Religions of South Asia, Vol 10, No 3 (2016)

Dāsa Sāhitya: Some Notes on Early Publications

Shashikantha Koudur
Issued Date: 27 Dec 2017

Abstract


Dāsa Sāhitya is a literary genre in Kannada, first seen in the late fifteenth century. Making its mark both in literature and in Indian classical music, Dāsa Sāhitya attracted the attention of missionaries and other colonial functionaries, and was one of the first genres to be edited and published in Kannada in the mid-nineteenth century. Very soon, native editors and publishers started working on the genre. Usually classified under bhakti literature in the literary historiography of Kannada literature, Dāsa Sāhitya was published by individuals of varying interests. This article makes a survey of some of the early publications of the genre, and notes varying concerns and interests with which they were produced. We refrain from classifying these works as either ‘colonial’ or ‘nationalist’, while noting that the genre and the associated works were inextricably linked to the brahmin community from the days of the early publications, even as this community projected it as part of ‘Kannada’ culture. We also note evidence of cultural opposition to the change from manuscript to print.

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DOI: 10.1558/rosa.31237

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