Select Songs of Kanakadasa. Tr. Shashidhar G. Vaidya.
Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2018, pp. 160. ISBN 978-81-7977-635-3.
Kanakadasa, a 16th century poet of the Bhakti Cult, is a Kannada saint-poet known for his 'keertans'. Unfortunately he is little known to most Indians who do not know Kannada. His poetic stature as a saint-poet, notes Dr A V Navada, is no less than that of Guru Nanak, Tulsidas, Meerabai, Kabir, Narasi Mehta, Lalleshwari and many others recognised world-wide.
The Kannada poet is sung in various 'raga' and 'tala' for his surrender to God, pursuance of Truth, revelation of reality behind appearances, sociospiritual vision, condemnation of superstitions in a caste-ridden society, and all that disturbs the common man today. He still motivates us for awareness of human realities and following moral values in a degenerating society.
Dr Shashidhar Vaidya's bilingual and bicultural competence as translator of the Kannada poet's 102 selected 'keertans', divided into 11 sections, gives a feel of the original flavour, meaning, music and lyricism. He is helpful to readers in negotiating Kanakadasa's vision with his short summary, glossary and explanation that follows each song.
Congrats Dr Vaidya on your great achievement as a contributor to Literatures in Translation and Indian Writing in English.