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CONSTRUCTING THE DISCOURSE OF DISPLACEMENT AND AMBIGUITIES: INTERROGATING POST 1990 KANNADA NARRATIVES It is true that contemporary Kannada

cultural context is marked by no visible and solid literary movements. The kind of euphoric, social and literary movements of 1970s and 80s is a history now. After Navya and Dalit-Bandaya movements, there seemed to be a lull in the production and sustenance of literary movements as well. When Navya and Dalit literary movements were at their peak, a writer had the opportunity of working in a particular framework and to choose his\her subject matter. But in post 1990 LPG era, young writers were denied of any such particular framework. This in fact is a challenge for a new writer because he/she has to negotiate things in his/her own way. There will be no pressure on new writers today to follow the paths trodden by the seminal writers of the past. Therefore, post 1990 Kannada narratives are marked by heterogeneous themes and concerns. It is difficult for anybody to have any one particular framework to describe contemporary literary canon. To borrow a phrase from a young writer in Kannada todays literary narratives are `beyond any frame work (ZPnZAig). It is said that the post 1990 Kannada prose narratives are simple and hollow. It is assumed that there are no great contemporary writers. It is also accused of diluting the real issues of society. It is deemed that no significant writer is coming up in the new era. In fact Kannada criticism did not take into account some of the new writers of the LPG era. Literary criticism was limited to selective book reviews. The reasons for this were that the new writings were compared with previous canonical masters and it was concluded that the new writers were no equal to the past masters. Another reason for the neglect of contemporary writers was that the very parameters of criticism changed

January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature drastically. With the onslaught of modern critical theories and multidisciplinary approaches in critical discourse, literature was not the only tool to understand society and culture. In this paper I have attempted show how post 1990 Kannada prose writings continue the discourses of the earlier period and also how they bring in fresh areas of negotiation. I strongly feel that it is wrong to compare new writings with classics of the past and say that contemporary writings are minor and hollow. The onslaught of Globalization and liberalization has conveniently restructured and re oriented the native societies of the third world countries. India is no exception to this. In an era of post nationalism the boundaries of once powerful nation-states are being blurred and diffused. Shiv Vishwanathan than once famously commented that `from now onwards All roads will lead to coco-cola!! When he made that statement, he was referring to the enormous power of the corporate sector and the kind of homogenization that it brings in native societies. Globalization has produced tremendous crisis in native societies. Its never ending thirst for consumerism and market expansion is intensely interrogated in these micro narratives. As argued by many thinkers, the strategies, adopted by globalization for its domination and consolidation of power are more invisible than that of the colonial strategies. New Kannada narratives are not blind to all these experiences. Kannada prose narratives and the novel form has always negotiated with modernity, colonialism nationalism, caste discrimination and issues related to women. From Marali Mannige (Shivarama Karantha) to Suryana Kudure (U.R. Ananthamurthy) various writers like Kuvempu, Karantha, U.R.Ananthamurthy, Tejaswi etc have negotiated with the complex issues of Modernity and colonialism. There is neither a complete rejection nor a total acceptance of modernity. Ambivalent attitude marks our negotiation with
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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature modernity. In fact one of the premier thinkers of Kannada K.V.Subbanna succinctly argued that our ambivalent negotiation with modernity/colonialism is the hallmark of modern Kannada literature. Partha Chatterjee argues that ours is the modernity of the once colonized. The same historical process that has taught us the value of modernity has also made us the victim of modernity. Our attitude to modernity therefore, cannot but be deeply ambiguous. In a plural and hybrid socio-cultural scenario, there are no simplistic and one final answer to above mentioned problems. Thus, this ambivalence is a result of a historical process rather than of an individual write. The recent Kannada narratives continue such debates in different proportions and degrees. Different writers take different positions and their concerns and negotiations are extremely amorphous. There is no single mega narrative as such to describe these writers. The post 1990 Kannada narratives cannot be formulated in a single framework. The narratives like Jugari Cross (Tejasvi), Yugaadi and Hampi Express (Vsudendra), Toofan Mail (Jayantha Kaikini), Huli Savari (Vivek Shanbag), Hakuna Matata (Nagraja Vastaare) Putta Padada Guruthu and Gandhi Chitrada Notu (Sunanda Kadame) narrate the traumatic and multiple experience of globalization at individual, societal and at cultural level. Without being parochial and chauvinistic, the writers have recorded the trauma and the violent nature of modern societies. The following may be taken as some of the features of contemporary Kannada narratives.

These writers have come from different backgrounds and have come from all walks of life. Like Navya tradition they are not Kannada /English academic teachers. Many in fact are part of MNCs and know the workings of

