Published: 26th May 2021
TS Goravara is empowering young Kannada writers through his literary magazine Sangaata Pustaka. Check out how
TS Goravara, a well-known name among contemporary Kannada writers speaks about his initiative to support new and young writers through his Sangaata Pustaka, a Kannada literary magazine
When TS Goravara started writing poems and short stories during his post graduation, people doubted his skills — they accused him of plagiarism and said that he wasn't talented. Fast forward to 2021, Goravara is popular in the Kannada literary circle for the journal that he publishes once in three months. Through Sangaata Pustaka, Goravara gives new writers from different walks of life a space to write their stories, poems and even review novels or analyse today's trend in Kannada literature. Sounds interesting, right? Let me tell you the story of how this all materialised.
Back to the beginning
Goravara says, "When people doubted my skills and commented on my work, I honestly wondered if knowledge or the art of writing is limited to a particular community or a class of people. Coming from a humble family where my father and mother worked as labourers in others' farms, I was the first in my family to be educated and qualify with a double degree. After completing my SSLC from a government school in Rajur village in Gadag district, I studied Arts in PUC and completed my BA degree from a private college in Gajendragad taluk. Since I was doing well in academics, everyone encouraged my parents to help me pursue my post graduation. I pursued an MA in Journalism at Karnatak University in Dharwad."
Even during his college days, Goravara was active in students politics and joined the Student Federation of India (SFI). He not only got to learn about the political state of the country but started reading a lot of books to enhance his knowledge and address people during speeches. "My interest towards Kannada literature grew more and I started visiting public libraries to read books. During my post graduation, my love for books grew deeper, I would bunk class only to spend time at the university library. During my college days, I wrote stories and poems for newspapers. Whenever there was any competition organised by media organisations or educational institutions, I was the first one to participate and would even win cash prizes," explains this 34-year-old.
The start of his literary journey
The first story that Goravara wrote was based on the women from a particular community in Karnataka who go about collecting hair from people's homes or beauty parlours. The hair is later smoothened and turned into supplements for women. But why this story, this community, these women? Gorarava explains, "When I was studying in Gajendragad, I would walk past this community on my way to college. I've spent time observing their life closely. The community exists even today in some of the smaller towns and villages. I decided to write something based on my experience with them and, of course, add a little fiction. My first story was Chouri Maaro Nuggi Kathe and it was quite popular. From then on, there has been no turning back for me. In 2006-07, I wrote seven small stories and published them as a book titled Brahme. This book was my first Katha Sankalana (collection of stories)."
When you are a young writer and a novice, it is difficult to convince people to publish your book. But that didn't worry Goravara much as he was confident of his stories. He approached the Kannada Pustaka Pradikara, an organisation that facilitates a network of writers, publishers and sellers. He says, "Every year, the Kannada Pustaka Pradikara provides some funds to authors who are below the age of 35 who want to publish their writing. It was the funds from this organisation that helped me publish Brahme in (year). Since then, I've gone on to publish several books including a novel, prose and poetry. One of my books, Aadu Kaayo Hudugana Dinachari, won the Karnataka Sahitya Academy award. This story was written based on my childhood experiences when I cared for sheep in the fields. My stories revolve around mundane things that others feel are small and common."
The opportunity of a lifetime
Coming back to his Kannada literary journal, Sangaata Pustaka, he started publishing it in 2018. "I was working with a famous Kannada newspaper at the time as a sub-editor. At one point, I felt that everything was just too routine and monotonous. While working for the newspaper, I started planning my own literary journal as there are fewer journals reviewing Kannada literature. That's how Sangaata Pustaka came into existence. Initially, I was working out of my house as there was not much money to invest. But as the journal started doing well, I shifted to Dharwad and started my office in the city. My wife, who is a teacher in a government school, helps me, financially, to bring out such a beautiful literary journal once in three months," he explains.
Explaining what he publishes in the journal, he says, "When I started writing during my college days, I did not have many platforms to publish my work. We know that a lot of youngsters in rural areas are extremely talented. All they need is a little push and somebody to help them learn the proper methods of writing. My journal is that platform for many new writers. In the fast few months, we have had a postman, a school teacher and others from various backgrounds write for our journal. Some senior writers also contribute regular columns. From publishing and selling only about 50 journals to now selling 1,600, it is a great satisfaction to me."
Currently, Goravara is planning to up the frequency and publish the journal once a month. He says, "Once the lockdown ends, my team and I are planning to make it monthly journal. We hope to make ourselves stronger on the finance side of things."