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Modernism in Kannada Literature By Tharakeshwar, V. B.

DOI: 10.4324/0123456789-REM1869-1
Published: 26/04/2018
Retrieved: 23 July 2024, from


Modernism, known in Kannada as ‘Navya’, emerged as a literary movement in the 1950s. This period saw writers deliberately moving away from the Romanticism of the Navodaya period, which is considered an age of literary renaissance shaped by complex interaction with colonialism and the West. In contrast to Navodaya, which reflected nationalist sentiments, the Navya period emerged in the context of the formation of the Indian nation-state. The newly formed Indian nation-state aroused considerable expectations, and their betrayal led to anti-Congress (the ruling party), anti-Jawaharlal Nehru (the first Prime Minister of India) sentiments among the intellectuals and the literati. It was a post-Gandhi era of disappointment and disillusionment in literature. Navya was also partly in response to the leftist progressive movement, called Pragatisheela in Kannada, which arose in 1940s and continued in the 1950s. Pragatisheela literature, prominent in short stories and novels, focused on social issues such as poverty, the importance of context in shaping one’s personality, and the plight of the common man, and it employed realistic narration. Modernist poetry was shaped by its opposition to Navodaya writing, while modernist short stories and novels emerged as a reaction to Pragatisheela literature.

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Tharakeshwar, V. B.. Modernism in Kannada Literature. Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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