S. L. Bhyrappa

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Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa (Kannada: ಸಂತೇಶಿವರ ಲಿಂಗಣ್ಣಯ್ಯ ಭೈರಪ್ಪ) (born 26 July 1934) is a Kannada novelist, whose works are popular in the state of Karnataka, India.[1] Bhyrappa is widely regarded as one of modern India's popular novelists.[2] His novels are unique in terms of theme, structure, and characterization.[3] He has been among the top selling authors in the Kannada language. Books written by him have been translated to Hindi and Marathi and have also been top sellers.[4] He has been awarded with the 20th Saraswati Samman in 2010.[5]

S.L. Bhyrappa
BornSanteshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa
(1934-07-26) 26 July 1934 (age 85)
Santeshivara, Hassan district, Karnataka, India
OccupationWriter, novelist, professor
GenreFiction, history
SubjectPhilosophy, History, Aesthetics
Notable awardsSahitya Akademi Award
Saraswati Samman
Padma Shri award
Sahitya Akademi Fellowship
National Research Professor

Bhyrappa's works do not fit into any specific genre of contemporary Kannada literature such as Navodaya, Navya, Bandaya, or Dalita, partly because of the range of topics he writes about. His major works have been in the center of several heated public debates and controversies.[1] In March 2015, Bhyrappa was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.[6] The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 2016.[7]


Early lifeEdit

S L Bhyrappa was born at Santeshivara, a village in the Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district, about 162 km from Bangalore. He lost his mother and brothers to Bubonic plague early in his childhood and took on odd jobs to pay for his education. During his childhood, he was influenced by the writings of Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar.

Bhyrappa completed his primary education in Channarayapatna taluk before moving to Mysore where he completed the rest of his education. In his autobiography, Bhitti (Wall) he records a break in his high school education. Bhyrappa impulsively quit school, following his cousin's advice and wandered for a year with him. His sojourn led him to Mumbai, where he worked as a railway porter. In Mumbai he met a group of sadhus and joined them to seek spiritual solace. He wandered with them for a few months before returning to Mysore to resume his education.



S L Bhyrappa was a Lecturer of Philosophy at Sri Kadasiddheshwar College, Hubli; Sardar Patel University in Gujarat; NCERT, Delhi; and the Regional College of Education, Mysore from which he retired in 1991. Bhyrappa has two sons and lives with his wife in Mysore.

Bhyrappa is widely read in English, Kannada, and Sanskrit, and educated in Indian and western philosophy.[8]


Starting with Bheemakaya, first published in 1958, Bhyrappa has authored twenty four novels in a career spanning more than five decades. Vamshavruksha, Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Matadana and Nayi Neralu were made into films that received critical acclaim. Vamshavruksha has received the Kannada Sahitya Academy Award in 1966 and Daatu (Crossing Over) received both the Kannada and the Kendra Sahitya Academy awards in 1975.[9] Parva, the most critically acclaimed of all his novels narrates the social structure, values and mortality in the epic of Mahabharata very effectively. Bhyrappa reconstructs the Mahabharatha from sociological and anthropological angle, through metaphors in this novel.[10]


Many of Bhyrappa's novels have been translated into other Indian languages and English.[2] Bhyrappa has been one of the best selling authors in Kannada for the past twenty five years, and translations of his books have been best sellers for the past eight years in the Marathi and in the past five years in Hindi.[4]

Most of his novels have been reprinted several times. His recently printed novel Aavarana was sold out even before its release. The novel went on to create a record in Indian literary circles with ten reprints within five months of its release.[11] His latest novel Yaana ("journey"), was released on August 2014. All his novels are published by Saahitya Bhandaara in Hubli, Karnataka.


Bhyrappa was the center of several controversies because of his themes and positions on sensitive issues.[1] Some of Bhyrappa's prominent novels (such as Vamshavruksha, Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane, Parva, and Saartha) have strong roots in ancient Indian philosophical tradition, thus inviting severe criticism from the Navya writers and from others. Bhyrappa supported N. R. Narayana Murthy when the latter was criticized by the media and the public regarding the controversy over playing an instrumental version of the national anthem at an important occasion. He also backed N. R. Narayana Murthy regarding Kaveri issue saying riots and protests are not going to solve the issue.[12] Bhyrappa had a debate with Girish Karnad in the publication Vijaya Karnataka regarding the religious tolerance of 18th century Mysore ruler Tippu Sultan. In Bhyrappa's novel Aavarana, he accuses Tippu Sultan of being a religious fanatic who could not stand Hindus in his court. Bhyrappa had substantiated the argument based on several historic sources written in India during Tippu Sultan's rule. One of the issues Bhyrappa raised was the usage of the Persian word bin (which is used to refer to a person as a "son of") in the Government of Karnataka records even during modern times. This practice started during Tippu Sultan's rule, which according to Bhyrappa was one of the several methods used to enforce Islamic rule on Hindus. The book discusses other methods used by Tippu Sultan to convert Hindus to Islam. Bhyrappa backs his claims with historical references. This was criticized by Girish Karnad, who portrays Tippu Sultan as a secular ruler in his plays. Bhyrappa accused Karnad of giving an inaccurate account of Tippu Sultan in his plays.