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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature multinational companies. Therefore listening to these inside voices from within the structure of MNCs is an interesting and unavoidable exercise. They are from different professions like working in multinational companies (Vasudendra, Vivek Shanbhag, and Ashok Hegde), in the media (Jogi, B Surendranath) as an architect (Nagaraja Vastaare), doctor (Guruprasad Kaginele) etc. The result of this is different life worlds have entered Kannada literary sensibility. Such heterogeneity was never experienced before. To borrow a phrase from a young writer Sumangala the contemporary stories are Yava chaukattigu sigada chitragalu. Readers are introduced to unexplored areas of society, language and culture. There is tremendous variety in the subject matter of these writers. Just look at some of them. Mogalli Ganeshas stories construct an independent and autonomous Dalit world with all its complexity and nuances. In this respect Mogallis stories are a very formidable continuation of Devanuru Mahadevas stories. Kum Ve in a brilliant manner explores the discrimination, suppression and the violence let loose on marginalized people by the feudal Jamindars.The unexplored life world of bayaluseema is narrated with humor, irony and sarcasm. However, the underlying tone of Kum Ve is one of vishada. Jayantha Kaikini- though looks very lyrical and poetic at times- brings out the subtle life of middle class people in Mumbai city. Sreedara Balegaras stories confront the inadequacies of development model which has brought displacement, rootlesness and destruction in Uttara Kannada region. His stories certainly prove that big dams are NOT the temples of modern India. Writing with childhood memories, Abdul Rasheed enacts the celebration of life in Muslim community of Coorg
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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature and Vainadu region. Sunanda Kadame with her limited canvas shows the everyday life rhythm of middleclass women. .H Nagavenis Gandhi Banda is a brilliant multiple narrative which brings out the violent nature of hierarchical caste system in Dakshina Kannada district. Again, it also shows the influence of Gandhi at the level of ordinary people. The list can go on. But what is important is that post 1990 narratives continue the discourses of earlier Kannada narratives and at the same time introduce new areas of negotiation. Even the productions of literary texts are extremely unconventional. Vasudendra has dedicated one of his story collections (Chelu) to traffic jam and to his car driver in Bangalore!! For puritans, who believe that literature is produced in the state of meditation, and isolation, this statement is indeed a cultural shock!

Except one or two writers most of the other writers are not very ambitious. Let me rephrase this statement like this. Though they may be ambitious in their personnel capacity, it is not shown in their texts. Not being very ambitious itself is not a quality to be celebrated and boasted of. In fact this could be a great drawback in modern writers. But these writers narrate their stories in a very calm and unhurried manner. They dont have the urgency to tell anything and everything under the sun. Whatever is felt and grasped is leisurely narrated. Like Navya tradition theirs is not mega narratives. In fact there are no central metaphors as such and they write in very loose cannon. Without being judgmental and without being completely disassociated from the past their stories bring out the cultural displacements of contemporary society. For e.g.: The stories of Vivek Shanbhag narrate the developments and loss of

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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature native values as a result of the onslaught of modernity and globalization. The story Huli Savari enacts how the corporate sector establishes, dominates and expands its hegemonic power over the poor third world countries. The whole story takes place in far away Africa where the strategies of domination are planned and executed by imperialistic MNCs. The very economic base structure of third world countries are destroyed by the faceless MNCs. It also proves how imperialistic forces can transgress the notion and boundaries of the nation- state. His other story Kanthu has multiple layers of meaning where people trade everything including their homes for the sake of money. Money madness has gripped them. The narrative questions the very notion of no holds bar consumerist culture. Globalization brings money madness and converts native people into lunatics. Jugari cross in a brilliant manner shows the ugliness and the horror of a world dominated by international smugglers, traders and middleman. The description of Malnad we find in Kuvempu is transformed into a global Jugari Cross. People of Jugari Cross go after expensive shining red stones and lose their sanity. In an inverted world interconnected by Telephone wires, Sanity and Innocence becomes a big causality. The Protagonists of this novel, Suresha and Gowri (like Adam/Eve) are caught in a vicious circle of the underworld controlled by faceless, unethical cutthroat people. Though Tejaswi refused to read Jugari Cross with the back drop of globalization, the very texture of the novel shows how calm and unhurried life in western ghat is thrown out of gear due to the distractive effects of globalization.

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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature Kepu Gini of Vasudendra is a seemingly innocuous narrative which narrates the onslaught of mining industry and the resultant socio-cultural and economic deformation. Aijaj Ahmed once remarked that the main feature of globalization is to colonize everything that is natural and restructure it to suit its materialistic needs. The mining industry a byproduct of post LPG era in India has acquired wealth and power to redefine the concept of citizenship, ownership, morality and ethical values. It also has bulldozed the harmonious relationship between man and mother earth. The restructuring of the economic order has given mining industry an enormous political power. Even the state governments are influenced and controlled by the mining mafia. The seeds of all these issues could be found in the very structure of this story. The text here raises another important question of landless laborers and feudal lords. It is true that the prose narratives in Kannada have negotiated with the question of land less laborers and their relationship with hegemonic feudal lords. Shivarama Karanthas Chomana Dudi [1933] is a fine example. Chomana Dudi is set in a society where changes are slow and it takes place at leisurely pace. However, Vasudendras text brings forth the altered post LPG society where changes are drastic and incomprehensible. Therefore, theses questions are not resolved so easily. To conclude, the contemporary writers in their own way have attempted to show the paradoxical displacements brought by neo colonial forces of globalization. On the one hand, many of these writers are the insiders of the system and on the other hand they are aware of the cultural disfiguration that the phenomenon has brought.

T. Avinash Associate Professor, Department of English (P.G & U.G), Sahyadri Arts College,
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January 27,28 - International Conference on Recent Trends 2012 in Literature


Shimoga-577203, Karnataka Email: avinash.tambarsi1@gmail.com Mobile: (0)9448628511

Bibliography 1 Subbanna K. V Adhunika Kannada Sahithyakke Heege Banni in Are Shatamanada Ale Barahagalu. Ed. Ashoka T P. Akshara

Prakashana; Heggodu, 2004 2 Partha Chatterjee. A Possible India. New Delhi; O U P, 2001 3 Shiv Vishwanathan. Culture at the Turn of the Century. Talk. Ninasam; Heggodu, 2003

4 K.P. Poorna Chandra Tejaswi. Vimarsheya Vimarshe Pusthaka Prakashana; Mysore, 2006. 5 Aijaj Ahmed. In Theory OUP; New Delhi,1996.

CONSTRUCTING THE DISCOURSE OF DISPLACEMENT AND AMBIGUITIES: INTERROGATING POST 1990 KANNADA NARRATIVES

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