CREATIVE ANGST For poet Gopalakrishna Adiga, Rama was the symbol of introspection, imagination, and ideal leadership
Today we talk a great deal about the political will that is necessary to root out corruption. Gopalakrishna Adiga, the great Indian poet who wrote in Kannada, concentrates all the power of imagination on the creative will necessary for the development of the personality of a leader in his landmark poem, Sri Rama Navamiya Divasa.
Soon after independence, Adiga was distressed to find nepotism, unscrupulousness, and vote bank politics ruling the roost. He started thinking about the righteous, ideal political leaders to serve the country and cleanse it of its corruption. When he wrote this poem, he was the principal of a private college in Sagar, which he dreamed of turning into an ideal educational institution. But the management of the college was in the hands of short-sighted politicians, who created problems for Adiga. They became "symbols of evil" in the imagination of the poet.
It was at this point in time that Sri Viswesha Tirtha Swamy, the head of Udupi Pejavar Mutt, invited Adiga to read his poetry. And Adiga's restless quest for the qualities needed in the leaders of the country and his dissatisfaction with the contemporary leaders, which were his major preoccupations at that juncture, found expression in the poem that he specially wrote for the occasion.
Adiga's poetic vision of Sri Rama is not of a god but of an ideal human being (Purushottama). Adiga thinks of him as the creation of the great poet Valmiki; a Purushottama capable of introspection, and who could keep his conscience constantly awake. In the poem, darkness becomes a symbol of evil
Adiga, in Sri Ramanavamiya Divasa, talks of how the Rama within us should rise every time evil forces go stronger. Each of us should stand up against this evil. This is the avatar that Adiga envisions.
The poem works at many levels. While it is the vision of the qualities required in an ideal political leader, it also reveals the mystery of the creative process. It suggests that the country needs not just scientific and technological progress, but also spiritual progress. Like Valmiki, he urges us to look deep within ourselves, to gather the moral strength necessary to fight the darkness that surrounds us. Let us become Purushottamas like Sri Rama, says the poet.
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