The other day, our family friend Mr. Shetty brought us Tirupathi Prasada (Laddu). It was wrapped in a sheet of a Kannada daily Udayavani.
A write-up in the newspaper by Lakshmi Machhina, giving profile of an unknown and unsung writer of popular Tulu Plays engaged my attention. It attracted me mainly on two counts: 1) According to the general perception of some Tuluvas and an UN report the Tulu language is in the process of dying. (2) Some writers berate popular Tulu Comedies accusing that they do not contribute to the enrichment of Tulu language.
An obscure playwright
A cobbler by profession the playwright Vasudeva Laila wrote 20 Tulu Plays. The gist of the article is as follows:
His cobblers shop is located by the side of Regional Educational Officer, near Maari Gudi temple, in Belthangadi town. He has written more or less 20 Plays in Tulu. Some of them have been staged successfully for 10-25 shows. Still he is engaged in shoe-mending occupation.
53-year old Vasudeva Laila is married with four children - son graduate, an artist; one daughter married off and two are unmarried. His present residence is: Hemanta Nilaya, Putrabailu, Gandhi Nagara, Belthangadi. He was born at Belur to a cobbler Sheenappa. Sheenappa had a shoe mart at Halebeedu, Vasudeva grew up at Halebeedu and studied up to 7th Standard at Talippadi. He gave up shoe mart,due to losses and he switched to tailoring. Further he switched over to an employment in a hotel. He hawked at weekly village markets, at Jaatra festivals and Yakshagana venues. He was deeply interested in dramas and Yakshganas since his school days, which inspired him to write However, ups and downs of life forced him to stick to the shoe-mending job for livelihood.
His first Tulu Play was 'Hallida Ponnagu Pyanteda Kandani' (City boy to a village girl). Next was Kannada drama 'Suryodaya' , not yet staged. Other dramas are: Trishula Tirgund', 'Nyayada Netter', 'Kalanka Kantina Kannir', 'Yepa tikkuvar;, 'Samaja telipunu', 'Porlunu Toodu Marlu', 'Madhurana Bhagya', Amrita Mallige, 'Satyogu Edura?' 'Gangadharana Gangasara', 'Sai darshan' (Kannada) and 'Bhakta Markandeya'(Kannada).
Of these 'Yepa tikkuvar’( =When we shall meet?) has been staged by Shri Ganesh Kala Vrinda for the last five years. 'Satyogu Edura’ (=Can it defy the Truth?) has been played for 30 shows,
Most of his Plays are tragedies. Recent plays are comedies. Any these Plays have not been printed for obvious economic reasons and for lack of encouragement.
Here is a man, propagating Tulu on his own right, without hankering for fame.
He reminds me of N. Narasimhaiah, popular writer of Kannada detective novels during the yester years Famed Kannada writer Ta.Ra.Su. had praised Narasimhaiah for inculcating Kannada book reading habits among the common people, working in hotels, shops and railway stations in Bangalore and young and old alike all over Karnataka. The ordinary people, addicted to the Kannada detective novels of Narasimhaiah, eagerly looked forward for his next novel.
Encouraging your family members to speak Tulu at home and in society, whether in native place or abroad, is in itself amounts to propagation of Tulu language. Quality of expression or style of writing is immaterial but it should serve the purpose of propagating. Hidden obscure writers, like Vasudeva Laila, deserve our encouragement.
Books for Reference
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- Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
- Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
- Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
- Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
- Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
- Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
- Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
- Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
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- TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
- Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
- TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
- Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999
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