Andayya

Andayya

Andayya (or Andaiah) was a notable 13th-century Kannada writer during the rule of the Hoysala empire. Andayya was a Jain by faith and came from a family of accountants. His most important work that has come down to us is the Kabbigara Kava ("Poets' Defender") which also goes by the names Sobagina Suggi ("Harvest of Beauty"), Madana Vijaya ("Triumph of Cupid") or Kavana Gella ("Cupid's Conquest") and was written in the 1217–1235 CE period. This writing is considered important in Medieval Kannada literature for its strict adherence to indigenous (desya) Kannada words and naturalised Sanskrit words (tadbhava), avoiding assimilated Sanskrit words (tatsamas) entirely.

Magnum opus

Researchers are of the opinion that Kabbigara Kava was written for multiple reasons. It is believed that the writing may have been inspired by the military success of Kadamba king Kamadeva of Banavasi (1130–1217) against the Hoysala king Veera Ballala II. Kama, the God of Love, finds a important place in Jain writings and hence Andayya wrote about the victory of Kama over Ishwara (Hindu God Shiva) in a battle fought in the Himalayas (the abode of Ishwara), thus connecting a mythological event to a historical one. One of work's alternate names, Kavana Gella, found in the colophon also suggests this. The possibility that this writing was yet another subtle weapon in the intensifying conflict between the Jains, who had dominated the Kannada literary culture in the centuries prior, and the growing popularity of the Veerashaivas is not lost on historians. However, the influence of Harihara (a Veerashaiva poet) on Andayya is also evident in this work.

Some historians believe that the strict adherence to chaste Kannada words and naturalised Sanskrit words only may have been the author's rebuttal to mainstream writers who may have claimed that writing literature in Kannada without using pure Sanskrit words was not possible. This trend, it is known, was started by some authors such as Nayasena (c. 1112) who wrote the Dharmamruta choosing only those Sanskrit words that fit well with the Kannada vocabulary. Andayya made his intention of using only pure Kannada clear, "without flashy Sanskrit", when he called Sanskrit by its Prakrit name "Sakkada". While the Kannada literature of earlier great poets like Adikavi Pampa (c.941) was strongly based on a Sanskritic tradition, Andayya attempts to achieve the same goal of writing a classical piece using a different technique, a practice not followed by later generation of Kannada writers.

Kabbigara Kava was written in the champu style (mixed prose-verse) and consists of 272 poems with some prose passages in it. In a deviation from the earlier versions of the story where Kama is burnt to ashes by Ishwara, Andayya gives Kama prominence and makes him victorious in battle with Ishwara, the reason for the contest being the moon that Shiva had taken possession of, but which actually belonged to Kama's army. Andayya further enhances Kama's victory by turning Ishwara in a half woman (Ardhanariswara). Kama for his part, incurs Ishwara's curse and experiences separation from his beloved Rati, is born as a mortal on earth but finally re-unites with Rati after a long separation.

Notes

References

  • Sastri, K.A. Nilakanta (2002). A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. New Delhi: Indian Branch, Oxford University Press.
  • (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian literature - vol 1. Sahitya Akademi.
  • Nagaraj, D.R. (2003). Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. Berkeley and London: University of California Press. Pp. 1066.
  • Narasimhacharya, R (1988). History of Kannada Literature. Mysore: Government Press. Reprinted by Asian Educational Services, New Delhi.
  • Rice, E.P. (1982). A History of Kanarese Literature. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services.

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