The Kannada language and its literature have an extremely interesting history. The
Kings,Queens, Princes, Princesses and enlightened people of Karnataka consciously
promoted the growth of literature, which not only reflected the thoughts of the time that
went a long way in determine the conduct of the people but also reflected their hopes
The Kannada language in the early centuries of the Christian era must have developed
sufficiently enough as to make it necessary for a treatise dealing with the elements
of literary composition under the title "Kavirajamarga".
Sri Vijaya, the court poet of Amoghavarsha Nripathunga, the Rashtrakuta ruler,
composed it in the 9 Th centuries A.D. It is considered that Sri Vijaya did the
first literary works in 9th Century A.D. This work is generally held to be the
earliest literary work in Kannada. It is a milestone in the history of Kannada
This work refers to earlier writers like Vimalodaya, Nagarjuna, Jayabandhu and
Durvinitha etc. But the works and compositions of these authors are yet to be
While commenting on the literary patterns, the Kavirajamarga mentions about two
earlier but prominent works of Chattana and Bedande, the ancient poets who composed
their works before the times of Kavirajamarga.
Kavirajamarga was a formative in the literary growth of Kannada. It laid the royal
road of guiding many aspiring writers. The Kavirajamarga contains useful details
regarding the land, the people, their language and literature. Mention may be made
of the writers like Asaya, Gunanandi and Gunavarma 1.
In the next edition, let us discuss about Pampa (Adi Kavi), the presiding poet in
the galaxy of writers in the Kannada language.
Shiva Kumar, Mysore.