S. Srikanta Sastri
Sondekoppa Srikanta Sastri (Kannada: ಎಸ್. ಶ್ರೀಕ೦ಠ-ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀ) (5 November 1904 – 10 May 1974) was an eminent Indian historian, Indologist, epigraphist and polyglot who worked as Professor of History and Indology at the University of Mysore. He was fluent in over 14 languages spanning Latin, Greek, Hittite, Assyrian, Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit among others. Among the early pioneers in the field of deciphering and interpreting Indus Valley Scripts, he published numerous articles, monographs and reviews putting forth his views on the Hattili Hieroglyphics & Proto-Indic Scripts and the Studies in Indus Scripts. His scholarly erudition is reflected in the many books, numerous articles, monographs and reviews that he authored. A strong proponent of the argument against the Aryan invasion theory, his article titled "The Aryans" published in the Bharatiya Vidya in 1947 served to illuminate on certain historical facts hitherto ignored.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Academician
- 3 Bibliography
- 4 External links
- 5 References
Sondekoppa Srikanta Sastri was born to poor brahmin parents of Mulukanadu origins in the small town of Nanjanagud near Mysore. The family were immigrants from Andhra Pradesh in the 16th Century and settled in the Nelamangala region of Karnataka. An ancestor on the paternal side – Yagnapathi Bhatta was a famous court poet in the court of Immadi Kempegowda. The family stayed in the few acres of land given by Kempegowda for nearly a century. S.Srikanta Sastri's maternal lineage were descendants of the Vellala Motaganahalli clan. An ancestor on the maternal side by name Umamahesvara Sastri was a court poet in the court of King Devaraya of Vijayanagara empire. Umamahesvara Sastri's famous work "Bhagavata Champu" earned him the title of Abhinava Kalidasa. His maternal uncles Motaganahalli Mahadeva Sastri, Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri and Vidwan Sankara Sastri were eminent court poets in the Mysore Palace. Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri was the first person to translate "Bhagavata" to Kannada from Sanskrit. His other works include "Mudra Rakshaka" and "Mukundananada Bhana", "Balika Gitavali", "Karnataka Hitopadesham" and a script for Gubbi Veeranna titled "Pandava Vijaya". Vidwan Sankara Sastri taught at "Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanswami Mudaliar patashala" and is credited with the composition of "Vedanta Panchadarshi" later quoted by D.V.Gundappa. His son Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Subramanya Sastri, editor of "Ranga Bhoomi" is credited with "Karnata Malavikagnimitra" and "Jayachamarajendra Granthamalige".
The second child (among seven children) of parents Ramaswamy Sastri (father) and Seshamma (Mother), S.Srikanta Sastri had his childhood spread out across the districts of Kolar, Nanjanagud and Chickaballapur in Karnataka owing to his father's (a civil servant) frequent transfers. S.Srikanta Sastri passed his matriculation exam in 1915 and gained admission to a course in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at Maharaja's College, Mysore. After securing a Bachelor's degree in Arts, he embarked on a Master's Course in History (M.A) under the tutelage of J.C.Rollo, B.M.Srikantaiah (Kannada faculty), Prof V.L.D'Souza (English faculty), S.V.Krishnaswamy Aiyangar (Political Science), S.Krishna Rao (Greek History), N.Subba Rao (Economics), Prof S.V.Venkateswara (History), R.Shamashastri and M.H.Krishna (Ancient History). After completing his Master's Degree in History, he appeared for the Civil Services Exam and passed it. Unfortunately, owing to poor health, he was deemed unfit.
Spanning three decades between 1930 and 1960, S. Srikanta sastri was affiliated with the Department of History and Indology (currently renamed as Department of Ancient History & Archaeology) at University of Mysore under different designations ranging from Tutor (1930), Lecturer (1935), Professor (1954–59 under the auspices of Vice-Chancellor K.V.Puttappa) and ultimately Head of the Department (1959–60) where after he retired in the same year. A simple open coat, shirt and a traditional dhoti completed his quintessential attire.
During his tenure at Maharaja's College, University of Mysore between 1930 – 1960, S.Srikanta Sastri's bastion of friends and colleagues included a star line up of intellectuals and pioneers in their respective fields. These included the likes of M.H.Krishna (Ancient History & Archaeology), A.R.Krishnashastry (Kannada writer and litterateur), Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma (Carnatic singer & composer), V. Seetharamaiah (Kannada litterateur), K.V.Puttappa (Kuvempu-Kannada writer and poet), D.L.Narasimhachar (Kannada litterateur), T.A.Purushottam (Philosophy) and M. Yamunacharya (Philosophy).
