The structure and principles of Kannada prosody has now been introduced in English for the benefit of non-Kannada readers and scholars.
Written by B.A. Vivek Rai, former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, and also Karnataka State Open University, Mysuru, ‘A Handbook of Kannada Prosody’ has been published by the Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi last month .
Mr. Rai, who taught Kannada language and literature in Mysore and Mangalore universities for 34 years, told The Hindu: “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first book in English to introduce Kannada metrics to non-Kannada readers.”
Mr. Rai said that the book has three dimensions. To begin with, it has explained the basic structure of ‘Chandombudhi’, the first book of prosody in Kannada composed by Nagavarma during the 10th century AD. In addition, it has introduced all major metrical forms used in classical and medieval Kannada poetry with their definitions and illustrations. All the examples cited for such metres are taken from the classical and medieval poetry texts. The third dimension is that such examples are presented first in their original form in Kannada script which is followed by the transliteration of those poems and finally the synopsis of them has been given in English.
“Since this treatise is planned as a ‘handbook’ in its true sense, the discussions and debates related to the origin, varieties and transformations of the various metres are not dealt with in the book,” he said, adding that it is a modest beginning in introducing Kannada prosody to the outer world. In his foreword to the book, H.M. Maheshwaraiah, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Karnataka, said that it is a first attempt to introduce and explain the structure and principles of Kannada prosody in English, by Mr. Rai.
“…I feel proud to say that this is a significant contribution to Kannada language…,” Mr. Maheshwaraiah said.
The university has published the handbook as the sixth work under its ‘Classical Kannada study series’.
The Vice-Chancellor said that the study of classical texts and their translations to other Indian languages and a few European languages are also important dimensions of the Centre for Classical Kannada at the university.