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Dr Shivaram Karanth

V.M. Inamdar

The first thing that strikes any student of Dr. Shivaram Karanth is the diversity of his interests and the many-sidedness of his achievement as a writer. Though one of his novels, Mookajjiya Kanasugalu, won the prestigious Jnanapeetha Award this year, Karanth is not merely an eminent novelist. All the fine arts and all the developments of modern science have claimed his interest and devoted work. All that can enlighten the mind of the common man and educate him towards achieving for himself and others an enriched way of living has been the domain of his study and work. Educating the common man, young and old, to understand and appreciate the good things that life offers so that he can respond creatively to everything about him and make living worthwhile has been his primary concern and main impulse behind the voluminous body of writing he has done during the last half a century and more. A rare combination of intellect and imagination, coupled with a  sensitive­ness to all that is elevating in nature, life and the fine arts, has made him a creative writer of a very wide range and diverse dimensions. But he is, first and foremost, an educator of men who has tried to wean their minds from all kinds of super­stition, intellectual, moral and spiritual, which ignorance breeds and has upheld those humanistic values that can sustain and enrich personnel, social and national life. Born in 1902 in the coastal district of South Karna in Karnataka in a middle­class family of moderate means, Dr. Karanth responded to the call of the Mahatma during the first Non-Coopera­tion Movement. He gave up university education to become an ardent propagan­dist of the Gandhian ideals of celibacy, prohibition, khaddar, social uplift and self-reliance. These years of wandering with realities of living cured much of his Gandhian idealistic ardour but develop­ed in him habits of disciplined, self-reliant and dedicated work in every sphere that may contribute to better living for his fellow-men. His early, though short-lived, experiment in educative journalism made him a studious writer and gave him the occupation of his life. Going it alone has been with him a way of life and thought. No amount of strain or work has ever deterred him from undertaking what he has considered worth doing. During the thirties he compiled, wrote, and where necessary illustrated, single-handed, and published a ...

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