His eloquent words inspired a period of sparkling renaissance in Kannada literature. P T Narasimhachar or Pu TiNa – as he was known – was a dramatist, poet and a great story teller. His simple but lyrical style established his reputation as one of the towering talents in the Karnataka literary scene. Pu TiNa, Kuvempu and D R Bendre were regarded as Karnataka’s Navodaya poets.
His Childhood and Early Days
Born on March 17, 1905, P T Narasimhachar grew up in a Tamil Brahmin family in the town of Melukote in Karnataka. His father Tirunarayana Iyengar came from a family of traditional priests. Pu TiNa had a strong grounding in several languages during his childhood and he learned a medley of languages that included Kannada, Sanskrit, English, French and Tamil. Pu TiNa graduated from the Maharaja College in Mysore.
His Literary Growth and Work
Perhaps the biggest factor that triggered off Pu TiNa’s interest in prose and poetry was his exposure to so many languages during his childhood. This gave him access to a wide of literature from across the world. It shaped his thinking and triggered off an abiding interest in western literature.
The atmosphere at Maharaja College also played a role in shaping his destiny. Among the people who taught and guided Pu TiNa at the college were well known poet, TiNamSri and former president, Dr Radhakrishnan.
As a litterateur, Pu TiNa was truly multifaceted. He wrote poetry, fiction, drama as well as musicals. This is because he was of the firm belief that the aim of all literature should be to give rasa and that this could be best obtained by a blend of music, dance and poetry.
His writings indicate his humanism as well as his love for nature. Several of his works exemplify his devotion to Lord Krishna. His poems include Hanate, Mandaliru, Hrudaya Vihari, Rasa Sarasvati, Ganesha Darshana, Maley Deluga and Irula Meragu.
Inspired by western operas, he wrote several musical dramas. Some of his works include Vasanta Chandana, Seeta Kalyana, Ahalye, Gokula Nirgamana, Vikatakavi, Shabari, Ramapatabhishekha and Doniya Binada.
Most of these dramas were based on mythology and incorporated elements of love and values. His works during the turbulent time of the freedom struggle often criticized the British rule. Pu TiNa contributed to the genre of fiction too. His works include Hamsa Damayanti, Ramachariya Nenapu, Sri Rama Patabhishekham and Rathasapthami And Other Stories.
Awards and Recognition
His writings revolutionized Kannada literature. They brought in simple and lyrical element to writings in Kannada. In addition to this, P T Narasimhachar’s writings struck a chord among his readers and his many awards are testimony of his popularity. His awards include Sahitya Academy awards for Hamsa Damayanthi and Gitarupakas. He won the Granthaloka award in 1989 and the Pampa award in 1991. He was also given the Padma Shri in 1991.
His Non Literary Career
P T Narasimhachar had a BA degree in Sanskrit, French and English. He worked for the army in Mysore state as the Superintendent of Military Stores. He later took up assignments as the Inspector of Office Systems and Cow Protection. P T Narasimhachar was also appointed as translator and editor of the Mysore University’s English-Kannada dictionary project.
P T Narasimhachar died on October 23, 1998 at the age of 93.