The DSS and Kannada literature


The DSS and Dalit movements have contributed immensely to Kannada literature. Writers including Dr. Siddalingaiah, a noted poet, and Devanura Mahadeva, novelist and storyteller, have been involved in the activities since the early 1970s. They were instrumental in organising the conference of Dalit Writers and Artists in 1976. Along with Krishnappa and others, they played a role in holding the first convention of Dalit students in Kolar in 1983.

Siddalingaiah’s poems reached a larger audience through the activists of the DSS. His poems were instant hits, becoming anthems of sorts of the movement. The activists of DSS would begin their programmes singing Siddalingaiah’s poems.

Noted critic D.R. Nagaraj, in his The Flaming Feet, says, “There are two different modes of Dalit writing and they can be called the schools of ‘social rage’ and ‘spiritual quest’.” He puts the writers – Siddalingaiah, Mullur Nagaraj, Mogalli Ganesh, Aravind Malagatti, Ma.Na. Javaraiah, Munivenkatappa, Gangaram Chandala, Chinnaswamy and Indudhara Honnapura — in the school of “social rage”, which concentrates “basically on the experiences of anger, agony, and revolutionary hope.”

Dr. Nagaraj includes Devanura Mahadeva, K.B. Siddaiah and Govindaiah in the school of “spiritual quest” because their works tried to “understand the world of poverty and untouchability in terms of metaphysical dismay over the nature of human relationships.”

These writers have not only enriched Kannada literature through their creative works, but also worked towards bringing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s writings into Kannada.


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