Mysore Hatti Krishna Iyyangar was one of the pioneers in the field of Archaeology & Indology in Mysore state. Elaborate training in the west enabled him to lead the Department of Archaeology for nearly two decades, during which time the famous Halmidi Inscription was unearthed. He authored a few works in both English and Kannada. M.H.Krishna(identified here in the group photo) was a close friend and colleague of S.Srikanta Sastri over two decades.
Ambale Ramakrishna Krishnashastry was a famous Kannada writer and litterateur, who is best remembered for his rendition of the "Mahabharatha" – Vachana Bharatha. Author of numerous novels and biographies, he was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award and a D.Litt from Mysore University. A.R.Krishnashastry and S.Srikanta Sastri were colleagues at Maharaja's College, Mysore for nearly a decade.
Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma
Singer, composer of Carnatic music known otherwise as Sangita Kalanidhi, Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma is best remembered for his "Annamacharya" keerthanas. He was appointed official Telugu Pandit at Maharaja's College, Mysore by Principal Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy where he stayed on till 1949 during which time he was closely associated with S.Srikanta Sastri.
Born on 2 October 1899, Venkataramaiah Seetharamaiah hailed from a poor Brahmin family in rural Bangalore. He completed his Bachelor in Arts degree in 1920 and Master of Arts in 1922. He served as a school teacher at Mysore's Sharada Vilas High School between 1923–28. Between 1928 to 1955 he served as Lecturer and Professor at various colleges including Maharaja's College, Mysore where he came in close contact with S.Srikanta Sastri. He was additionally head of All India Radio, Bangalore division between 1964 to 1968. Author of several Kannada works ("Deepagalu", "Neralu-Belaku", 'Drakshi-Dalimbe", "Hejje Padu", "Aralu Baralu", "Beladingalu", "Asvathamann") he was conferred the Kendra Sahitya Academy Award for "Aralu-Baralu" in 1973.
K.V.Puttappa was a Kannada writer and poet and a recipient of Jnanpith Award for Kannada and the Padma Vibhushan from Government of India. Revered as "Rashtrakavi" (state poet), he always wrote under the pen name of "Kuvempu". He was an alumnus of Maharaja's College, Mysore and graduated in 1929 specialising in Kannada. He would later serve as faculty at Maharaja's College, Mysore as Lecturer (1929), Professor (1946), Principal (1955) and ultimately as Vice-Chancellor in 1956 in which function he continued till 1960 where after he retired. It was under his Vice-Chancellorship that S.Srikanta Sastri would be elevated as Professor and ultimately as Head of the Department of History & Indology where after he retired in 1960. The two great intellectuals shared a cordial and warm relationship during their years at University of Mysore.
D. L. Narasimhachar
Doddabele Lakshminarasimhachar was a famous Kannada writer, editor and teacher. His teaching career spanned across three institutions-namely "Oriental Research Institute", Mysore, Central College, Bangalore and again at Mysore University, Mysore where he came in close contact with S.Srikanta Sastri. He is best remembered for his editing of Kumarvyasa Bharatha and his pioneering work in bringing out a comprehensive Kannada dictionary. He was conferred a D.Litt in 1960 and two felicitation volumes were released in his honour.
S.Srikanta Sastri involved himself in the ongoing Independence movement in the 1930s with patriotic fervour. He would often write scathing criticisms of the British Rule in different articles and reviews. One such piece was a foreword he had penned for Y.G.Krishnamurthi's "Independent India and New World Order" in 1940. This incidentally was mentioned along with few passing remarks on Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's supposed anti-colonial stance on Berlin Radio by Adolf Hitler's propaganda chief-Joseph Goebbels., This was heard by many a listener both at home and abroad and saw the British conduct a due investigation in Mysore where upon they issued a stern warning to S.Srikanta sastri against any future writings which may be deemed as anti-British in sentiment.
As a young writer, S.Srikanta Sastri played around with a few poems and essays, many of which drew praise from his mentor at college B.M. Srikantaiah. Notable among these early essays were "Shivaganga Kshetra" and "Kannada Nayananda", the latter particularly attracting considerable attention from the likes of Prof S.V.Ranganna, Prof M.Hiriyanna and Dr A. Venkatasubbaiah. S.Srikanta Sastri published his first article at the age of 22 in the 1926, July edition of "Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland" titled "South India-Dakshinadalli Shiladityana Vistarana Kramagalu (Conquests of Siladitya in the south) ". This was followed by a publication of a piece on Vijayanagara's Immadi Devaraya in "Indian Antiquary" and "Modern Review". Dr S.Srikanta Sastri authored about 10 books, nearly 300 articles in Kannada and English, few monographs and historical reviews.
