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T R Subba Rao

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Pen name  Ta Ra Su (ತ ರಾ ಸು)
Name  T. Subba
Parents  Ramaswamaiah, Seethamma
Genre  Fiction
Literary movement  Kannada

Nationality  India
Died  April 10, 1984, Bengaluru
Occupation  Writer, professor
Role  Novelist
Ex-spouse  Ambuja
T. R. Subba Rao wwwsrikantasastriorgcommunities8004008488

Born  21 April 1920Malebennur, Harihar taluk, Davangere district, Karnataka (1920-04-21)
Movies  Naagarahaavu, Masanada Hoovu, Gaali Maathu, Chandanada Gombe, Basant Bahar
Similar People  Puttanna Kanagal, Mahatma Gandhi, S K Bhagavan, K S Ashwath, A N Krishna Rao


T. R. Subba Rao (1920–1984) (Taluku Ramaswami Subba Rao (Kannada: ತಳುಕು ರಾಮಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಸುಬ್ಬ ರಾವ್), popularly known as TaRaSu) was a novelist and a scholar in Kannada language. He is considered as a harbinger of the Navya movement of Kannada literature. He is well known for his novels like Durgashtamana, which won him the Sahitya Akademi award posthumously in 1985.


Early life

TaRaSu was born on 21 April 1920 in Malebennur in the Karnataka state of India. His father Ramaswamaiah was a lawyer in the town of Harihar and his mother was Seethamma. His ancestors were from the village of Taluku in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka. He wrote his first story called Puttana Chendu (Putta's ball) to win a bet against his uncle TS Venkannaiah who made self-less contribution to Kannada language through promoting many prominent authors. When he was 17 years old, he joined the Indian freedom movement and went around the villages in the Chitradurga district, singing patriotic songs and giving speeches for independence. He was arrested and jailed when he was giving one of the speeches in Bagur village.

Fearing that his son would lose out on education by joining the freedom movement, Ramaswamaiah admitted his son to the National School in Bangalore. After completing his secondary education, TaRaSu joined a college in Shimoga. After completing his junior intermediate education, he joined a college in Tumkur to complete senior intermediate education. However, the students started boycotting the classes due to the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi and others during the Quit India movement. He and his friends started making plans to join the movement. This came to the notice of the police, who arrested TaRaSu and jailed him. He was released in the month of December 1942. He decided that he was not going to study further unless India attains independence. He was an atheist in early life but converted into a believer in the later stages.


TaRaSu's came from a literary family. His niece Vishalakshi Dakshinamurthy, is a notable Kannada Novelist and writer famous for his novel based film Jeevana Chaitra which starred Dr.Rajakumar, well known Kannada Actor. TaSu Sham Rao, was also related to TaRaSu. His extended family includes, Belegre Krishna Sastry, and Ravi Belegre

As a journalist

In 1942, TaRaSu went to Bangalore and joined as a sub-editor for the Kannada newspaper, VishwaKarnataka, earning a paltry sum of Rs. 25 as salary per month. During this period, he married Ambuja. He later worked for the Prajamatha, Vahini and Navodaya newspapers. His career in journalism also included a stint with Prajavani, Mysuru, Kaladoota and Vicharavani newspapers.

As a writer

TaRaSu was initially influenced by the Pragatisheela writings of the Kannada scholar A. N. Krishna Rao. Hence, his initial writings belong to the pragatisheela style and contain novels like Purushavatara and Munjavininda Munjavu. These writings mainly deal with the issues faced by the downtrodden and the lower caste society. Occasionally, he also came up with novels that were not of this genre, like Chandavalliya Thota which was based on a Gandhian theme of rural life in India. Some of his most celebrated novels include Masanada Hoovu, which talks about the plight of prostitutes and Hamsa Geethe, which talks about the life of a musician in the context of Chitradurga being passed from the hands of the Palaiyakkarars to Hyder Ali. Both of these novels have been made into films in Kannada. Hamsageethe was chosen as a text book for graduation classes and a Hindi film, Basant Bahar, was based on it.

TaRaSu has also written many historical novels, the most famous being Durgaastamana (fall of the Durga fort), which won him the Sahitya Akademi award in 1985. This was the last novel that he wrote and it talks of the fall of Chitradurga Palaiyakkarars under the hands of Hyder Ali. His another historical novel based on Chitradurga's history is Kambaniya Kuyilu and its sequels Tirugubana and Raktaratri. He also wrote a novel called Shilpashree which is based on Chavundaraya, the person who commissioned the statue of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola. For nearly two decades, much of the historical source material for his numerous novels were sufficed by the eminent Indian historian S. Srikanta Sastri. S. Srikanta Sastri even wrote an erudite and scholarly foreword to one of Ta. Ra. Su.'s famous novels – "Nrupatunga". TaRaSu experimented with various narrative styles and was the first author to introduce the stream-of-consciousness literary technique in Kannada. He also used the Indian independence movement as a background in his novels, like Rakta Tarpana. When the Navya (modernist) movement of Kannada literature was in its infancy, TaRaSu contributed to its growth by coming up with various books belonging to this genre, like his collection of short stories, Girimalligeya Nandanadalli which shows the confusion during the shift from progressive to modernist form of literature.

Later life

TaRaSu had planned to write many more books but they remained incomplete. This includes his autobiography, Hindirugi Nodidaaga (As I look back). He died on 10 Apr 1984. The autobiography was completed by his wife and released in 1990.


T. R. Subba Rao Wikipedia