Wednesday, August 06, 2008

GP Rajarathnam

This year is the birth centenary of the Kannada poet G.P. Rajarathnam.

He has written many, many books, but he is best-known for his work Ratnana Padagalu - life as seen from the eyes of Yendkuduka Ratna (Drunkard Ratna). The entire work, in verse, is written in rustic Kannada style. It is recommended that you read it out aloud to experience the complete effect. It is a very funny, sad, and extremely thought-provoking work. My mom read it out to me for a while long, long ago, until other matters claimed our interest and we forgot all about it. I really have to read the whole thing soon. Ratnana Padagalu has been popularized by well-known Kannada singers, and it is still appreciated and admired.

But the reason why I personally like him so much is because of his poems written for children. You could call them Kannada Nursery Rhymes. I am sure every Kannadiga child knows at least one of his poems - at least "Naayi Mari". His poems are very lovable. Small, easy to recite, and enjoyable too, what with the rhymes and alliterations.

I grew up reciting and singing these small poems and songs... my favourites are "Naayi Mari", "Taata butti tumba rotti", "Putaani Krishna", "Haavu bantu haavu bantu", "Kuri mari byaa", "Namma maneyalondu sanna paapa", etc.

According to GP Rajaratnam himself, he had no intention of writing poems for children. But once, he found himself jobless after doing his MA, and stood in for his ailing father who was a Kannada teacher in a school. He was quite distressed to see the kind of poems in the Kannada syllabus for such small children. That evening, while he was sitting and thinking, a poem, "Bannada tagadina tutturi", came to him without his bidding. He was thrilled with it, and taught it to his students the next day, who loved it too. He then went around teaching it to all the children he knew, until finally, it came to a publisher's notice, who asked him to write a few more poems and published his first collection of children's songs. The rest, of course, is history.

In the introduction to his "Kandana Kavyamale", the collection of collections of poems (!), he has written that these poems were written four decades ago, and they are still so popular, and has asked, what more could a writer want?

He wrote that in 1978. He would be thrilled to know that thirty years after he wrote that, at least one mother is still teaching her daughter his poems. His words are still alive!

Info:
His works are available at all popular book stalls.
Sapna Book House has recently published 25 volumes of his children's literature, available at all Sapna showrooms in Bangalore.

18 comments:

Bit Hawk said...

In case you are interested in teaching Puttachi these poems the audio-visual way, I remember seeing the videos of these songs on Youtube. Check it out!

Sushma said...

talking about Youtube, it also has the video of the punyakoti song :)
I so love that song :)

Anonymous said...

with this post,shruti has reminded me about two things i always cherish. children's poems and ratnana padagaLu. i loved almost all the poems that i had by heart when i was in primary section,and remember many even now. but there were quite a few, the full lyrics of which i could not get back. starting from tuttoori,baaviyali chandra,ancheya anna,tik tik geLeya,naanu yaaru -there were many.I was glad to get most of them and a lot more in a collection called "tattu chappaaLe puttamagu" edited by BoLuvaru mohammad kunyi.
coming to ratnana padagaLu- it is not very easy to express my feelings. rajaratnam the philosopher, turns himself into yendkuduka ratna for the purpose of expressing his philosophy.and yendkuduka ratna in turn credits his thoughts to yenda and efforts of putting it down in words to bevarsi.
thus by saying
padagoLu chand idre yendak sifaarsi
chandaag ildidranaka tapge bevaarsi
the philosopher absolves himself of wordly matters and remains a spctator of his own philosophy from a distance.
thank you shruti.

raghunandan.dentist said...

with this post,shruti has reminded me about two things i always cherish. children's poems and ratnana padagaLu. i loved almost all the poems that i had by heart when i was in primary section,and remember many even now. but there were quite a few, the full lyrics of which i could not get back. starting from tuttoori,baaviyali chandra,ancheya anna,tik tik geLeya,naanu yaaru -there were many.I was glad to get most of them and a lot more in a collection called "tattu chappaaLe puttamagu" edited by BoLuvaru mohammad kunyi.
coming to ratnana padagaLu- it is not very easy to express my feelings. rajaratnam the philosopher, turns himself into yendkuduka ratna for the purpose of expressing his philosophy.and yendkuduka ratna in turn credits his thoughts to yenda and efforts of putting it down in words to bevarsi.
thus by saying
padagoLu chand idre yendak sifaarsi
chandaag ildidranaka tapge bevaarsi
the philosopher absolves himself of wordly matters and remains a spctator of his own philosophy from a distance.
thank you shruti.

snippetsnscribbles said...

