Thursday, August 2, 2018

JNU Kannada Language Chair : Activity Report from October 2015 to June 2018.

Kannada Language Chair, CIL/SLL&CS

Activity Report
October 2015- June 2018

Establishment of the Kannada language Chair:

Kannada Language Chair has been started functioning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) with the financial help of Govt. of Karnataka under the Department of Kannada and Culture. It is part of Centre of Indian Languages (CIL) and is situated in the School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies. The Chair started its activities from October, 2015 and was officially inaugurated on November 26th, 2015 by the JNU Chancellor Prof. Kasturi Rangan. The foundation day lecture was delivered by Prof. S Settar, an eminent scholar.   

The chair intends to represent Karnataka, its languages and cultures, in all its multilingual and plural manifestations.  The Chair encourages comparative studies across a wide range of domains and also aims at disseminating knowledge of Kannada language, literature and culture both at National and International levels.

The Chair realizes the privileges of being placed at a University like JNU and emphasizes on the importance of joint collaborations with other academics and institutions. The Chair also able to establish good and productive academic relations with other centers of JNU. 

A short report of the Chair since its inception is given below-

Office of the Kannada Chair:

Currently, the Chair is functioning from room No 44, CIL/SLL&CS with all basic facilities including computer, printer, Wi-Fi and a telephone.


Currently Kannada chair has following staff-

  1. Professor-One
  2. Research Assistant –One and
  3. Office assistant-One

Advisory committee:

The chair has constituted an advisory committee consisting of the following scholars for guiding the chair from time to time-

1.   Prof. BA Viveka Rai, Eminent Scholar and Former Vice Chancellor, Kannada University Hampi, Karnataka.
2.    Prof. T S Satyanath, Former Professor of Kannada, Department of Modern Indian Languages, Delhi University.  
3.   Prof. Subha Dasgupta, Visiting Professor, Delhi University.

MPhil/PhD Courses:

The chair has prepared a well-designed curriculum for MPhil course, which has been approved by all concerned authorities including Academic Council.  However, the course is yet to be started.  

Basic Kannada Classes:  

The Chair has started basic Kannada classes for the beginners during 2018 winterer semester. 40 students from various departments attended the class and 27 of them completed the course by reaching Intermediate level.

On line Kannada learning course.

Karnataka Government has provided a special grant to prepare an online Kannada learning course which is readied and will be launched soon.  

Translation projects:  

The Chair has taken translation projects with the objective of rendering into English a whole gamut of classical and non-classical Kannada texts on seminal nature.

During the reporting period, following books have been released-

  1. Kavirajamargam of Srivijaya: This 9th century text was translated to English by Prof. RVS Sundaram of Mysore University and Prof. Deven Patel of University of Pennsylvania, published jointly by Kannada Chair and Manohar publishers Delhi.  

  1. Rain boy: 60 folktales from Tulu language has been selected and translated to English by Prof. B. Surendra Rao and Prof. K. Chinnappa Gowda, both from Mangalore University, published jointly by Kannada Chair and Manohar publishers Delhi.

Translations competed and under review:

Following texts were successfully translated and currently they are under  review. However these books will be released before December 2018.

  1. Vaddaradhane of Sivakotyacharya: a 9th century classical prose  has been translated to English by Prof. RVS Sundaram of Mysore University and Ms. Ameli of Pennsylvania University. The script is ready for printing , will be jointly published by Manohar , Delhi
  2. Sahasa Bhima Vijayam of Ranna: A 10th century Kannada classic is also ready for printing, will be jointly  published by Manohar Delhi 
  3. Amirbai Karnataki:  Noted singer Amirbai Karnataki’s biography (originally in Kannada by Prof. Rahamat Tarikere) has been translated to English by Mrs. CS Sarvamangala, and is published jointly with BR Publishers, New Delhi.
  4. Enagi Ballappa: A biography of an eminent actor Enagi Ballapa (Originally in Kannada by Mr. Gamesh Amingad) has been translated to English by Prof. Krishna Chandar of Mysore university is jointly published by Sanbun Publishers, New Delhi.
  5. Kodava theater:  a book on Kodava theater by Dr. Rekha Vasanth has been translated and under review.  
  6. After life:  a celebrated novel by Dr. Shivarama Karnth has been translated by Prof. PR Mutalik is under review.


