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Durable Link to this BlogThursday, June 30, 2011

Itihasa Darshana

Few months ago I attended a three-day annual convention of Karnataka Itihasa Academy held at Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana (Mandya district Karnataka). Established in 1986, by Prof. G.S. Dikshit and a band of enthusiastic history lovers. The academy has currently 1586 life members. Run entirely on voluntary efforts, its annual sessions are hosted mainly by different religious Mathas and some voluntary organizations. This was the twentyforth session held from 13th to 15th of November 2010. Dr. M.S. Krishnamurthy a well known archaeologist and retired professor of history, Mysore university was the elected president of this convention.

I never miss the opportunity to attend Itihasa Academy's annual conventions, except when I am away from the country. Preparing a research paper for the occasion, meeting old friends and new enthusiasts in the field of historical research is an experience itself. This time two hundred seventy people attended the session and more than 145 papers presented in the periods of pre-historic, historic, ancient, medieval and modern history of Karnataka. Karnataka Itihasa Academy, is the only well organized academic body which gives priority to love of history and genuine effort involved in finding new material. It does not insist on academic qualifications. Hence, school-teachers, clerks, farmers, engineers, doctors, coffee planters, house-wives and persons with different backgrounds participate. Papers presented by them are edited and brought out in book-form every year. This volume named "Itihasa-Darshana" (Vision of History) is getting bulkier every year and the issue for the year 2009 runs to 504 pages. Funded by voluntary organizations, it is again the only volume which throws light on recent findings and researching efforts in the field of Karnataka history. There are six full-fledged universities in the state which teach and promote history. Not a single one brings out such a reference volume every year. It speaks volumes of the efforts of Itihasa Academy.

Inscriptions on stone form the main source for reconstructing history of Karnataka and one stumbles across new ones now and then at odd places. Karnataka has about 27,000 inscriptions and new finds, do get documented as soon as these are noticed by academicians. Dr B.R. Gopal(1930-1997) was a eminent epigraphist and his family has instituted an award in his name. Every year, a person who has brought to light such newly found inscriptions and helped editing and publishing them is selected for the award. This year P.V. Krishnamoorthy, a well known paleaographist who has brought to light scores of Kannada inscriptions from Tamilnad was nominated. Dr. Krishnamoorthy is working with National Aeronautical Laboratory . He donated the entire amount of ten thousand rupees, (the award money) to Itihasa Academy itself! Krishnamurthy has also been co-editor with M.G. Nagarajan of "Itihasa Darshana" for several years now.

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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