Dr. Chandrashekhara Kambara
Chandrashekhar Kambar , undoubtedly is the cultural phenomenon of modern India. He is an iconic figure in terms of Indian response to modernity and also establishing very strongly the native model to encounter it. Hence, he is the Indian writer writing in Kannada: representing Indian mind and soul as a whole.
Chandrashekhar Kambar, one of the leading dramatists in the country today, is also a great poet, folklorist, novelist, researcher and film maker. A multifaceted genius in creative writing, Kambar is a living legend in the poetry inspired by folk tradition, particularly the folklore and mythology of Northern Kannada. ‘After Bendre, Kambar represents for us the genius of the folk imagination.’ says U.R. Anathamurthy.
Born in 1937, Chandrashekhar Kambar had his initial schooling in Ghodgeri and his Masters’ degree and PhD from Karnatak University, Dharwad. His teaching career started soon after and he was in the university of Chicago teaching for a brief while. He taught in Bangalore University for over two decades. He was the founder Vice-chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi. He retired from his academic service in 1998. A poet at heart, Kambar’s corpus of literary achievements include 26 plays, 11 poetry collections, 6 novels, 16 research works and several articles on folk theatre, literature and education..
Kambar is a natural poet. He perceives the world with a poet’s eyes. His poetry is interspersed with long narratives steeped in folk culture drawn from his soil. Kambar creates his own world of experiences and images that draw much from folklore and myth, ‘a world uncharted by the Navodaya as well as the Navya movements in Kannada. Within this world peripheral to the mainstream modernism, Kambar creates an astonishing variety of forms, themes and concerns,’ according to K. Satchidanandan. H.S. Shivaprakash, a fellow playwright finds overtones of Akkamahadevi’s passionate intensity, Allama’s mystical glow, the profound simplicity of Sarvagna’s triplets and the lyrical sweetness of Kannada folk songs’ in ‘Chakori’ his epic narrative. This is true of his entire corpus of creative work as well..
Kambar is also a prolific playwright. He started writing plays at the time when the search for non-realistic theatre was gathering strength in Karnataka. ‘Bembattida Kannau’his first play is followed by 26 plays. ‘Over the years, he has perfected a symbolic form which effectively communicates his vision of man and human conditions through a theatrical language which derives its vitality from the life of people and is yet distinctively individual’ Says G.S. Amur. His plays have had a tremendous impact on contemporary Indian theatre..
Kambar says that his poetry, theatre, novels are all a part of a homogenous corpus. The influence of his early environment has had a vibrant resonance which reverberates through all genres of writing. Kambar says, ‘indeed my sense of environment, the manner in which I relate my environment both in time and space are stories, fantasies, the images I use… I give character to environment and receive character as a poet.’ He believes that the writer always deals with his sense of time and space. He draws his texture to experience mainly from his sense of place that forms the main core of his writing.