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Mogeri Gopalakrishna Adiga ( , 1918-1992) was one of the majors figures in modern Kannada poetry. He is known as the "pioneer of New style" poetry .

Early life

Mogeri Gopalakrishna Adiga was born in an orthodox, scholarly, Brahmin family in the coastal village of Mogeri, Udupimarker district, in Karnatakamarker State. After primary education in Mogeri and Baindooru, he went to high school in Kundapurmarker, 14 miles away from his village. His education would have ended after high school, but for the foresight of his aunt, who, against the will of other family members, gave moral and monetary support for his college studies. Thus, Adiga went to Mysoremarker and earned his BA (Hons) in English from Maharaja College, University of Mysore.

After several minor jobs in Karnataka, Adiga worked at Sharada Vilas College in Mysoremarker as lecturer in English from 1948 to 1952, during which time he completed a master’s degree from Nagpur University. He also served at St. Philomena College in Mysore for ten years. In the mid 1960s, he became Principal at the newly created Lal Bahadur Shashtri College in Sagaramarker, and later at Poorna Prajna College in Udupimarker.

As editor of Saakshi magazine he helped bring Kannada literature to the masses.


Adiga's wife, Lalita, currently lives in Bangalore. He is survived by 5 children and 9 grandchildren.


In the early 1950s and '60s Adiga was a teacher in Mysoremarker. From 1964 until 1968 he was the principal of Lal Bahadur College in Sagaramarker, and from 1968 until 1971 he was Principal of Poorna College in Udupimarker. He later worked as the Deputy Director for the National Book Trust of India.

Adiga was a prolific poet, uncompromising critic and a profound thinker. Through his essays, translations and poems, Adiga’s influence on the modern Indian literature has been felt for over five decades. He has been rightly called the doyen of the "naveena saahitya chaluvali" (the “modernist literary movement”). Although Adiga taught English literature, he wrote almost exclusively in Kannada, except for a single poem in English on Rabindranath Tagore in 1961. It seems that he wrote this at the request of M.N.Roy for the Radical Humanist magazine.


His style has been described as a response to the independence of India from British rule in 1947. The style called Navya was generally about the new times. Inspired by modern Western literature and Indian tradition, he set out to portray the "disillusionment and angst of the times". His work illustrated the dreams and thoughts of the middle class and the beginning of an individual spirit.

Translating Adiga into any language remains a daunting proposition, undertaken only by a few scholars, such as A. K. Ramanujan, M. G. Krishnamoorthy, Rajeev Taranath, Sumateendra Nadig, and M. K. Anil. Recently, Dr. Nadig brought out Selected Poems, Gopalakrishna Adiga (2007), a work commissioned by Bharatiya Sahitya Parishat (Indian Academy of Literature.)

Besides the rarity of his translated works into English, Adiga’s anonymity is in part be due to his unique, uncompromising personality. He loathed self promotion and propaganda. Honest to the core, Adiga was most comfortable “behind the leaves” rather than in the limelight. In life, as in his poetry, Adiga never promoted himself. His never-bending stance in life and poetry is revealed in his 1953 poem Prarthane (Prayer).



plying the well-known pumps of heraldic praise

your hirelings bend double; others, gouty wagtails,

lick the land for crumbs; one snuffs his candle out

and seeks like a eunuch leech

the warm marshes in the cracks of light;

another sissy gives his back to the time-fed rumps

and sheathes his dagger deep.


I am not of these.

—In Prarthane (Prayer, 1953)


  • Bhavataranga - 1946
  • Ananthe - 1954 (novel)
  • Bhoomi Geetha - 1959
  • Mannina Vasane (book of essays) - 1966
  • Vardhamana - 1972
  • Idanna Bayasiralilla (poems) - 1975
  • Samagra Kavya (collection of poems) - 1976


  • "ಇರುವುದೆಲ್ಲವ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇರದುದರೆಡೆಗೆ ತುಡಿವುದೆ ಜೀವನ" (Iruvudellava bittu iradudaredege tudivude jeevana)

To leave behind everything we have and to yearn towards freedom from the bondage of life and mind.

  • ಮೌನ ತಬ್ಬಿತು ನೆಲವ" (mouna tabbitu nelava)

See also


  1. The Hindu - September 26, 2002
  2. Gopalakrishna Adiga remembered The Hindu - Oct 04, 2004
  3. The Mysore generation The Hindu - Apr 25, 2004.
  4. Indian Poets Writing In Kannada - Indian Poets
  5. QUOTES about Aswath - C. Aswath

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