A walk through Malegalalli madumagalu – Lines that uncover new ontologies

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Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities


The Western Ghats is a contentious landscape described in the familiar language of disciplines and boundaries, a language that has influenced the way in which development and environmental projects have been designed. It is possible the contentions arise from a particular ontology, created by a way of seeing the Ghats that divides nature from culture, relying on a view from above that distances one from place, an outsider’s view. This way of seeing differs from an understanding that emerges when engaging in the Ghats on foot. This paper grapples with this difference through a literary engagement with one of Kuvempu’s epic novels, Malegalalli Madumagalu. The novel reveals two different ontologies through an unraveling of text and imaging: one that privileges the colonial eye requiring skies and eyes to be clear, and another that privileges a local experience structured by the everyday practice of walking in a monsoon terrain.



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