As a writer, one is often advised ‘Write what you know’. It’s good advice, considering the amount of research and skill required to write, no matter the writer’s expertise on the subject. But some writers take this advice a step further: They write what’s authentic to them.
Dr Chandrasekhar Kambar is one such Kannada novelist, playwright and poet, whose literary works stem from authenticity. He is well-versed in British literature. However, he chooses neither to write in English nor adopt western literary techniques in his writings. Instead, he strives to stay true to his roots by bringing alive the North Karnataka dialect and folklore in his works.
In an exclusive interview with Soulveda, leading up to the second edition of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival, Dr Kambar talks about his inspiration, his goals as a poet, and his contribution in preserving the Kannada rangabhumi (theatre) culture.
You’re a poet, novelist and a playwright. But no matter the genre, your works are clearly influenced by the Kannada folklore tradition. How did this inspiration take root?
I grew up as a cattle herder in Ghodageri, a village in Belagavi district in Karnataka. The Britishers had quarters near the Gokak Falls by the village. Their English ways were always upheld by villagers. Even though I was only a kid, it constantly bothered me that we were trying to mimic them, despite having a rich culture of our own.
This discomfort stayed with me even as I grew up and began writing. So, instead of adopting the English ways, as many writers at the time did, I decided to stay true to my Kannada roots. There is such a gamut of literary devices and techniques in our own folklore tradition that I found no need to gravitate towards British literature.
as many writers at the time did, I decided to stay true to my Kannada roots. There is such a gamut of literary devices and techniques in our own folklore tradition that I found no need to gravitate towards British literature.