Young Mummadi, put on the throne by the British after the last Mysore war in 1799, was brought up under the watchful guidance of the far-sighted and shrewd Dowager Maharani Lakshmammanni. After falling into the hands of the powerful and politically experienced Dewan Purnaiah, he had a tortuous and tortured life. The young prince was never able to outgrow the influence of two of these mentors. To add to this, Mummadi, fell prey to an easy and rather voluptuous life. He was married but in addition to his many wedded consorts, he was caught in the spying and quarrelsome domestic life. Mummadi could never, despite valiant efforts, free himself and grow into a self-confident king.
The pressures of the ruthless British administration and the local, disruptive, and rebellious chieftains made Mummadi’s life a sad, tragic tale bordering on the ridiculous and the pathetic.
This book presents the mythological narrative of Nala-Damayanti as an epic poem in English. Among the luminaries of sixteenth century Bhakti tradition, Kanakadasa?s literary and musical compositions (kirtanes) are imbued with philosophical meanings, which show immense formative influence on the cultural and literary scene of Karnataka. Also, Kanakadasa?s literary works such as Mohana Tarangini, Haribhaktisara, and the eminent allegorical masterpiece Ramadhanya Charitre incorporate metaphors taken from everyday life, which fascinate the commoners and offers them respite from mundane life-struggles. While such metaphorical expressions represent a remarkable trend in Bhakti poetry, in Kanakadasa?s depiction of Nala and Damayanti?s misfortunes, the toilsome life of common men and women stares forth. Hauled out of their palatial leisurely living, a curious turn of events compels them to survive amidst endless suffering. On one hand Nala Charitre is a poignant story of love, and on the other, it thematizes human existence, humandivine relationship and simplifies poetry to reach the audience beyond the limited circle of literates. As the Bhakti Literature assimilates the vernacular into devotional poetry, Kanakadasa?s epic poem interweaves mythological themes from Mahabharata with struggles of medieval Indian society, thus overcoming the binaries of human and divine.
This book presents the mystical ruminations and literary excellence of Akka Mahadevi, the earliest example of a gender-liberated woman writer, credited with the composition of over four hundred and forty remarkably self-explorative Vachanas. Akka Mahadevi represents a powerfully authentic female voice of the radical, egalitarian Sharana Movement, which questioned the socially established barrier between genders and ushered in a world of socio-cultural equality.
In this book, the author explores the questioning spirit intrinsic to Akka Mahadevi’s life and writings, as she questions the widely held conventional norms: the traditional husband-wife relationship, her parents, elders; she questions Basavanna and Allama for their habituated patriarchal manner of speaking, and she bravely questions her personal deity whom she loves and adores. Apart from discerning a credible ‘history’ and background to Akka’s works, this book makes available a rendition of her selectively profound and memorable Vachana in modern English, that crosses the ?the gulf of language and the gulf of time.