Shantappa Sharanappa Devaraya, writer, theatre personality, folk art scholar and lexicographer, known by his pen name ‘Deshamsha Hudagi’, died in Bidar on Wednesday night. He was 91. He leaves behind children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a large mass of readers and admirers.
He had suffered from COVID -19 related complications recently. He was admitted to the Bidar Institute of Medical Sciences.
Born to a humble farming family in Hudagi village in Bidar district, he studied Kannada till graduation and served as a high school teacher.
He wrote 60 books including poetry, short stories and on the Kalyan Karnataka history, commentaries on Vachanas of Sharanas, relationship between Kannada, Urdu and Dakhani, and a series of compilation of folk songs and arts.
He trained youngsters in theatre and performed around 25 plays in Kannada and directed another 20, says his long-time friend and theatre artist Shambhuling Waldoddi.
The Dharinadu Kannada Sangha, that Mr. Hudagi founded in the 1960, was among the earliest Kannada organisations in Kalyan Karnataka region.
However, he will be remembered forever for his lifetime work of providing a unique identity to the Kannada dialect spoken in Bidar district, that he used to fondly called ‘Bidri’. He compiled a dictionary of over 40,000 words spoken by Kannada speakers in Bidar district, that borders Maharahtra and Telangana on two sides. Mr. Waldoddi published the 615-page dictionary in 2010.
Mr. Hudagi was a winner of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy and Janapada Academy awards. He won the Best Teacher award by the State government.