Vinayaka Krishna Gokak or V.K. Gokak or V.K.G was one of the popular writers in the official language of Karnataka, Kannada. He was also a scholar in English as well as Kannada literature. He took birth on 9 August 1999 and died on 28 April 1992 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. He was one of the top five writers who was bestowed with an award for his outstanding contribution to literature (Jnanpath Award) in 1990 for Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi in the Kannada language.
It is one of the epics of Vedic age which is the largest narrated epic in the 20th century. He was also awarded the Padmashree award for the same from the Indian Government for the famous writings of Dyava Prithvi.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak’s Academic Life
The famous writer studied literature from the Karnatak College, based in Dharwad, in Karnataka, India. Further to his studies, he also received first class honours degree from Oxford University. When he returned from Oxford University, he was made the principal of Willingdon College, Sangli.
Eventually, Vinayaka Krishna Gokak also became the principal of a college in Kolhapur, Rajaram College, Maharashtra and his tenure in the college lasted from the year 1950-52. Being a follower of Shri Sathya Sai Baba he also worked as the deputy chancellor of the Sri Sathya Institute of Higher learning based in Puttaparthi, Ananthpur District from 1981-85.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak’s Career as a Writer
V. K G was a learned writer, in English as well as Kannada. He also had great respect for D R Bendre, a Kannada poet. The famous writer was mentored by D.R. Bendre during the beginning of his writing career.
D.R. Bendre also commented that if Gokak gave enough time and effort to his talent, then both Gokak and Kannada literature were going to have a brilliant future ahead. Gokak made various contributions in the field as a writer some of which has been listed below:
- “Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi” is the longest epic written in the century and it ran for approx. 35000 lines. For this epic, he was honoured with India’s highest literary award. Jnanpath, and doctorates from Pacifica University, USA and Karnataka University.
- “Samarasave Jeevana” is another famous novel written by the writer, which later due to its publicity and demand was translated into English. This noble work was done by Yashodhara Bhat, his daughter. This novel was titled “ The Agony and the Ecstasy”,
- K. Gokak also penned down some of the best poetries i.e. Samudra Geethegalu, Urnabha, Dhyava Prithvi, Abhyudaya etc.
- During the late 1960s, Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi influenced the writer highly. He then became the medium of translating his guru’s words into English and spread it across the world. He also wrote the book “The Advent of Sathya Sai” which explains the meaning of the Guru’s miracles and how it impacted the poor and the education system within the society.
- K. Gokak’s collection of poetry by Indian poets named as “The Golden treasury of Indian Anglican poetry” was a complete essay on some of the famous poets i.e. Sri Aurobindo, Taru Dutta, Kamala Das, Nissim Ezekiel and Sarojini Naidu.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak’s Other Distinctions
Gokak’s writings largely reflected his interest in religion, philosophy, education and culture. His travel and education abroad made him write two sets of travelogues. He also made a point to take part in social causes with the help of his writings.
In the 1980s Karnataka was facing agitation and Sanskrit was demanded to be replaced with Kannada as a medium of instruction in Schools. At that time, the writer heading “Gokak Committee” also recommended Kannada to be the first language in all schools within the state.
Navodaya movement took place during the peak of his career, and this time also he made a point to stay true to his readers and himself. He made consistent attempts to bring forth nuances of Victorian poetry and oral traditions followed in Kannada storytelling and epics through his writings.
Vinayaka Krishna Gokak: Awards and Accolades
The famous writer of the century has been the recipient of many awards as mentioned below;
- He was offered 40th Presidentship of Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in 1958.
- Honorary doctorates were offered from Karnataka and Pacific University USA.
- Awarded with Sahitya Akademi for “Dyava Prithvi” in the year 1961.
- He was honoured with Jnanpith award for his longest epic “Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi” in the year 1990.
Apart from this, on 9th August every year, Karnataka state hosts a series of literary event in the memory of a great writer and poet.