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ABOUT US

As We Look Back :
            With the burden of seventy five years experience on its back, both happy and not-so-happy, Manohara Grantha Mala looks back wistfully on the scroll of its past history.

     
The Friends' Circle (Geleyara Gumpu)
            About seventy five years ago, the winds of nationalism set a new blossoming in some Kannada spirits. Chief among whom was late D. R. Bendre, the poet in North Karnataka. He drew some likeminded persons to form "The Friends' Circle"  (Geleyara  Gumpu) which event proved of   historical importance. Shortlived though 'The Friends' Circle' was, it provided the base for Kannada activity. Even today its associates rank among the foremost Kannada writers. It was not just a forum but a training ground and the guiding genius of late D. R. Bendre made a multifoliate blossoming in others. 'Swadharma' and 'Jaya Karnataka' periodicals were its chief organs. The "Nadahabba"  National    Festival - owes its revival to "Geleyara Gumpu". Though as an institution it could not hold together, the idealism it enkindled proved enduring and Manohara Grantha Mala is the offshoot of the same idealism.
   
Manohara Grantha Mala :
            When the great crash broke up Jaya Karnataka Periodical, Jaya Karnataka Publications, Jaya Karnataka Press, Young members like Prahlad Naregal, Govind Chulki and KrishnaSharma Betgeri tried to revive the publication under Mr. S. B. Joshi's guidance. KrishnaSharma Betgeri (Anandakanda's) first novel 'Sudarshana' was their publication brought out one the 15th August 1933. The new publication series was named "Manohara Grantha Mala" by Krishnasharma Betgeri. Mr. G. B. Joshi, another member of the "Geleyara Gumpu" was their associate and worker, the same idealism motivated their labour of love. That was its chief capital, because the rest of the earthly needs, was obtained on loan. Paper loaned from Jayantilal Gandhi & Co. a Bombay firm, printing on deferred payment done by late K. G. Rayadurg at his Mohan Press, books written free of royalty by friends trained in Geleyara Gumpu. Such is the origin of Manohara Grantha Mala. Six books were printed in the very first year. It was soon clear that Manohara Grantha Mala could not cash its workers even its bare substance; neither did  they wish to close it down and naturally  only  one was left to look after it; and that was Mr. G. B. Joshi (Jadabharata) who took over the burden a little nervously.

 

The Trio (Literary Advisers)
            While Mr. G. B. Joshi was willing to shoulder its profit or loss, its good or bad reputation, its pinch or pleasure, he needed the advice in literary matters. Prof. D. R. Bendre, Prof. V. K. Gokak, Prof. R. S. Mugali constituted the advisory trio, their taste and critical vigilance has obtained for the Mala its present status.  In particular, the keen interest evinced by Prof. R. S. Mugali helped the sustenance of standards. Prof. Kirtinath Kurtkoti joined the Mala as the adviser just before its Silver Jubilee Volumes and contributed the prestiguous critical articles on the history of  Kannada literature. His critical approach created a new awareness among the readers, and his crystal clear fluent style made his criticism also a  creative writing. Then onwards, he had been working shoulder to shoulder with the Mala. Mr. G. B. Joshi. however, acted the priest, the soldier, the merchant and the slave, as usual till his death in 2003. Now, Padma Bhushan, Jnanapeetha Awardee Shri Girish Karnad has accepted to be the literary advisor.

 
 
 
 

The Service Record :
            The Mala has an unbroken record of service since 1933.  It has contributed valuable works to Kannada Literature. Novels, Short story collections, Plays, One-act-collection, Biographies, Diaries, Miscellaneous works, in all volumes, that is an impressive record. Works of poetry and criticism issued as single volumes is another record. Thus the Mala has played its part in fostering a literary taste. Not a single publication has departed on the wrong side from its set standards. Some of them have proved the directing forces to the main stream of Kannada literature.


            Shriranga's  Vishwamitrana  Srishti, published in 1934 is still a model for psycho-analytical fiction, Shivaram Karanth's Marali Mannige, Vinayaka's Samarasave Jeevana, Mirji's Nisarga are some of the greatest regional novels in Kannada. A. N. Krishnarao's Sandhya-Raga and Mangalasutra proved the most popular; Mr. Mokashi's Gangawwa and Gangamai and Shri Raobahadur's Gramayana, U. R. Ananthamurthy’s Sumskar reached a new height in structure and character; Kurihindu by Jaladhara is a rare sample of translating art; N. Kasturi's Chakradrishti and Grihadaranyaka display a sense of humour not known to Kannada before; D. R. Bendre's Hosa Samsara, Kirtinath's Aa Mani, Jadabharata's Mookabali, Girish Karnad's Yayati, Tughlak & Hayavadana, Kambar's Rishyashringa are the rarest among Kannada plays. Further, the Mala has published the verse collections of  D. R. Bendre, V. K. Gokak, R. S. Mugali, A. K. Ramanujan and criticism of V. Sitaramaiah and Sadanand Naik.

 

Apart from the individual excellence of these works, the general literary significance of the Mala merits special attention. It would be wrong to say that the Mala has published only the best. The future, not we, should judge that. What is to be valued is the far-reaching design the Mala has pursued in choosing this book or that. The Mala has given scope to literary experiments of a wide variety. It believes that as in life so in art, creativeness is a value greater than renown. More than the number of books brought out, what the Mala treasures is the joy of the human history behind each publication. As a result, there are fluctuations in the subscribing public; often there is adverse criticism, as much as generous appreciation; but the Mala can undoubtedly be proud of the perceptive Kannada readership in whose making had no small part. Literature is an act of faith as much to the Mala as to the readership it  has created. The Mala can boast that is never descended to a level of taste which would have ensured a commercial success.  On the contrary, it fostered the only taste that can be termed literary, and it widened the perceptivity of its readership only within this category. To discover springs of art and to test one's effort by stern literary judgement are the two impulses that rendered this achievement possible.

 

His eldest son, Ramakant Joshi who grew with Grantha Mala, shouldered the responsibilities along with GB. Later, after his death in 1993, he took the entire responsibility.

His second son, Gopal Joshi assisted in distributing books to the subscribers till 2000. His contribution in maintaining the direct contact with the subscribers was of great help.

His third son, Raghavendra Joshi, who became an engineer and served in MSEB and later has become an industrialist in Mumbai has supported the Grantha Mala financially in critical times and even now morally supporting it.

 

His grand son – Ramakant Joshi’s son – Sameer Joshi after graduating himself and having training in printing technology, joined the family business in 1999 and carrying the mantle of GB. He has started a sister concern in the name of Jadabharata Prakashan devoted to Children’s Literature.