Science and art are not separate: Jayant Kaikini

Jayant Kaikini was recently honoured with the Atta Galatta-BLF Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award Kannada for 2018. Born in Gokarna in Karnataka, Kaikini is one of the prominent young writers in Kannada.

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | November 23, 2018 | Mumbai


#Atta Galatta-BLF Prize   #Kannada writer   #Jayant Kaikini  
Photo Courtesy: Mysore Lokesh
Photo Courtesy: Mysore Lokesh

Jayant Kaikini was recently honoured with the Atta Galatta-BLF Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award Kannada for 2018. Born in Gokarna in Karnataka, Kaikini is one of the prominent young writers in Kannada. He is also a poet, playwright and lyricist and received the Filmfare Award for the best lyricist in 2009. 

Your first Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award was when you were 19. Tell us about your literary journey.

It is good to have chicken pox early in life so that your immunity builds up! So getting an award early was good for me. It reassured me and I felt free to write the way I was writing. Coming from a small seaside temple town of Gokarna…my childhood was full of exotic sounds and faces. When I moved to bigger towns, homesickness and trauma of shift from Kannada medium to English medium pushed me to find solace in reading, writing and extracurricular activities. Hiding under literature I found a new me!

What does writing mean to you?

It is an absorbing and liberating journey. It is like learning to swim and crossing the river simultaneously. Yashwant Chittal, a Kannada writer, said, “I don’t write what I know. I write to know.” It applies to people like me too.

Your father was a well known writer, did he inspire you?

My father Gourish Kaikini was a radical humanist. He taught in a school but was a teacher to the society through his writings. He wrote about everything he thought was essential for a man to evolve as a better being – be it music, theatre, aesthetics, science, literature. He wrote in Kannada, Marathi and Sanskrit. He was the first to write about Marxism in Kannada. I didn’t read him much then but I am deeply influenced by his passion for life. 

You have a masters in biochemistry. How has science influenced your outlook?

Science and art are not separate. Literature and medical science have much in common. Both try to understand human pain and turmoil and try to reduce it. Written poetry is like electrocardiogram of a society and time. The artificial division of arts and science in education is unfair and has created havoc.  

After experimenting with other formats, do you plan to write a novel? 

I am a restless soul and always in a hurry to share what I have attempted. Novel writing requires a lot of discipline, patience and inner calm to stay with your characters and situations for a long period without sharing it with anyone. It is my dream to pen a novel. 

You have translated a lot of plays and essays. Can translations capture the essence of the original?

Translations done by me are more adaptations than literal translations. I call them ‘roopantar’, not ‘anuvaad’. The translator has to be a good writer in the language in which he is translating. Translation is a thankless virtue.

Your views on preserving the heritage of regional languages?

We must ask ourselves whether we want our heritage to be a ‘garden’ or a ‘museum.’ Museums are dusty, gloomy and frozen whereas gardens bloom and breathe. I think we must make gardens of our heritage by making it more friendly and sensitive in its expression to the new generation. Museums are scary. Children don’t like them.  

Mumbai has inspired many writers in different ways. How do you look at this unique city?

Mumbai is an amazing, liberating space. It has a non-judgmental collective mind of its own. This non-fussy city speaks in a language which is a leveler. It never uses respective plural. It uses ‘tere ko’ and ‘mere ko’ across the levels. An autowalla returns the exact change even at midnight. Due to space constraints Mumbai by default celebrates minimalistic living, which is actually spiritual, i.e., no space to hide or show off. Only Mumbai allows my characters, situations or images to be what they are. 

Your advice for good writing

Get lost… let your story or poem find you.

(The personal note appears in November 30, 2018 edition)

 

Comments

 

Other News

Making sense of the ‘crisis of political representation’

Imprints of the Populist Time By Ranabir Samaddar Orient BlackSwan, 352 pages, Rs. 1105 The crisis of liberal democracy in the neoliberal world—marked by massive l

Budget: Highlights

Union minister of finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. The highlights of the Budget are as follows: PART A     Per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh in around

Budget presents vision for Amrit Kaal: A blueprint for empowered, inclusive economy

Union Budget 2023-24, presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Wednesday, outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy.  “We envision a prosperous and inclusive India, in which the fruits of development reach all regions an

Soumya Swaminathan to head M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan takes charge as chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) from February 1.   Founded by her father, the legendary agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, MSSRF was set up to accelerate the use of m

m-Governance: Key to Digital India

The digital revolution is being led by India. Digital governance is a key component of the government's ambition to transform India into a society where everyone has access to the internet. It includes both M-governance and E-governance, which are major methods for the delivery of services via mobile devic

A sacred offering of the beauty of ‘Saundarya Lahari’ – in English

Saundarya Lahari: Wave of Beauty Translated from the Sanskrit by Mani Rao HarperCollins, 218 pages, Rs 399 ‘Saundarya Lahari’, usually ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya, has a unique status among the religious-spiritual works of Hinduism.

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter