The biggest part of Kannada Litterature is Tatvapadas and even today there are hundreds of Tatvapadakaras in Karnataka. To document such high literature and preserve it for next generation, the Department of Kannada and Culture has taken up the Project of collecting these Tatvapadas from 12th century, through National Saint Poet Kanadasa Study and Research Centre. The title of the project has been named as 'Karnataka Samagra Tatvapada Sampadane'.
A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Dr K Marulasiddappa with Dr S Nataraja Budalu as Chief Editor. Three members from each district (excluding coastal districts) will collect Tatvapada written on manuscripts and also simultaneously record the same in song form taking the help of present Tatvapadakaras living in 26 districts across the State.
The history of Tatvapadakaras can be traced back to 12th century. The team members will meet Tatvapadakaras personally, who according to tradition, is said to practice singing the padas assembling on a Full Moon Day and Amavasya (dark night). They will also attend exclusive Tatva jathra events where they record songs. It is expected that all the information when published will run into nearly 50 volumes of 500 pages each.
In addition to this, recorded works of prominent Tatvapadakaras will be uploaded into public domain like Internet. This will help popularise them among the masses who can also freely download the tatvapadas of their choice. Being a five year project, Rs 70 lakh has been released for the first phase.
Tatvapadas of Shishunala Shariff, Kudaluru Basavalilnga Sharana, Khainur Krishnappa, Chennur Jalala Sab, Akkamahadevi and many other prominent Tatwapadakaras will be taken up for publication initially.
Dr Nataraja Budalu says: “Tatvapadas are not merely mystical songs, it's a living tradition practiced throughout Karnataka irrespective of caste, creed and even religion. Love and compassion are the main themes. They in fact represent true democracy, since they do not encourage any kind discrimination. They don’t give much significance to symbols such as temples, and motifs but to human values which are universal."
'Ironically such a rich contribution as the Tatwapadas, has been neglected from the main stream Kannada literature and Kannada hermeneutics, as a result of cultural politics,' he regretted
'More Tatwapadakaras can be found in North Karnataka and in the regions surrounding Tumkur, Raichur and Gulbarga. The songs are sung with the aid of Ekatari, a one stringed instrument. The tatvapadas also have Pallavi and Charanas, ranging from five to eleven. Though it is passed on orally, they are very cautious about preserving the main philosophy behind these Tatwapadas,' he added.