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Featured: Vi. Si. (V. Seetharamaiah) Page 4 of 6
This probably stemmed from his difficult childhood, continuing economic hardships, repeated denials of academic opportunities at work (for one reason or the other) and a less than robust state of general health. Much of these sentiments find voice in many of his poems time and again.
Vi. Si. married Sarojamma in 1925. They had seven children. Their fifty years of marriage came to an end in 1974 when Vi. Si. lost his wife to ill health.
Vi. Si. travelled widely within India. He visited Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan as well. His lifelong dream of visiting the land of Shakespeare, Milton and Johnson came true with the help and guidance of Mathur Krishnamurthy in 1974. But as luck would have it, as soon as Vi. Si. reached London, he suffered a debilitating stroke and was hospitalised! He was well attended to by the local doctors and the Kannada speaking crowd in London. But sadly, this meant that Vi. Si. could see precious little of England he had so zealously admired. He returned to India a disappointed man.
In 1938, B. M. Srikantaiah and a few others decided to bring forth an anthology of Kannada poems titled “Kannada Bavuta” to be published through the Kannada Sahitya Parishat. B. M. Sri invited Vi. Si. to select Kannada poems for this collection. His selections were commended by one and all for their variety and fairness. However, B. M. Sri was a bit irritated because he was the first to find out that, not a single poem of Vi. Si.’s had been included. Vi. Si. had assiduously avoided selecting even a single work of his! B. M. Sri quickly included a few of Vi. Si.’s poems in that anthology.
A similar strain in his character was evident a few years later, when he was at the helm of affairs of the “Prabuddha Karnataka”. During all his years of Editorship there, he never once published his own articles! Even when he was on the faculty of Central College, Bangalore – he expressly forbid Central College “Karnataka Sangha” from ever publishing any of his works. In fact, it was only after Vi. Si.’s retirement that G. P. Raja Ratnam was successful in publishing many of Vi. Si.’s works in the college periodicals.
Vi. Si. started writing articles during his stay in Bombay. These, he would diligently mail to A. R. Krishna Sastry in Mysore. A. R. Krishna Sastry would always reply in the most complimentary and encouraging way. If there is another personality other than T. S. Venkanayya who nurtured and guided young Vi. Si., that was without doubt A. R. Krishna Sastry. The others who could be counted into this select club were – Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, D. V. Gundappa and Panje Mangesha Rao – all three who took personal interest in Vi. Si.’s growth in the literary world.
In fact, A. R. Krishna Sastry was on his toes to publish one of Vi. Si.’s articles in “Prabuddha Karnataka” in 1922. This was an article by Vi. Si. on his favourite Sanskrit playwright Bhasa’s popular work “Pratima”. When Vi. Si. got wind of this, he immediately shot back a letter prohibiting Sastry from doing the unthinkable!
But Sastry was not one to relent. While he withheld that article from reaching print, he took word from Vi. Si. that he would, without fail, contribute regularly to “Prabuddha Karnataka” from thence. Vi. Si. agreed to this condition and started writing quite frequently. Unbeknownst to Vi. Si., A. R. Krishna Sastry had shortened V. Seetharamaiah to Vi. Si. under each article, thus lending him his ‘pen name’, which would stick with him for the rest of his life. Thus started Vi. Si.’s writing career – a journey that would span the next 50 years and would culminate in nearly 60 odd works of great repute! In fact, Vi. Si.’s first poem was published in “Prabuddha Karnataka” and so was his first book (in instalments) titled “Pampa Yatre”. As destiny would have it, years later (between 1943 – 48), Vi. Si. himself would end up as Editor of “Prabuddha Karnataka” at University of Mysore.
Vi. Si. would dabble in Kannada poetry, dramas & plays, scholarly discussions and essays, number of monographs, biographical sketches, travelogues, economic treatises and numerous translations to and from Kannada.
List of his works
Anthology of Kannada Poems
1.“Geetegalu” (1931) – 67 poems
2.“Deepagalu” (1933) – 16 poems
7.“Aralu-Baralu” (1972) – Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award (1973)
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”