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This is Karnataka. It is very known for dosai
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Durable Link to this BlogThursday, August 12, 2004

R. Narasimhacharya

Continuing my profile of Makers of Modern Karnataka, today I want to thank Ramanujapuram Narasimhacharya.

R. Narasimhacharya (1860-1936)

Ramanujapuram Narasimhacharya is a great name in archaeology, epigraphy and old literature of Karnataka. He had primary education in Mandyakoppal, his native place. He did his B.A. from Central College, Bangalore and M.A. with major in Kannada and Tamil from Madras University. He was a teacher in high-schools after graduation and in 1894 was appointed as translator in Education Department.

Then he became Assistant Director in Archaeology and worked with B.L.Rice. He was a great scholar in Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil languages, and with Rice took the survey of epigraphs zealously. He alone collected a total number of five thousand inscriptions! Epigraphia Carnatica’s II Volume which contains more than five hundred inscriptions from Shravanabelgola is entirely his work as the editor. It also contains descriptive note on architecture and sculpture of the monuments of the great Jaina Shrines. After the retirement of B.L.Rice, he became the Director of Archaeology and was instrumental for several important findings, during his tenure of sixteen years.

However, his monumental work is Karnataka Kavicharite, chronology and literary contribution of one thousand and one hundred Kannada writers from early times to 19th century. It is said that no other Indian language except Sanskrit has a history of its literature written with such accuracy and comprehensiveness. He handled thousands of manuscripts, most of them in palm-leaf books. Rare Sanskrit and old Kannada works were discovered, preserved in bound volumes in Mysore Oriental Library by him. Kavicharite in three volumes is invaluable source material for students of Kannada literature and Karnatak history.

He edited 'Kavyavalokana' and Bhasha Bhushana, both works on poetics and also shabdanushasana a grammatical work by Bhattakalanka in Kannada.

Besides, he noticed nearly one thousand monuments spread over the entire old Mysore state, and mentioned them in Mysore Annual Reports of Archaeology. Some monographs on temples, Keshava of Somanathapura, Chennakesava of Belur and Mahalakshmi Temple of Doddagaddavalli are by him.

He contributed learned articles to Quarterly Journal of Mythic Society and Indian Antiquary, Learned magazines of the times.

His tremendous perseverance and learned contribution did not go unnoticed. It earned him titles of Rao Bahadur of British Government and Praktana-Vimarsha-Vichakshana (Master critic of ancient learning) by the Maharaja's government. Mahamohopadhya a title of highest honour for Sanskrit learning was conferred on him. He presided over Kannada Sahitya Sammelan (Literary Conference) held at Dharwad in 1918. He also presided over History and Archaeology Section of Oriental Conference held in 1922.

He died at the age of seventy six in 1936.

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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