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KANNADA

Classical treatise on poetics

KANNADA VAKROKTI JEEVITHA: R. Lakshminarayana; Pub. by Samvahana, 12/1A, Behind Evening Bazzar, Shivarampete, Mysore-570001. Rs. 375.

THIS IS the translation of a 10th Century Sanskrit treatise on poetics by Kuntaka. Apte's Sanskrit dictionary translates "Vakra" here as "equivocation" though it is normally understood as "twisted or bent".

This unsatisfactory search for equivalents in alien languages to what may be unique concepts in Indian context may not be required today.

Kuntaka is not the first to conceive this concept of Vakrokti. But he would go beyond its original limited sense of indicating merely an Alankara. He wants us to understand it in general as the language poets use. He thinks the soul of the poetry consists in its capacity for Vakrokti, expressing indirectly, saying it with a punch as if, as different from being plain common man's language.

For him, to explore the myriad ways in which these expressions take shape, forms the subject matter of poetics. He would explain the term Vakrokti comprehensively to cover all other poetical categories such as Alankara, Rasa and Dhwani, introduced by his predecessors, such as Bhamaha, Dandin, and Vamana.

Ti.Nam. Sri, in his all time great Kannada magnum opus, the Bharatiya Kaavya Meemamse says that Kuntaka was perhaps the first Lakshanika to have comprehensively constructed the nature of poetics with an exemplary dedication, after explaining in detail the meaning of every usage therein and justifying them.

This first time complete translation, in a way, completes the onerous work of translation of all important Sanskrit classics on poetics into Kannada, started and so ably executed by K. Krishanmoorthy. The translator contends that this book achieves an unusual exercise in witticism. So is its importance.

K.S. PARTHASARATHY

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