Manthana (Total Churning) and Agnisakshi (Fire-Witness).
His plays were often narrative in their style and served as the mouthpieces of revolutionists during the time of social changes and a struggle for independence. These plays addressed the major concerns of the changing and adapting Indian society. Unfortunately, a lot of his work still remains unpublished.
His Contribution to Kannada Literature
Apart from scripting plays for Kannada theatre, Adya Rangacharya also wrote several other books that are now embedded in Kannada literature. He authored books on Indian theatre in both Kannada and English and translated Natyashashtra into English and Kannada.
He also authored his autobiography, leaving in Kannada literature a touch of awakened intellectuality with arrogant smugness. Adya Rangacharya died in 1984 and with his demise, Kannada theatre lost a man of intellect, vision and the stubborness and determination aimed at depicting the true and heartfelt sentiments in Karnataka and India.