Friday, March 22, 2024

Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri's works in Kannada by B. R. Gopal

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint reader, specially the non-Kannadigas, with Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri’s works in Kannada. Numerous Kannada articles written by him have been published in various learned journals and in several special issues of daily newspapers, weeklies, etc. Many in Karnataka still remember the great controversy he raised by publishing his work on Purandaradasa in 1964 during the great saint-poet’s quatercentenary celebrations all over the State. In putting forth his views Dr. Sastri had entirely relied on that material that he had collected and was not swayed by any religions considerations.

His books in Kannada have been many. His essays on the great men of history ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಮಹಾಪುರುಷರು in a Text Book edited by Dr. M. H. Krishna more than 25 years ago have retained their popularity to this day. Since then Dr. Sastri has written profusely in Kannada: ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ (Indian Culture), completed in 1944; ರೋಮನ್ ಚಕ್ರಾಧಿಪತ್ಯದ ಚರಿತ್ರೆ (History of the Roman Empire, 1948-49); ಪ್ರಪಂಚ ಚರಿತ್ರೆಯ ರೂಪರೇಖೆಗಳು (Outlines of World History, 1957) which is even today a very good text book  for the undergraduate students; ಪುರಾತತ್ವ ಶೋಧನೆ (Archaeology, 1960); ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ (Hoysala Architecture, 1964) etc. This brief paper confines itself to an assessment of only three of Dr. Sastri’s Kannada works viz., ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ, ಪುರಾತತ್ವ ಶೋಧನೆ and ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ.

Bharatiya Samskriti (ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ) was written in the pre-independence years, in 1944 though it was published only a decade later in 1954. In the preface to the book, also written in 1944, he summarises briefly the contributions of India to world culture. By then Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West had been published and Toynbee had put forward his challenge and response theory of cultures in his first few volumes of the study of History. These so-called philosophers of History, more specially Spengler, had forecast almost the end of human civilization and said that human society stood on the brink of destruction. Progress of science, Imperialism, Capitalism, weakness of religion and religious orders, Nationalism and the like were described by many of these philosophers as reasons for such a breakdown. Reviewing these Dr. Sastri in his preface says that the entire problem could be analysed in three ways. Politically it was a conflict between Monarchy, Despotism and Democracy; economically there was a growing gap between the rich and the poor; ethically mutual suspicions, injustice, deceit among the nations and lack of freedom of action and thought in individual’s life-these were the bases on which human civilization stood and which were now sinking.   It was essential to find suitable answers for the problems that arose out of it and Dr. Sastri said that Indian Culture had in it the answer.

To read rest of the article, Click Here

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

New Book: "The Monarch of Mysore - His Highness Sri Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar - A Biography" (English Translation)

(Kannada original: "ಆಳಿದ ಮಹಾಸ್ವಾಮಿಯವರು" - ಸಿ. ಕೆ. ವೆಂಕಟರಾಮಯ್ಯ (೧೯೪೧)(ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್ ರವರ ಜೀವನ ಚರಿತ್ರೆ)

We are pleased to feature a new publication titled "The Monarch of Mysore - His Highness Sri Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar - A Biography". This is an English translation of the Kannada original titled "Aalida Mahiswamigalu" written in 1941 by C. K. Venkataramaiah. Since the original Kannada publication in 1941, the book had not seen a reprint till date, less so a translation. The Kannada book remains as one of the most definitive biographies of the erstwhile monarch written till date. Now, it's English translation hopes to bring this comprehensive tome to a larger, global audience. The translator - S. Naganath, son of Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri has also translated Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri's much acclaimed Kannada cult classic "Bharatiya Samskruti" into English under the title of "Indian Culture - A Compendium of Indian History, Culture and Heritage" in 2021. The book cover has been designed by renowned photographer and graphic artist S. L. Ravishankar. 

This publication, like the earlier translation, has been published by Notion Press Publishers Pvt. Ltd, Chennai and is available in Hardcover, Paperback and eBOOK formats across popular online platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and so on. The book runs to about 580 pages and features around 76 black and white photographs chronicling the life and times of  HH Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Some of the storylines, anecdotes and cross-references sourced from correspondences to and from the monarch shed an unique light on this period in the history of the princely state of Mysore. This monarch's early years, his training in administrative matters under the British appointee Stuart Fraser, his travels, the various decisions he took which later served as the very foundation of the modern state of Mysore (and later Karnataka) offer a rare glimpse into the makings of this well known Maharaja. 

We present the blurb from the English translation verbatim, to offer a taste of what the book has to offer: 

In 1399 A. D., Sri Yaduraya Wodeyar founded the “Yadu Vamsa” (dynasty). Later many illustrious rulers expanded the Mysore state in four directions.

This biographical work “Aalida Mahaswamigalu” by Rajasevasaktha Padmasri C. K. Venkataramaiah traces the ebb and tide of history of Mysore. The British Government decided upon restitution of monarchy by appointing Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar as the successor to Sri Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar in 1881. This enlightened Western educated ruler began modernisation of Mysore through administrative reforms. This fruitful thirteen years reign came to an end by his untimely death.

Sri Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar aged ten years was appointed as the next successor to the throne by Queen-Empress Victoria. The mother of the young Prince was appointed as the caretaker regent of the Mysore state. The Queen Dowager Sri Vanivilasa Sannidhana Kempananjammani ruled the state ably and efficiently for eight years (1895 – 1902).

After the investiture ceremony in 1902 by Lord Curzon the glorious golden direct rule of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar dawned. The Maharaja began modernising the Mysore state through political and economic reforms. The establishment of University of Mysore, Shivana Samudra Hydro-Electric Project, Bhadravathi Iron and Steel factory, KRS dam across river Cauvery, Chemical Industries, Sandalwood oil and soaps & detergents factory, Mysore Silk weaving factory etc are some of his achievements.

The Maharaja adhered to the tenets of “Raja Dharma” and the people called him “Raja Rishi”. Mahatma Gandhi described the Mysore state as “Rama Rajya”. He worked diligently for the emancipation of dalits and women. This progressive rule of the Maharaja came to an abrupt end with his sudden death in 1940 (56 years old). His successor Maharaja Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar continued the benevolent rule for seven years (1940 – 1947) and as Raja Pramukh for three years more (1947 – 1950).

This definitive biography of Nalwadi surveys the seventy years of the historic rule of the Mysore Wodeyars in a comprehensive manner.

To find out more, Click here