U.R. Ananthamurthy was a prominent critic of Bhyrappa's novels. Bhyrappa has documented his debate with Ananthamurthy in Bhitti, as well as in a few essays in his book Naaneke Bareyuttene. Bhyrappa's more recent novel Avarana brings out historical information about what Islamic rule did to ancient Indian social and cultural life. This has stirred a major controversy. There have been accusations leveled at Bhyrappa of being a Hindu fundamentalist who wants to divide society on the basis of history, an allegation which Bhyrappa anticipates and tries to refute by referring to notable sources.[13] Ananthamurthy criticized Bhyrappa and his works, calling Aavarana "dangerous". Ananthamurthy accused Bhyrappa of being more of a debater than a storyteller (Quote: "doesn't know what Hindu religion stands for" and "does not know how to write novels").[14] However Bhyrappa claims that the novel was result of his search for truth and there was no ulterior motive behind the novel. He urges critics to study the reference books mentioned in the novel before arriving at any conclusion about it.[15]

National awardsEdit

State awardsEdit

Dr. Bhyrappa's felicitation ceremony at SanteshivaraEdit



  • Bhitti/ಭಿತ್ತಿ (1996)


  • Parva-Sakshi/ಪರ್ವ-ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ

Short Stories/ಸಣ್ಣಕಥೆEdit

His short story "Avva"/ಅವ್ವ was published in the Kasturi magazine and it's considered as his maiden short story.

Bhyrappa's novels translated into other languagesEdit

  • Dharmashree : Sanskrit, Marathi
  • Vamshavruksha : Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, English
  • Nayi-Neralu : Gujarati, Hindi
  • Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane : Hindi
  • Gruhabhanga : All 14 scheduled languages of India, English
  • Nirakarana : Hindi
  • Daatu : All 14 scheduled languages of India, English
  • Anveshana : Marathi, Hindi
  • Parva : Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, English
  • Nele : Hindi
  • Sakshi : Hindi, English
  • Anchu : Marathi, Hindi
  • Tantu : Marathi, Hindi
  • Sartha : Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, English
  • Aavarana : Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil,English
  • Naneke Bareyuttene : Marathi, English
  • Satya mattu Soundarya : English
  • Bhitti : Marathi, Hindi
  • Mandra : Marathi, Hindi, English

Bhyrappa's novels on screenEdit


Television SeriesEdit

  • Gruhabhanga
  • Daatu (Hindi)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Still on top of the charts". Online webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  2. ^ a b "S L Bhyrappa". Online Webpage of India book club. The India Club. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Novelist S.L. Bhyrappa". Vikas Kamat on Kamat's Potpourri. Kamat's Potpourri. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Personalities of Mysore". Online Webpage of Dasara Committee. Mysore city corporation. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  5. ^ https://m.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/eminent-kannada-author-s-l-bhyrappa-awarded-20th-saraswati-samman-for-his-novel-mandra-1321531975-1
  6. ^ a b "Sahitya Akademi elects S L Bhyrappa, C Narayana Reddy as fellows". NetIndian. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Padma Awards 2016". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  8. ^ a b https://www.thenigerianvoice.com/amp/news/211251/noted-kannada-novelist-prof-bhyrappa-to-interact-with-guwaha.html
  9. ^ "Sahitya Akademi Awards 1955–2005". Online Webpage of Sahitya Academy. Sahitya Academy of India. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  10. ^ "Bhyrappa to receive Deraje Award". Online Webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 10 February 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  11. ^ "Bhyrappas work speaks volumes; goes for 10th edition". Online Webpage of Deccan Herald. Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  12. ^ "I stand by NRN: Bhyrappa". Online Webpage of Deccan Herald. Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  13. ^ "Masks of untruth". Online Webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  14. ^ Bhyrappa a debater, not a story-teller, says URA Archived 3 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine Deccan Herald – 28 May 2007
  15. ^ "Bhyrappa hits out at critics". Online Webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  16. ^ http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=135783
  17. ^ "Saffron' authors, ex-BJP MLC get top research post".
  18. ^ "Bhyrappa chosen for Nrupatunga award".
  19. ^ "Award for Dr. SL Bhyrappa".
  20. ^ "Mysore varsity doctorate for Premji, Bhyrappa, Nagathihalli Chandrashekar".
  21. ^ "Highs and lows".
  22. ^ "Mysore: Writer S L Bhyrappa Chosen for Rare Honour".
  23. ^ "T Bhyrappa given NTR literary award". Online Webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  24. ^ "Varsity honours Bhyrappa, Nagappa and Wadavati".
  25. ^ "Change education system to protect literature: Bhyrappa". Online Webpage of The Hindu. Chennai, India: The Hindu. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  26. ^ http://slbhyrappa.in/sakshi-the-witness/


  • Bhitti (Mural) by S.L. Bhyrappa, an autobiography
  • Naaneke Bareyuttene by S.L. Bhyrappa, a collection of essays about writing
  • S. L. Bhyrappa Badaku-Baraha by Nagaraj Neeragunda on S.L. Bhyrappa's life and works

External Links and Further ReadingEdit

  • Interview with S L Bhyrappa – Times of India [1]
  • Pampa Award to Bhyrappa in 2001
  • Belagere Krishnashastri, Mareyaladeete, for a warm-hearted interpretation of the author's experiences with Bhyrappa.
  • Bhyrappabhinandana, a felicitation book on S.L. Bhyrappa
  • S.L. Bhyrappa Avara Krutigala Vimarshe a collection of literary criticism on S.L.Bhyrappa's works compiled by Sumateendra Nadig
  • Mandra-Manthana, a collection of essays about S.L. Bhyrappa's novel, Mandra, by various literary critics
  • Gruhabhanga pdf book at internet archive