‘Koothanda Parvati Poovaiah was a leading woman writer of her time’

‘Koothanda Parvati Poovaiah was a leading woman writer of her time’

April 8, 2024

‘Avva,’ authored by Dr. Nayana Kashyap, released at BVB Kodagu Kendra

Madikeri: At a time when adhering to Mahatma Gandhi’s principles was challenging, littérateur Koothanda Parvati Poovaiah effortlessly embodied Gandhiji’s ideals and lived a simple yet idealistic life, said Dr. Kalyatanda B. Ganapathy, Founder-Editor of Star of Mysore and Mysuru Mithra, who is also the Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), Mysuru Kendra.

He was speaking after releasing the book ‘Avva’ on Koothanda Parvati Poovaiah at an event organised by BVB Kodagu Kendra in Madikeri on Saturday.

Pandyanda Belliappa was recognised as ‘Kodagina Gandhi’ (Gandhi of Kodagu) during the freedom movement and even after, always wearing only khaddar and Gandhi cap. Likewise, Koothanda Parvati, who had met Gandhiji twice and was influenced by his ideals, was wearing only khaddar sarees and clothes. Therefore, Parvati too could be called ‘Kodagina Sarojini Naidu,’ because Sarojini Naidu was an English poet and a Gandhian, said Dr. Ganapathy.

Although only a select few had the opportunity to meet Parvati Poovaiah in person, her ideals resonated widely through her writings, earning her admiration from many. Dr. Ganapathy commended her for getting recognition to the small Kodava community in Kodava and Kannada literary field and hailed her as a leading woman writer of her time.

Pioneering woman writer

Parvati Poovaiah, the pioneering woman writer, writing in Kodava language using Kannada script, from Kodagu, made a significant mark on the literary landscape with her command over Kodava, Kannada and English languages, Dr. Ganapathy said, lauding her immense contributions and acknowledging her as a pre-eminent woman writer of her era in Kodagu.

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He said that Parvati not only pursued her literary endeavours with dedication but also rendered social service. Additionally, he commended her for effectively discharging her family responsibilities thus being a role model as a mother.

Wrote during challenging times

Dr. M.G. Patkar, a senior doctor of Madikeri, shed light on the profound significance of the term ‘Avva,’ “Mother” in Kodava language. He noted that while ‘Avva’ might appear simple, it carried great significance, particularly during Parvati Poovaiah’s era, which was marked by many challenges in India’s history, such as foreign rule and widespread poverty. Despite these hardships, Parvati enriched the literary landscape with her writings, underscoring the importance of literature even in difficult times.

In today’s poetry scene, there appears to be a decline in quality, with many poems lacking depth and substance, leading to an increase in meaningless poetry. Nevertheless, amidst this trend, Parvati’s poems carry lasting ethical values and life-lessons, he said.

Depiction of struggles

Dr. Nayana Kashyap, Associate Professor at Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College in Madikeri and the author of the book in English ‘Avva,’  sourced from the Kannada biography of Parvati written by Prof. Theethira Rekha Vasanth and Parvati’s books in Kodava language and Kannada, highlighted the simplicity evident in both the life and writings of Parvati Poovaiah.

She said that literature need not be profound and serious; even in its simplest form it can provoke deep reflection and regale the reader which is the true essence of literature.

Chairman of BVB Kodagu Kendra Konganda S. Devaiah and former Chairman of BVB Kodagu Kendra Koothanda P. Uthappa, who is the son of Parvati Poovaiah, also addressed the gathering.  Deepika Appaiah compered the programme. Balaji Kashyap, Secretary of BVB Kodagu Kendra, proposed a vote of thanks.


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