Shishunala Sharif (Kannada: ಸಂತ ಶಿಶುನಾಳ ಶರೀಫ) was a saint poet, philosopher and social reformer from the state of Karnataka in India. His compositions of tatvapada(moral poems) are in Kannada language. Sharif is recognized as the first ever Muslim poet in Kannada literature.
Shishunala Sharif was born on 7 March 1819 in Shishuvinahala, a village in shiggaon taluk at 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 charming and 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 Hinduism also, bringing in communal harmony. In his birth place Shishuvinahala, even today, both Hindus and Muslims can be seen worshipping him 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.
Furthermore it is believed that Sri Govinda Bhatta, a Brahmin (priestly class in Hindu religion), did not hesitate to make him a Brahmin. Shishunala Sharif's preachings can be compared with those of Kabir Das's(in northern India).
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