The Kannada Language Chair has setting up a research library at the main building (6th floor) and planning to house around 15,000 books of which approximately 6000 books have been collected. The chair has hired a qualified librarian who is currently working on classifying and cataloguing the books at main library. The books range from Ancient/Medieval/Modern literature to folklore, criticism, translations etc.

Conferences organized/ collaborated by the Chair:

The Chair in its short history has organized few important seminars, arranged performances, and collaborated with other centers.

International Collaborations:  

  1. Collaborated with Delhi University for organizing an international workshop on ‘Disability in the Indian Short Story’ held at JNU, September 14-17, 2016.

  1. Collaborated with CHS, JNU for organizing an International conference on ‘Political Economy in South Asia, January 4-6, 2017.

  1. Collaborated with Centre for Media Studies, JNU for organizing two days International conference on Media and Language, March 23-24, 2018.

National seminar/conferences:

  1. A day long National Seminar on ‘Indian Bhakthi tradition and Kanakadasa’, supported by Kanakadasa study Centre, Bangalore, August 28, 2016.

  1. A daylong National Seminar on ‘ Searching for Cultural identity- Dalit, Adivasi and other folk artists in contemporary India’, supported by Prof. Tejasvi Kattimani trust Dharwad, Karnataka, November 18, 2016  

  1. A three day National seminar on “Modernity in Post-Independence Indian Literature’ supported Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati Pradhikara, Bangalore, January 19-21, 2017.

  1. One day National seminar on – ‘Trajectories of regional media’ , in association with Centre for Media studies, JNU, supported by Karnataka Media academy, Bangalore, March 17, 2017

  1. One day National Seminar on Empowering mother tongues in India at CIL in association with Shodh Sansthan, Delhi, on February 21, 2018

  1. A day long workshop organized on ‘Karnataka-One state many voices’, supported by Karnataka Folklore Academy, Bangalore, August 17, 2016  
  2. Participated as a resource person in two day conference on Living traditions, organized by NCPA Mumbai on March 16-17, 2018.
Guest lectures:
The chair has started a lecture series on Kannada language, literature and Culture for the benefit of the students of various departments. Under this plan, chair has arranged two important lectures-
  1. A lecture on ‘Women’s Autobiographies in Kannada’ supported by Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Bangalore, November 17, 2016
  2. A special lecture by Prof. OL Nagabhushana Swamy on ‘Vachana literature of medieval Karnataka, February 15, 2018.
Dissemination activities:

The chair has arranged few performances of Karnataka to showcase its multiple culture for the benefit of the students of other states. The important performances organized are-

1.   Yakshagana performance, November 26, 2015.
2.   Folk dances of Karnataka, supported by Karnataka Folklore Academy, Bangalore, November 18, 2016
3.   Leather puppet show, August 18, 2017.

Personal achievements:


  1. Dalita Bandaya caluvali mattu sahitya (Literary criticism), Bangalore: Abhinava publications, 2017

Journal/Research Articles published:   

  1. ‘AK Ramanujan’s folktales from India- a critical view of its selections, translations and interpretations’, Janapada Karnataka (Ed. Manjunataha Bevinkatti), Hampi: Kannada University; June 2016, pp. 16-28.  

  1. ‘Land reforms and its effect on folk theater of coastal Karnataka; Devaraju Urs commemorative Volume ( Ed. Siddaramayya S G), Bangalore: Government of Karnataka 2016, Page: 221-260  

  1. ‘Siddavesha’, Janavani Beru, (Ed: Siddalingayya), Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi 2016, Page: 198-210.

  1. ‘Karnataka folklore and world view’, Dalita Nota-Subaltern Readings series,  Volume 2,   ( Ed: Mallikarjuna Meti),  Karnataka Sahitya Academy 2017, Page: 93-109

Media Articles:  

  1. ‘Odeda Karnataka (Broken Karnataka) , Udayavani, Kannada daily, Manipal, Karnataka, November1, 2016

  1. ‘Rashtriyateya Prashne’ (the question of Nationalism), Prajavani special issue, October 2017.

  1. ‘Enchanting Yakshagana’, On Stage, NCPA, Mumbai, March 2018

  1. ‘2011 Janaganati’ (Census of 2011), Udayavani, July 15, 2018.

Participation in Conferences/Seminars/Workshops:  

International Conferences/Seminars/Workshops

  1. Presided and presented a paper on ‘Vachana movement of medieval Karnataka’ at a session in an International conference on ‘Hagiography, Humanism, and caste hierarchy in Bhakthi movements’ University of Delhi, October 20-21, 2016.  