Totally loved his poems.

I still remember "naayi mari', 'baNNada tagaDina tutturi' and my all-time fav 'namma maneyalondu sanna paapa :) Oh, that saNNa paapa song was taught to us in school and I loveed it soooo much, my mom used to sing it to be while tucking me to bed. And whenever I put up a tantrum, she used to remind me lines from the song "kirichi konDu tanna maiya parachikoLLuvudu' :-)))

Simple and so beautiful, his poems were everyone's favorite! Glad to know that you are teaching Puttachi and that these things are thankfully still available in Sapna.

Viky said...

is that why the song goes - 'heLkoLakke ondu ooru, tale myage ondu sooru, malgokke bhoomi tayi manchaan... kai hiDdavLu puTnanji, nag nagta uppu-ganji, koTTraytu ratnan prapancha'???

I did not know this!!! :D

Adya said...

Nice to find people discussing about the greats like Ratna. Man, what can anyone say about him? "Narkak iLsi, nalge seeLsi, baai olsidroone, moogal kannad padvaDtini,nan mansan neen kaNe"(from his Kannad PadgoLu). Every inch capable of doing so. Sheer genius. If his poems get the voice of Raju Ananthswamy or his father, oh! simply blissful!!! My dad's friend was his student it seems. I cant stop cursing myself for being a generation late.

Anyway, I have the book Ratnan PadagaLu. If anyone wants the lyrics of any of his poems please let me know. I'll be more than willing to type it out for you.

Nikichikalo said...

Hi!!! My Grannie used to sing a song to me & it contained the word'chikalo' Ive been looking online for it & have come up with 'Namma maneyalondu sanna'would this be right???
If this is right has anyone got the translation for it into English???And can I buy his book in England anywhere???

Nikichikalo said...

Hello!!! Its me again-NO!!! Ive been told that is the wrong one--The ryhme/song I am after starts MANA PACA ONE,ITCH BY ITCH,BY CHI CHI CHOO'it does contain 'chikalo though CAN ANYONE HELP PLEASE -it may not be by G.P Rajarathnam
Thankyou

Anonymous said...

nice to read by G.P. Rajaratnam. Can any body suggest a site from where i can download rajaratham's poems. i cherish the memories of his poems listened in my school days.

Manish'sMom said...

His "Brahma Ninge Jodasthini Henda muttida kai na" is a timeless classic! Simply love that song!

P Naik said...

Great post. I remember him telling me in the 70s of how he wrote Bannada Tagadina Tutturi. Apparently, it was about Na. Kasturi (of Koravanji fame) when GP was his student. He later wrote a series of stories based on Jain literature called "kathegey Badalu Kathey" - very inspirational stories on the lines of the Neeti Chintamani series.

Deepu said...

Hi,
I have copied your contents onto wiki... please update when you find some time...
I believe this should not be a copy rights violation :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G_P_RAJARATHNAM

regards,
Sandeep

RAJ said...

We have put a link to your Blog on http://hebbariyengar.net/GPRajratnam.aspx

Thanks for the Info.

Anonymous said...

please do put the madkeri melmanju song lyrics....

prashanth kumar said...

Do anybody have Nee nanna hattige belakangidde lyrics... if there pls do share...

prashanth kumar said...

if anybody have Nee nanna hattige belakangidde lyric pls do share....

subbarayan.K.R said...

Mysore Anantha swamy used to sing
some of Rjaratnam's kritis in early fifties.Ananthu used to ply mandolin and sing 'brahma ninge jodisthini, ilidubaa thayi ilidubaa.He had popularised many of GP'S works which were fantastic.

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