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Featured: Vi. Si. (V. Seetharamaiah) Page 3 of 6
Even though Vi. Si. was an Economics man, B. M. Srikantaiah felt Vi. Si. would do greater justice in the Kannada department and thus appointed him as one of its teachers. This appointment was not in Mysore but in Bangalore Central College! Vi. Si. left for Bangalore and from thence, his teaching activities were spread out between Intermediate College and Central College at Bangalore from 1928 till 1942.
Following a promotion in 1943, he was transferred back to Maharaja college, Mysore, where he stayed on till 1948. For the next two years, Vi. Si. was requested to head the Intermediate college at Chikamagalur first as Superintendent and then as Principal. From 1950 onwards, Vi. Si. headed the Kannada department at Central College, Bangalore till his retirement in 1955. During these four decades of teaching, his colleagues included the likes of G. P. Rajaratnam, A. R. Krishna Sastri, K. V. Puttappa, T. N. Srikantaiah, D. L. Narasimhachar. M. V. Sitaramaiah and Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri.
Vi. Si.’s classes were always packed with students. Even though scheduled at the very end of the day, there never was any dearth of students in the class. His lectures invariably went beyond the mundane confines of the prescribed ‘syllabus’. Always purpose based, morally endowed and laced with rich literary references - his classes were much treasured by his students. His one hour long lectures would even visit upon such topics as ‘geopolitics’, ‘history’, ‘political science’ and of course his favourite ‘economics’ without necessarily straying too far from the topic at hand. Gripping and comprehensive is how many a student is said to have described his lectures in later years. An otherwise soft spoken, gentle soul, Vi. Si. also had an assertive streak in him, which meant he could put the odd student who was either too presumptive or obnoxious in their rightful place! This has been beautifully chronicled by B. G. L. Swamy in his “Panchakalasha Gopura”.
Among his illustrious students were B. G. L. Swamy, R. K. Laxman, A. K. Ramanujam, H. Y. Sharada Prasad, S. V. Parameshwara Bhatta, H. M. Nayak, G. S. Shivarudrappa, L. S. Sheshagiri Rao, H. M. Shankar Narayan Rao, J. Varadaraja Rao and Smt. Chi. Na. Mangala. Vi. Si. maintained frequent correspondence with many national and international scholars of repute. To name a few – J. Maynard Keynes, C. D. Deshmukh, Uma Shankar Joshi and V. Raghavan.
Following his retirement, Vi. Si. joined Bangalore Akashavani as producer for the “Spoken Word” series. Here he worked from 1956 till 1958.
V. Seetharamaiah at Mythic Society, Bangalore
This was in 1964. In 1968, he was recalled to Bangalore at the insistence of ‘India Book House (IBH)’ which persuaded him to take on the Editorship of “Kannada Kavi Kavya Parampare” – a compendium of 30 books encompassing all of Kannada language’s rich legacy and tradition of poetry and poets. This massive almost encyclopaedic project covered Kannada poetry from Kaviraja Nayakara (Nrupatunga) to Navodaya’s Muddanna. Vi. Si. completed this Herculean enterprise with the greatest dedication and religious fervour possible. This series, to this day, remains a testament to his Editorial skill and perseverance.
Vi. Si. was a man of short stature and frail constitution. His typical everyday attire would include a neatly pressed white dhoti (Kache Panche), a woolen coat, Mysuru rumalu (turban), black rimmed spectacles and a soft pair of sandals. Always genteel in his manners and soft spoken, Vi. Si. was described best by D. V. Gundappa when he remarked “He is goodness personified”.
Vi. Si. was groomed by some stalwarts, who were the guiding lights in his academic journey. T. S. Venkannayya occupied a special place in Vi. Si.’s life. A tall man, Venkanayya was a regular visitor at Vi. Si.’s house. As the entrance to the house was short for Venkannayya’s tall frame, he always used to bow down while entering the house (to avoid striking his head against the wooden frame of the door)! T. S. Venkannayya for Vi. Si. was teacher, mentor, friend and guide all rolled into one and he bowing down every single time he visited the latter’s house was simply unacceptable. So, Vi. Si. got the entire door frame removed and a bigger, wider one put in its place – just for his mentor! Such was his nature. One of his close friends had this to say about Vi. Si. - “He is generous to the extent of ruining himself ”!
Vi. Si.’s love for animals and plants was well known. It is said that on the day his backyard Jack fruit tree was felled to make space, he was nowhere to be found. Then someone realised that he had locked himself inside the house and was in tears. He could not bring himself to see that gigantic tree of years disappear under his very eyes. Though Vi. Si. achieved great heights in terms of the acceptance and love that his readers bestowed on him, he had an enduring sense of bitterness deep within.
Vi. Si.’s love for coastal Karnataka’s scenic beauty and abundance of natural flora & fauna attracted him to a post retirement tenure at Honnavara in Uttara Kannada district. He was invited to be the first Principal of the newly opened Arts and Science First Grade College.
2 Oct 1899
4 Sept 1983
Maharaja College, University of Mysore
Central College, Bangalore
University of Mysore
Govt. Arts & Science First Grade College, Honnavara
Kannada poems, essays, translations, critical reviews, biographical sketches, monographs and guide books on economics and political science.
“Krishnacharithra”, “Aralu Baralu”, “Mahaniyaru”, “Geetegalu”, “Deepagalu”, “Pampa Yatre” , “College Dinagalu”
‘Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award’, 'Rajya Sahitya Akademi award', 'D. Litt', "Rooparadhaka”