  1. Presented a paper on ‘Multiple voices from History- a case study of Kumarama’ in an International Conference on ‘Political Economy in South Asia’ in Honor of Professor Noboru Karashima,, Centre for historical studies, JNU, January 4-5, 2017.

  1. Presented a paper on ‘Making of Ramayana in Yakshagana ‘ at the  International Conference on ‘Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retellings in South India and Southeast Asia’, Organized by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore on September 14-15, 2017, at NIAS, Bangalore

  1. Delivered a special lecture on the status of minor languages in India at Bangla High Commission, New Delhi, February 21, 2018.

International Lectures:

  1. Participated and delivered a lecture on ‘Empowering minor languages’ at an International festival of Kempegowda, organized by Kempegowda trust, Dubai, February 5, 2017

National conferences/Lectures :

1.   ‘Amritlal Nagar in Kannada translations’, National symposium on Amritlal Nagar, CIL-JNU, August 10, 2016

2.   ‘Empowering minor Languages of Karnataka’, All India Linguistic Geniality day; Kannada and Culture Department, Bangalore: August 13, 2016

3.   ‘Nala story in Indian traditions and Kanakadasa’, National seminar on Indian Bhakthi tradition,Kanakadasa study Centre and Kannada Language Chair, Delhi, August 28, 2016

4.   ‘Folklore and History’, National seminar on Folk literature: Interdisciplinary perspectives, NS Patel Arts College, Anand, Gujarat, October 10-12, 2016.

5.   ‘Multiple telling- an example of Kumararama’, National folklore conference 2016, University of Mumbai, October 18-20, 2016.

6.   ‘Gender problems in Girish Karnad’s Nagamandala’, National seminar on Gender in Translation: Fidelity reconstructed, Translating genres, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, February 9, 2017

7.   ‘Tellings and texts’, symposium on Unwritten Languages of India,  Sahitya Academy, New Delhi, February 26, 2017.

8.   ‘Current status of Kannada Research, paper presented at All Indian Kannada sammelana , held at Mysore, November 25, 2017.

  1. ‘The history of folklore studies in Karnataka’, paper presented in a workshop on ‘Indian Folklore’, organised by NS Patel College, Anand, Gujarat on March 9-11, 2018

10.                Presented a paper on ‘ Introduction to Kannada Classical literature for the participants of the seminar on Tamil Classical literature, organized by Tamil unit of CIL, March 12, 2018

  1. ‘An epic and its Hero: Study of Bobbarya epic from Tulunadu’ paper presented at a seminar on ‘Oral and Tribal literatures of Indi’, organized by Centre for English studies, JNU on March 15, 2018.

12.                ‘Recreation of old Kannada literature’, paper presented at the first halagannada sahitya Sammelana held at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, June 25, 2018.

Lectures Delivered (Outside JNU):

1.   Convocation address delivered at Kannada University, Hampi, Karnataka, March 2016.

  1. Delivered a talk on ‘National policy on education and regional languages of India, Mother tongue day, Kannada Development authority, Bangalore , July 2, 2016

  1. Delivered a talk on ‘Democracy and theatre’ at the Annual theater festival, Rangayana, Mysore; February 14, 2017.

  1. Delivered Foundation day lecture on the subject- Current trends in Kannada Research, Karnataka women’s University, Bijapur, June 21, 2017.

5.   Delivered a special lecture onMultiple Texts’, Dr H M Nayaka Memorial lecture, University of Mysore, September 13, 2017.  

6.   Delivered a lecture on ‘Ambedkar and making of India’, Mysore University, Ambedkar Chair, April 14, 2018.

7.   Delivered two lectures on ‘Dravidian Languages’ for the students of New York state University, organized by the American Institute of Indian  Studies, New Delhi, June 10, 12, 2018.


  1. Received the prestigious ‘MP Prakash Award 2016’, July 11, 2016
  2. Received HAL Kannada Sangha award (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) for the year 2016, December11, 2016. Bangalore
  3. Received ‘Yaksharanga award’, May, 2017
  4. Received Karnataka Are Bhashe sahitya Academy’, August 2017.

Memberships of Boards/Committees (Outside JNU):

  1. Member, Board of Studies in School of Humanities and Languages, Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga (2014-17)

  1. Member, Committee for the autonomy of Centre of Excellence for Classical Kannada.  Kannada Development authority, Government of Karnataka (2016-17).

