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Santa Shishunaala Sharif

Santa Shishunaala Sharif

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Shishunala Sharif (Kannada: ಸಂತ ಶಿಶುನಾಳ ಶರೀಫ, 1819–1889) was a saint poet, philosopher and social reformer from the state of Karnataka in India.[1] His compositions of tatvapada (moral poems) are in Kannada language. Sharif is recognised as the first Muslim poet in Kannada literature.[2]

Shishunala Sharif was born on 3 July 1819 in Shishuvinahala, a village in Shiggaon taluk (in Haveri district), Karnataka. He was the only son and a late born to his parents. Legend has it that Shishunala Sharif was conceived with the blessings of Gods.

As a child, Shishunala Sharif was very intelligent. After completing his studies, he worked as a school teacher for a while, before taking up the spiritual search. He found a Guru in Shri Kalasada Guru Govinda Bhatta. They both shared a very cordial relationship and often engaged in intriguing spiritual discussions.

Though a Muslim by birth, Shishunala Sharif believed in the tenets of Hinduism and helped bring communal harmony. In his birthplace Shishuvinahala, even today, both Hindus and Muslims revere him as a saint at the same temple.

Shishunala Sharif was known to compose poems as per the situation and sing them to spread the message. Though he never wrote down his compositions, by word of mouth many of them have been passed down to future generations.[3]

Furthermore, it is believed[by whom?] that his teacher (Guru) Sri Govinda Bhatta, a Brahmin, Initiated him a Brahmin. Shishunala Sharif’s preachings can be compared with those of Kabir.