MY VIEW: These Are North Karnataka’s Incredible Contributions to Karnataka and India


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I am so happy that someone has asked about the contributions of North Karnataka to Karnataka and India. Now brace yourselves — this is going to be a long answer!

Karnataka Ekikarana Movement

north karnataka

Aluru Venkata Rao

Source: Facebook
This is possibly the most important North Karnataka’s contribution towards Karnataka; the movement for statehood began in Dharwad, North Karnataka. Except for the Mysore kingdom, none of the current districts of North Karnataka belonged to a province where Kannada was given its due respect. The movement for a Kannada-speaking state began in the North where people were desperate to protect their language. Most of the leaders of the movement were from the North — chief among them was Aluru Venkata Rao.
Aluru Venkata Rao was a student of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and a contemporary of Veer Savarkar. Now both Lokmanya and Savarkar are national figures, but Aluru Venkata Rao is not very famous outside Karnataka. But this doesn’t matter, since he is one of the greatest Kannadigas of all time who fought for Kannada. His work Karnataka Gatha Vaibhava is a masterpiece which instilled a feeling of pride in Kannadigas who had fallen into a slumber after the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire.
north karnataka
Source: Wikimedia

Food

Dharwad Pedha
north karnataka
Source: Wikimedia  
            This delicacy, unique to Karnataka, has a 150-year-old history. Babu Singh Thakur invented this dish. It is a mouthwatering sweet and a favourite of many people.
Belagavi Kunda
north karnataka
Source: Twitter
            From Dharwad, let’s move to Belagavi, whose kunda can give stiff competition to the pedha. It is equally delicious and a joy to eat.
Gokak Karadantu
north karnatakaSource: Pinterest
         Also in Belagavi district is Gokak, the town of the famous Jnanapeeth-awardee V. K. Gokak. Gokak is famous for its Karadantu.
Mirchi Bhajji
north karnataka
Source: Pinterest
          Okay, enough with the sweets. Let’s sample some some mirchi (chilli) bhajji. Although not exclusive to this region, the variant found in North Karnataka is very delicious — particularly in the Hyderabad Karnataka region. Try the Gulbarga cut bhajji once — you’ll never feel the same way about this dish again.

History/Culture

I probably should have included this before the food… but the thought of Dharwad pedha carried me away. North Karnataka is rich in history — most of the larger and more powerful empires ruled from this area. The Kadambas ruled from Banavasi (coastal, but still part of the North), the Chalukyas from Badami.
north karnataka

Image of Vishnu inside a Badami cave temple

Source: Wikimedia
The Rashtrakutas ruled from Manyakheta (modern-day Malkhed in Gulbarga district), the Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani, and the most glorious of them all — the Vijayanagara Empire — ruled from Hampi.
north karnataka

Vittala Temple, Hampi

Source: Wikimedia

Apart from these, the Deccan Sultanate and the Bahmani Sultanate also left their mark on the North. Some architecture from this time includes the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur, the Jama Masjid of Gulbarga, and the Bidar Fort.

north karnataka

Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

Jama Masjid, Gulbarga

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

Bidar Fort

Source: Wikimedia

Music

Karnataka is famous for Carnatic music. The Northern part of the state has given us some outstanding musicians — in both the Carnatic and Hindustani styles. The legendary Dasas and Sharanas have included the likes of Purandara Dasa, Vijaya Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, and Basavanna.
north karnataka

Purandara Dasa

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

Statue of Basavanna

Source: Wikimedia
More recent greats in the field like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hanagal, Mallikarjuna Mansur, Madhava Gudi, and Puttaraj Gavai are also from North Karnataka.
north karnataka

Bhimsen Joshi

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

Gangubai Hangal

Source: Twitter

Literature

North Karnataka is possibly the literary hub of the Kannada language, with Dharwad being its literary capital. The legendary Pampa, Ronna, and Ranna were all from the North, as was the great Kumaravyasa. More recently, D. R. Bendre, V. K. Gokak, Girish Karnad, and Chandrashekar Kambar are all from the North.
north karnataka

D.R. Bendre

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

V.K. Gokak

Source: Bharat Discovery
north karnataka

Chandrashekhara Kambara

Source: Wikimedia

Huilgol Narayana Rao from Gadag was a playwright and freedom fighter who composed the original state anthem of Karnataka: Udayavagali Namma Cheluva Kannada Nadu.

north karnataka

Huilgol Narayana Rao

Source: Wikimedia

Technology

Sudha Murthy (née Kulkarni), Nandan Nilekani, Gururaj Deshpande, and Anant Koppar are all from the North. Besides technology, Sudha Murthy is also famous for her outstanding writing and philanthropy.
north karnataka

Sudha Murthy

Source: Wikimedia
north karnataka

Nandan Nilekani

Source: Wikimedia

Gururaj Deshpande, popularly called “Desh”, is the brother-in-law of N. R. Narayana Murthy. Desh founded Tejas Networks and is also a life member of the MIT Corporation and MIT board of trustees.

north karnataka

Gururaj Deshpande

Source: Deshpande Foundation

Cinema

The legendary Nag brothers — Anant and Shankar — are from Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
north karnataka

Shankar and Ananth Nag

Source: One Music

Sunil Kumar Desai, the director of movies such as Nishkarsha, Nammoora Mandara Hoove, Marma, Beladingala Baale, and Sparsha is from Bijapur.

north karnataka

Sunil Kumar Desai

Source: Wikimedia

Yashwant Sardeshpande is a famous theater artist and playwright; his plays have had more than 500 shows across Karnataka. He wrote all the dialogue for Kamal Hassan in Rama Shama Bhama. Radhika Pandit is also from Uttara Kannada district. Atul Kulkarni is from Belagavi.

north karnataka

Atul Kulkarni

Source: Twitter
The famous writer and lyricist Jayant Kaikini is from Uttara Kannada. Also, although famous director, lyricist, singer, and master of all trades Yogaraj Bhat (Bhatru) is from Udupi, he spent a large part of his life in Dharwad. Even in Telugu cinema, North Karnataka has contributed a lot. Telugu actor Srikanth is originally from Gangavati. The famous director S. S. Rajamouli was born and brought up in Raichur.

Others

Sunil Joshi was a boy from Gadag who used to run 40 km from his village just so he could play cricket. His dedication paid off; he represented India regularly in international cricket from 1996 to 1999. Sunil Joshi is also one of the most decorated players in the Ranji Trophy and has many records to his name.
north karnataka

Sunil Joshi

Source: Wikimedia

Kittur Rani Chennamma and Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna are two famous freedom fighters from Karnataka. Lieutenant General Ramesh Halagali from Bagalkot is the Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva medal.

These are just some of the contributions of North Karnataka to Karnataka and India. If you asked me the biggest contribution, I would have to say the state of Karnataka itself — the North was the backbone for the Karnataka Ekikarana Movement, and Aluru Venkata Rao was the undisputed leader of the movement.

– Aditya Kulkarni

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About the author: Aditya Kulkarni lives in Bengaluru, Karnataka. This answer was originally published on Quora.

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