The Legend Of Subbanna Summary

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The play is a monologue based on the legend of Veeranna who belongs to the chitradurga region of Karnataka. Before its theatrical effectiveness in the play the legend is incorporated from Kannada writer, T.R. Subbanna’s (Knows as TaRaSu) novel, Hamsageethe (Swan Song) Published in 1952. The title of the novel literally means the ‘swan song’ of the protagonist, Venkatasubbayya whom Subbanna inserts in the tale of Veeranna, the archaka of the Hidambeshwara temple. About the legend narrated in Subbanna’s version Aparna Bhargava Dharwadker writes in the ‘Introduction” to his collected Play (Vol.II): The married priest has passionately in love with a mistress to whom he takes the offering form the temple after the evening prayers. One day the palegar (chieftain) discovers a hair in the prasada and demands and explanation from Veerganna, who claims that the hair belongs to god. Challenged by the chieftain to prove the truth of this claim, the priest in turn challenges god to display hair or accepts his head in punishment, and enters a meditative trance to the accompaniment of Venkatasubbayya’s song. When the chieftain arrives the next day to expose Veeranna’s lie, the Shivalinga has indeed sprouted long silken hair, and when (urged by the singer) he pulls out a tuft to test its authenticity, blood begins to ooze from the crown of the lingam. overwhelmed by a sense of sin at having injured the deity, Veeranna beheads himself in eh sanctum (xxxi).

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