Post No.7495

Date uploaded in London – 25 January 2020

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Literary talents are not confined to the members of the Brahmana and Kshatriya class. A Shudra woman became much reputed as the writer of a socio political  composition in Kannada. Her name was Honnamma and  she probably belonged to Yelanduur in Karnataka. She was working in the palace of Mysore king Chikka Devaraja. She was evidently the favourite maidservant of the chief queen Devaajammani.  She was educated at the instance of the queen by a well known scholar proficient in the Vedas and the Vedanta , who was also the author of a drama  called ‘Mitravinda Govinda.’

This teacher Alasingaaraachaarya , was evidently so pleased with the ability of his pupil that he called her the Goddess of  Charming  Literature  – sarasa saahitya da vara devataa-  this praise of a pupil by a teacher  impressed the king so much he told his queen to get a  literary piece written by Honnamma. Following this she wrote  ‘Hadibadeya Dharma’ ,which deals with the duties of a chaste woman.  This book has become so popular that verses from it are sung even today.  It is also of value from the point of view of history, since it gives the genealogy of the Mysore kings up to the seventeenth century.



Among the later poetesses of Karnataka , Cheluvambaa was a popular poetess. She was the queen of Mysore kKng Dodda Krishna Raja.  She is reputed as the author of a long poem called V’aramandi Kalyaana’. She has also written lullaby songs  on the greatness of the deity Venkatachala of Tirupati and on the Goddess aAamelumanga. She has in addition written a prose commentary on the ‘Tulaa kKaveri Mahaatmyaa’. She states that she wrote the delightful Varamandii Kalyaana  at the command of her husband.  Her style is very mellifluous.  She flourished about 1725 CE.



GIRIYAMMAA from Helavakatte was a Brahmana poetess. She is remembered for her devotional poetry , and some of her well known poems deal with such popular themes as the marriage of Sita , the stories of Chandrahasa and Uddalaka. Besides these, she composed  a number of songs  which are quite popular even today.   She was a devotee of lord Renganatha

A point of interest  regarding these songs is that  even the ragas  are specified by her.  We can recognise her songs by the words ‘Helavanakatte Rangayya’ that occurs at the end of the pieces. All her works are in Kannada.  Tradition says that she lived in the village of Komaaranahalli near Harihaa in Karnataka about 250 years ago.