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Born 9 August 1909

Savanur Princely state, Deccan States
Agency, British India (Savanur in present-
day Haveri districtof Karnataka)
Died 28 April 1992 (aged 82)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Occupation Professor, writer
Nationality Indian
Genre Fiction
movement Navodaya
Spouse Sharada Betadur
Children 4


Vinayaka Krishna Gokak (9 August 1909 – 28 April 1992) was a major writer in
the Kannada language and a scholar of English and Kannada literatures. He was the fifth
writer[1] to be honoured with the Jnanpith Award in 1990 for Kannada language, for
his epic Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi. Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi deals with the Vedic ageand
is perhaps the longest epic narrative in any language in the 20th Century. In 1961,
Gokak was awarded the Padma Shri from the Government of India for Dyava Prithvi.
 1 Academic life
 2 Literary Career and Success
 3 Writings
 3.1 Epics
 3.2 Novels
 3.3 Poetry collections
 3.4 Other
 4 Honors and awards
 4.1 Translations
 5 See also
 6 References
 7 External links

Academic life
Gokak was born on 9 August 1909 to Sundarabai and Krishna Rao.[2] He was educated
in Majid High School, Savanur, and attended the Karnatak College Dharwar, where he stud-
ied literature. He was later awarded first class honours by the University of Oxford. On his
return from Oxford in 1938, he became the principal of Willingdon College, Sangli. He was
principal of Rajaram College, Kolhapur, Maharashtra from 1950 to 1952. Between 1983
and 1987, he served as the president of the Sahitya Akademi. He also served as the Di-
rector of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, and the Central Institute of English, Hy-
derabad. He was an ardent devotee of the spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba and served as the
first Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, between
1981 and 1985, after a stint with the Bangalore University.[3] His novel Samarasave
Jeevana is considered one of the typical works of Navodaya literature in Kannada.
Literary Career and Success
Gokak was a prolific writer in both Kannada and English. He was deeply influenced by
the Kannada poet D.R Bendre who mentored him during his early forays into Kannada
literature. Bendre is reputed to have said that were Gokak to allow his talent to bloom in
Kannada, there was a bright future in wait for Gokak and Kannada literature.

His epic 'Bharatha Sindhurashmi', running into 35000 lines, is notably the longest epic
written in this century, for which he received the Jnanpith Award and also honorary doc-
torates from Karnataka University and Pacific University, USA.

His novel 'Samarasave Jeevana' was translated by his daughter Yashodhara Bhat into
English under the title 'The Agony and the Ecstasy' and released to worldwide

In the 1980s, Karnataka was in the midst of an agitation which demanded the replace-
ment of Sanskrit with Kannada as the medium of instruction in schools. V.K Gokak also
headed the 'Gokak Committee' which recommended declaring Kannada as the first lan-
guage in schools in the state.

Gokak's writing reflected his interest in religion, philosophy, education and cultures. His
education abroad prompted him to write two sets of travelogues.

The Navodaya movement was at its peak and Gokak stayed true to his spirit- his poems
showed nuances of Victorian poetry, oral traditions in Kannada storytelling and epics in
Sanskrit and Kannada.

V.K Gokak wrote many collections of poetry under the pen name Vinayaka. These col-
lections include 'Samudra Geethegalu', 'Baaladeguladalli', 'Abhyudaya', 'Dhyava Prithvi'
and 'Urnabha'.

Gokak's anthology of poetry by Indian poets titled The Golden Treasury of Indo Anglican
poetry was a treatise on poets like Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu and Toru Dutta, Nissim
Ezekiel and Kamala Das.
In the late 1960s he was deeply influenced by Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi and
over the years, Gokak became the medium for translating the guru's words into English
and spreading it to the world. His book 'The Advent of Sathya Sai' explains the meaning
of Sathya Sai Baba's miracles, his work with the poor and his impact on the educational

The state of Karnataka hosts a series of literary events to mark Gokak's birth centenary
on 9 August of every year.