List of books
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1940)-Sources of Karnataka History, Vol I
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1943)-Geo-Politics of India and Greater India
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1944)-Iconography of Vidyarnava Tantra
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1948)-Proto-Indic Religion
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1949)-Roman Chakradipatya
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1952)-Early Gangas of Talakad
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1954)-Bharathiya Samskruthi
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1957)-Prapancha Charithreya Rupa Reshegalu
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1960)-Purathatva Shodhane
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1965)-Hoysala Vastushilpa
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1973)-Festschrift Volume – Srikanthika
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1975)-Samshodhana Lekhanagalu
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1975)-Srikanteshwara Shatakam
- Sastri, S.Srikanta (1978)-Godana Anacalika Upanyasa
Sources of Karnataka history
Written at the request of the Maharaja of Mysore-Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, this book was the first in a series on Karnataka's history across the millennia. The sources for such a vast work covered many inscriptions and scriptures in numerous languages spanning Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Sanskrit. The book traverses the length and breadth of Karnataka's history through the different ruling dynasties from Kadambas to Cholas and Pandavas. In the context of the Halmidi Inscription, the work assumes importance. The book attracted praise from Dr Barnett in the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society. Apart from Dr Barnett, Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail, R.C.Majumdar and P.K.Ghode also praised it. It was published in 1940.,
Sources of Karnataka History, Vol II and Vol III were written and remain in manuscript form. These works were started as enduring projects in 1928 by S.Srikanta Sastri as a postgraduate student in department of history under his professor and head S.V.Venkateswara (pictured above) at University of Mysore. Even though the project to encapsulate Karnataka History gathered momentum in 1928 under the vice-chancellorship of Brajendra Nath Seal, it was not until 1940 under the vice-chancellorship of N.S.Subbaraya that Sources of Karnataka History, Vol I saw its first publication. The book is multilingual covering Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit and predominantly English and offers numerous sources as references ranging from inscriptions, stone tablets, temple carvings to recovered material at excavations.
Geopolitics of India and Greater India
Written in 1943, this book was an insightful preview into the unfolding events in the geopolitical sphere in Europe, Asia and beyond. Though idealistic in its overtones, the book surmises and at times forecasts the conglomeration of countries bound by uniform geographical, cultural, political and economical realities. These predictions have now been realised decades later in terms of NATO, the now defunct Warsaw Pact, SAARC and BRICS associations. S. Srikanta Sastri widely quotes the likes of Karl Haushofer (author of "Zeitshcrift fur Geopolitik" −1925), Rudolf Kjellen and Friedrich Ratzel (author of "Politische Geographie" 1897) among others. The surmise that nations can no longer function in isolation and need to not only co-exist but additionally complement each other's interests for the greater regional good has been time and again proven beyond doubt. The concepts of "Vital Space", "Union" and "Supra-Union" find mention for the first time in a historical perspective as opposed to a nationalistic one. Quoted here from the book is an excerpt which best captures the intended message:
|“||The fundamental problem of political science is to reconcile the mutually antagonistic elements in the modern state – the liberty of the individual with the authority of the state, the need for political security with the necessities of international trade and exchange, nationalism with ever-growing world Communications, sovereignty with the protection of culture, association with the rest of the world with the retention of the power to work out one's own national destiny. Geopolitics as it is at present attempts to give a simple and sure solution but it has led to illusion, power politics and worldwide misery. The ultimate considerations must be spiritual and moral. Justice and cooperation can be achieved only on the basis of Truth and Non-violence.||”|
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-Library of Congress, Washington.D.C
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-Bodleian Library, Oxford University, England
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-University of Cambridge Library, England
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-University of Chicago Library, Chicago, USA
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-National Library of Australia, Australia
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-WorldCat Libraries
- Sastri, S.Srikanta-University of Mysore Library, Mysore
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to S. Srikanta Sastri.|
- Official Website of S.Srikanta Sastri
- Biographical Memoir of S.Srikanta Sastri by S.R.Ramaswamy
- Reminiscences of S. Srikanta Sastri
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