  1. Expert Member, SGC, Prasara Bharati, New Delhi (2013-18)

Number of students awarded Research Degrees under my supervision:

  1. MPhil degree was awarded for two students at CIL under my co-guidance

  1. Currently three students are consulting me on their research.

Financial status of the Chair:

The Karnataka Government has provided Rs. Five crores as one time grant to the chair. This amount was deposited in Bank which will yield Rs. 37.5 lacs from April 2019. For the current financial year, we have Rs. 50 lacs which is sufficient for the yearlong activities, including few publications.

However, we need to request Government of Karnataka for another grant of Rs. 5 crores that will strengthen the chair in future.

Plans for 2018-19:  

Kannada Classes:

Basic Kannada classes will be continued during both semesters.


Following books in English will be released during this academic year-

1.   Biography of Amirbai Karenataki by Rahamat Tarikere
2.   Biography of Enagi Balappa by Ganesh Amingad
3.   Sahasa Bhima Vijayam of Ranna
4.   Vaddaradhane of Shivakotyacharya
5.   After life, a novel by Dr Shivarama Karanth
6.   A book on Kodava theater by Dr. Rekha Vasanth

Projects under progress:

  1. Publication of Kannada Dalit poetry in Hindi
  2. Translating 20 best articles, which


  1. A seminar on Mahabharata in Classical Indian literature at CIL in association with Odia chair

  1. Organizing a national workshop on Oral history at JNU, In association with Centre for Historical studies (CHS) and Karnataka Sahitya Academy.

  1. Arranging two guest lectures on Kannada literature

  1. Organizing a national symposium on Indian Languages during Mother tongue day, February 2919.

Important visitors:

Many scholars have visited the Chair for discussing about the languages issues in contemporary India. Few important names are listed below-

  • K T Chikkanna, Former director, Kannada and Culture Department, Government of Karnataka, August 27, 2016.
  • Vidwan Ranga Bhatta, Yakshagana artist, Mangalore, October 26, 2016
  • Smt. Vidya kolyur, Noted Yakshagana artist, New Delhi, October 26, 2016.
  • Mr. Nagathihally Chandrashekhar, noted film maker on November 10, 2016
  • Dr. Nataraj Budalu, Poet writer on November 16, 2016.
  • Prof. Basavaraj Donur, Registrar ( Evaluations), Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarakantak on November 17, 2016
  • Mr. Pichalli Shrinivas, President, Karnataka folklore Academy, Bangalore on November 18, 2017  
  • Prof. Rakesh Ranjan, Colombia University, New York on January 11, 2017
  • Dr. Chandrashekhara Kambara, eminent writer and vice president, Sahitya Akademy on January 19, 2017
  • Mr. GN Nagaraj, noted writer, Bangalore on February 2, 2017  
  • Prof. Sumio Morijiri, Waseda University, Tokyo on February 27, 2017
  • Prof. Minakawa, Former Professor, Jumanji University, Japan, February 27, 2017.
  • Basthi Vamana Shenoy, President, Vishwa Konkani Kendra, Mangalore, March 7, 2017.
  • Dr. A Surya Prakash, Chairman, Prasar Bharati, New Delhi, March 17, 2017.
  • Mr. Siddaraju, President, Karnataka Media academy, March 17, 2017
  • Mr. Dinesh Amin Mattu, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister of Karnataka on March 17, 2017
  • Mr. Om Thanvi, former editor of Janasatta on March 17, 2017.
  • Dr. Mohinder Singh, Director, Bhai Virsingh Sahitya Sadan, New Delhi, March 17, 2017.
  • D S Nagabhashana, award winning writer on March 25, 2017
  • Savita Nagabhushana, eminent writer on March 25, 2017.
  • Gowri Lankesh, noted journalist, March 26, 2017
  • Ms. Samna Gururaj, South Asian studies, School of arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania pn April 13, 2018.
  • Ms. Mamatha Arasikere, award winning writer, Government College, Hasan, Karnataka on May 3, 2018
  • Mr. Keshava Reddy Handrala, eminent short story writer, Bangalore on May 3, 2018.  
  • Prof. Deven Patel, University of Pennsylvania on January 2, 2018
  • Prof. TS Satyanath of Delhi University on January 12, 2018.
  • Prof. Siddalingayya, eminent poet and member, Sahitya Academy on February 14, 2018
  • Prof. Bala Saheb Lokapur, award winning short story writer and novelist on February 14, 2018
  • Mr. Sarju Katakar, eminent translator on February 15, 2018.

June 2018