Discovering A Poet At Bendre Bhavan, Dharwad

Caricature of D R Bendre at Bendre Bhavan Dharwad
Caricature of D R Bendre

I have lived in Karnataka for a long time and I can understand Kannada a bit, but not to the extent to be able to appreciate literature and poetry. So I had no clue about who D R Bendre is, till I decided to go and explore Hubli Dharwad and a friend told me to visit Bendre museum. I still assumed it to be a local museum. Incidentally the first place that I saw in Dharwad was Bendre Bhavan or Museum and that is where numerous portraits of D R Bendre spoke to me through his piercing eyes – eyes that had the ability to read you like a book.

Bendre Bhavan Dharwad – Places to visit near Hubli

Bendre Bhavan Building Dharwad, Karnataka
Bendre Bhavan

A lady showed me the hall fit some small to mid sized performances and directed me to go upstairs to see the museum. This is the first time I was in a museum dedicated to a literary figure. It was full of his dramatic portraits, his photographs and his poetry. There were life size photographs along with his few lines of poetry – each trying to complete the other. D R Bendre who wrote under the pen name Ambikatanayadatta lives in this hall through his words, pictures, caricatures, degrees & decorations.

Inside Bendre Bhavan, Dharwad, Karnataka
Inside Bendre Bhavan

A poem that struck a cord said:

Rasa hai Janan

Neeras hai Maran

Samrasta hi Jeevan

Roughly it would mean

Rasa is Birth

Absence of Rasa is death

Balacing of Rasas is Life


Bhav Bhasha ka Mool

Bhasha veshovesh

Roughly translated would mean

Emotion is the root of the language

Language is the emotion taking form

Rasa is the creative juice – and in Indian Art forms it is defined by 9 different emotions.

Portrait of D R Bendre at Bendre Bhavan, Dharwad, Karnataka
Portrait of D R Bendre

Looking at my interest the lady showed me a library on the mezzanine floor and I could not thank her enough, though I could only admire the books as most of them were in Kannada and Marathi. She then asked me if I would like to meet D R Bendre’s son Vaman Bendre, who lives next door and I said ‘Of course, yes’. They say in Dharwad if you throw a stone it is bound to hit a poet or a musician, so how could I not meet D R Bendre’s family in Dharwad.

House of D R Bendre, Dharwad, Karnataka
House of D R Bendre

Through the front gate, I entered a very traditional house in yellow. D R bendre’s grand daughter Punarvasu Bendre came out and invited me to front room that had Bendre’s Gyanpeeth Award and a stone idol of Saraswati embedded in the wall. A small bookshelf had families own collection of books. She showed me three trees in her garden. The legend is that these trees took permission to be born in this garden from Bendre, her grandfather. In one corner of the garden is a memorial with a small bust of Bender and poems he wrote for his wife. I thought that was really sweet. Apparently Pt Bhimsen Joshi also lived for sometime on the land on which Bendre Bhavan stands now. I picked up a few of D R Bendre’s books that were available in English and I hope to read them at leisure some day.

Other famous personalities and the Places to visit in Hubli Dharwad are listed below, read them and explore.

As I was leaving Punarvasu ji offered me sweet saying it is a tradition. I was touched by her simplicity and by the love of the city of Dharwad for the love it shows to its legendary sons and daughters. I wish more cities in India celebrate their own talent and preserve it so well for the future generations.