Featured: Triveni Page 1 of 2
Bhagirathi was born in Mandya on 1st of September, 1928 to parents B. M. Krishnaswamy and Thangamma. Krishnaswamy was the younger brother of the doyen of Kannada literature - B. M. Srikantaiah and practised law. Bhagirathi’s younger sister Aryamba Pattabhi was also a famous Kannada writer. The sisters were born into a lineage of writers. Their aunt was another famous Kannada novelist Vani (B. N. Subbamma). Other prominent litterateurs in the family included the likes of Ashwatha, Ramachandra Sharma and Rajalakshmi. N. Rao. Though named Bhagirathi, she was registered in the school records as ‘Anasuya’ and was fondly called ‘Anchu’ at home.
She had her schooling at Mandya before moving to Mysore for her Intermediate qualification. She did her Bachelor’s degree at Maharaja College, Mysore in her chosen subjects – Psychology, Sociology and Political Science. She graduated in 1947 and won the ‘Siddegowda Gold Medal’ for scoring the highest marks. She was also awarded the ‘Thathaiah Award’. About this time, she met S. N. Shankar who was doing his Honours in English literature at Maharaja College, Mysore. The two shared many an engaging discussion on their shared literary interests. She finally got married to Shankar in 1951, who was by now teaching English at Sharada Vilas College, Mysore. Soon after her education, for a brief period, she taught at an elementary school in Mandya before giving it up.
An asthmatic since childhood, her involvement in sports was limited. Since her younger years, she took avidly to reading voraciously. This contributed a great deal towards her writing sojourn. Her first novel “Hoovu Hannu” was penned in 1950. She was fluent in Kannada, English and Bengali and wrote under the pen name of ‘Triveni’. As to why she chose this pen name remains unclear to this day. It is rumoured that the famous Kannada writer M. K. Indira after observing young Bhagirathi’s lush mane of hair remarked that she was blessed with enough hair on her head for three full length braids (and hence Tri - veni!).
She wrote for nearly 12 years and her output during this time was prolific. She wrote 21 novels, the last of which she left incomplete and was later finished on her behalf by another famous writer M. C. Padma. She wrote 41 short stories distributed across three volumes during these years.
Movies based on her works
1 Sep. 1928
29 Jan 1963
Maharaja College, Mysore
Portrayal of plight of women in Indian Society, Feminine Psychology and Kannada Novels and Short Stories many of which were made into popular movies of the art genre.
"Devaraja Bahadur Award"
"Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award"
"Karnataka Motion Picture Award"
“Bekkina Kannu” (1966)
Some of her famous novels include “Sothu Geddavalu” (1954), “Bekkina Kannu” (1954), “Doorada betta” (1955), “Bellimoda” (1959), “Sharapanjara” (1962), “Vasantha Gana” (1962) and “Hennele Chiguridaga” (1963). Her three collected volumes of short stories were “Eradu Manassu” (1960) with 12 stories, “Samasyeya Magu” (1961) with 15 stories and “Hendathiya Hesaru” (1958) with 14 stories.
Women’s plight in society (especially women who were left to fend for themselves) was superbly portrayed by Triveni in her novels – “Apasvara” and “Apajaya”. Her novels, probably for the first time in modern Kannada literature incorporated ‘Psychology’ into the mainstream narrative.
Triveni at her graduation ceremony
Sexual exploitation, financial exploitation and familial pressures on women were explored exhaustively. These struck a chord with readers because they were highly contemporaneous. Her writing was never devoid of humour. Triveni was able to portray the retired life of an elderly patriarch with ample humour – the never-ending worries, the restless temptations of the palate, the failing health and the commendable impetus to prevent in one’s children - the mistakes one had committed in their own time!
On more than one occasion, Triveni accompanied by her husband, visited Dr S. Srikanta Sastri’s house on Dewan’s road, Mysore to verify many of the doubts she had on historical matters – as core material for few of her novels. Her exploration of psychiatric conditions and their effect in day to day social life and more importantly how these aberrations were perceived by society at large were truly novel for her time. L. S. Sheshagiri Rao even remarked that it was her early brush with Psychology in college that enabled her to so beautifully capture the nuances of several, otherwise troubling scenarios, in so eminently readable a fashion.
Triveni at her