This book presents the earliest example of a gender-liberated woman writer who wrote a passionately lyrical, but mature and remarkably self-explorative poetry. Akka Mahadevi is the female face of the phenomenally radical, egalitarian Sharana movement that began in the northern part of Karnataka in the 12th century. She questions everything: her parents, elders, the traditional husband-wife relationship; she questions Basavanna and Allama when they speak in an "accepted" patriarchal manner and she bravely questions her personal deity whom she loves and adores; the questioning spirit is part of her being. And this makes her unique among the sharanas. Apart from providing a credible "history" of the life and times of Akka, this book offers a translation of her most profound and memorable vachanas in modern English that crosses "the gulf of language and the gulf of time".
D A Shankar is a poet, playwright and translator, who was an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Mysore. He has translated U R Ananthamurthy's The Sky and the Cat, Tejaswi's Carvalho which is re-published by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, among many others. Honoured with several awards like the Karnataka Rajyotsava award, the Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Lifetime Achievement award, and Vardhaman Prashasti, his translation of the 14th century Kannada classic Shunya Sampadane, and the devotional writings of Kanakadasa, Golden Flock, have received much critical acclaim.
Akka Mahadevi, whom I call the questioning poet-saint, is the finest woman Vachana writer, who has to her credit, a little over four hundred and forty Vachanas, and is the irrefutably authentic voice of women who on their own individual strength, brought down the age-old barriers between the sexes, and ushered in a world of total socio-cultural equality. This, however, did not come about because of the presence of a few great personalities, but was caused by a phenomenally radical, egalitarian movement that began in the northern part of Karnataka in the 12th century. And it is this movement that provides the necessary background for a proper study of the life and writings of Akka.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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