Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri





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'INTRODUCTION' by S. Srikanta Sastri to The Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts - Publication Bulletin No 1 (1954)


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Featured: G. Venkatasubbiah                                                                                       Page 1 of 4

Ganjam Venkatasubbiah (G. V.) is a Kannada writer, grammarian, editor, lexicographer and critic who has compiled over 8 dictionaries, authored four seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada, edited over 60 books & published several papers. Recipient of the Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award & the Pampa Award, G. V's contribution to the world of Kannada Lexicography is vast. G. V.’s ancestry can be traced back to a quaint old village enroute to Melukote from Mandya which goes by the name of Mudagundooru. For generations, his forefathers lived here practising priestly activities before they were faced with the famine of 1876 – 88. This famine dealt a severe blow to the already arid region necessitating their exodus elsewhere. Thus, the family came to a village on the banks of river Cauvery by the name of Ganjam. The family continued with their priestly affairs earning meagre sums. The chief priest among them Narasimha Joyis had 2 children. His first son – Thimmannaya was a Kannada teacher by profession at the local Government school and had to endure frequent transfers to other cities.


Thimmannaya and Subbamma had eight children. Second among the eight children was Ganjam Venkatasubbiah born on 23rd day of August, 1913. While at Ganjam, Venkatasubbiah’s grandfather would regularly walk to the banks of river Cauvery to fetch water. Little Venkatasubbiah would accompany his grandfather on these trips all the while reciting the Amarakosha.  Venkatasubbiah would accompany his father across several towns owing to frequent transfers. Among these towns were Bannur and Madugiri. G. V. stayed at Madugiri between 1927 – 1930 and had an engaging childhood taking an active part in local sports, trekking, extra-curricular activities at school and listening to inspirational speeches by national leaders. Mahatma Gandhi visited and spoke at Madugiri in 1927. Even the doyen of Kannada literature, Maasti Venkatesh Iyengar visited Madugiri during these years and presided over a local event.  G. V.’s classmates included the likes of K. S. Narayanaswami – the editor of Gandhi Sahitya Samputa and K. S. Krishnaswami – an eminent economist who would become deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India and vice president of World Bank. G. V.'s elder sister Gowramma was rendered blind due to plague. He had 6 younger brothers – Seetharamayya, Narasimhamurthy, Dakshinamurthy, Krishnamurthy, Suryanarayan & Visweshwara and a younger sister Lalitha. Eventually, his father would get transferred to Mysore and along came G. V. In 1932, G. V. joined Yuvaraja College at Mysore to pursue his intermediate course. While at it, his subjects included Ancient History, Sanskrit and Logic. His teachers included Na Kasturi, Kuvempu and M. A. Venkata Rao. Here G. V. made it a point to read “The Hindu” & “Madras Mail” to keep abreast of national and international affairs.


G. Venkatasubbiah







Alma mater














Known for






Notable awards








Festschrift Volume


Kaygonahalli village, Mandya district




University of Mysore, Mysore


Kannada Literature, Grammar, Criticism, Editorship & Lexicography


Kannada Sahitya Parishath, Vijaya College, Bangalore High School




"Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya", "Kannada Nighantu Parivara", "Igo Kannada".



“Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award”

“Rajyothsava Award”

“Aryabhatta Award”

"Sediyapu Award"

"Pampa Award"

"Gokak Award"





between Central College, Bangalore and Maharaja College, Mysore


G. V. joined M. A. course in 1936. His final exam viva voce was conducted by a team consisting of B. M. Srikantaiah, T. S. Venkanayya and Benegal Rama Rao. This formidable trio conducted the viva voce examination for two and a half hours and at the end concluded by saying that they were placing the future of Kannada language in G. V.’s hands! G. V. was awarded a Gold Medal in M. A and this was to be conferred upon him at the Mysore University Convocation in 1937. On the stage were His Highness Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and the doyen of Kannada literature D. V. Gundappa sitting in the VIP row. The young G. V. was sitting in the first row of Gold medalists with one leg crossed over another. The ever observant D. V. G. saw this and signaled to him to uncross his legs, as it was a sign of disrespect to the Maharaja. According to G. V., this was a lesson in propriety. After obtaining M. A. degree in Kannada, G. V also acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching.







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G. Venkatasubbiah with Kengal Hanumanthaiah


His love for old Kannada was imbibed in him by his father and nurtured further by Kuvempu in coming years. G. V. gained admission to the B. A. Honours course in 1933 and came under the tutelage of T. S. Venkanayya who taught “Pampa Bharata”, D. L. Narasimachar who taught “Editorial Science”, T. N. Srikantaiah who taught “Kavyamimamse” and S. Srikanta Sastri who taught “Karnataka History”. During the “Mysore Student Union Celebrations”, G. V. was the proud recipient of numerous awards both in academic as well as extra-curricular fields. While conferring these accolades upon young G. V., Prof. S. Radhakrishnan is believed to have patted him on his shoulder commending him for his excellence in both arenas – inside and outside the classroom. G. V. stood among the top scorers in B. A. Honours. However, a difference of half a mark rendered him ineligible for a scholarship.

While disappointing, the turn of events was not to be without a silver lining. Principal of Maharaja College J. C. Rollo came to the rescue and made sure that G. V. obtained the scholarship he so deserved thus paving way for higher studies. He was also the recipient of the “Honnashetty Award” for the best essay in Kannada in a competition held

G. Venkatasubbiah with

Mrs. Indira Gandhi

G. Venkatasubbiah G.Venkatasubbiah with Indira Gandhi B.A.Honours-Third Year Photograph - G. Venkatasubbiah

B. A. Honours (Third Year)

G. Venkatasubbiah with

B. M. Srikantaiah & T. N. Sri

G.Venkatasubbiah with Kengal Hanumanthaiaha G. Venkatasubbiah with Devaraja Urs

G. Venkatasubbiah with

Devaraj Urs