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T. V. Venkatachala Sastry

T. V. Venkatachala Sastry - a biography

Togere Venkatasubbasastry Venkatachala Sastry is a renowned Kannada writer, grammatician, critic, editor and lexicographer. He has to his credit over 90 books, several translations and has edited numerous collections of essays, biographical sketches and felicitation volumes. Recipient of the prestigious “Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award” (honorary), T. V. Venkatachala Sastry is an authority on Kannada language grammar and its various facets ranging from the metre scale (Chandassu) on which he has written extensively to history of Kannada literature spanning two millennia. His work on Jain temples, culture, religion and heritage has attracted considerable attention. His research work “Mulukanadu Brahmanaru” is an anthropological study of the Mulukanadu Brahmin community since the early 17th Century. It traces their origin, migration and absorption of modern western education. It records their history in detail with fifty and odd family genealogical trees and is indeed a valuable contribution to the field of caste study in sociological sciences. T. V. Venkatachala Sastry has served as Kannada Professor for over two decades at University of Mysore and additionally held the post of Director at “Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe” for several years before retiring in 1994.

T. V. Venkatachala Sastry was born on the 26th day of August, 1933 at Harohalli village in Kanakapura taluk of Bangalore district to devout Brahmin parents Venkatasubba Sastry and Subbamma. T. V. Venkatachala Sastry hails from the Telugu speaking South Indian "Mulukanadu" sect. Both his parents had little formal education and were avid devotees of the Ramakrishna Order. T. V. Venkatachala Sastry had his primary schooling at Kanakapura near Bangalore. At the age of 15, he finished his Intermediate course in the year 1947-48. From 1948 till 1954, he would spend the next six years pursuing undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at University of Mysore. He joined Yuvaraja College, Mysore in the year 1948 where he came under the influence of noted Kannada professors N. Anantarangachar and U. K. Subbarayachar. In 1950, he joined B. A. (Honours) course in Kannada at Maharaja’s College. At that time, there were such illustrious scholars as K. V. Puttappa (Kuvempu) who taught “Pampa Bharata” and “Literary Criticism”, D. L. Narasimhachar (History of Literature), S. Srikanta Sastri (Cultural History of Karnataka), K. V. Raghavachar (Kannada classic – “Basavarajadevara Ragale”), N. Anantarangachar (Kannada Grammar – “Shabdamanidarpana”),  T. S. Shamarao (Vachanas of Basavanna) and Parameshwar Bhatt (Bharatesha Vaibhava). He did intensive research work on Pampa, Ranna, Harihara, Nemichandra, Raghavanka and Kumaravyasa by availing ancient texts both from the Mysore University library and the Oriental Research Institute. He would finish Master of Arts (Kannada) from Maharaja’s College, University of Mysore in the year 1953-54.  



organising a symposium to celebrate 800th birth anniversary of Basavanna and requested T. V. V. Sastry at Osmania University to pen a paper on “Vachana Sahitya”. T. V. Venkatachala Sastry took up the project and mailed back a 60 page write-up which immediately caught the attention of “Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe” director and his former teacher D. Javaregowda who discussed it thence with H. M. Nayak. The litterateurs were so impressed that they influenced and ultimately persuaded T. V. V. Sastry to relocate to University of Mysore. Ever since T. V. V. Sastry earned his doctorate, he has dedicated himself to editorship, research, discussion, ancient literature, scholarly elaborations of prominent Kannada works and authoring authoritative works on Kannada grammar and its origins. University of Mysore’s Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe’s prominent publications such as “Kannada Sahitya Charitre”, “Kannada Chandassina Charithre”, “Kannada Vishaya Viswakosha”, and “Epigraphia Carnatica” owe a great deal to Dr T. V. Venkatachala Sastry’s erudition, perseverance and steadfast administrative acumen. His skills as an editor helped assemble and streamline many of these volumes in addition to several felicitation volumes for eminent personalities. Dr T. V. V. Sastry was director between 1991 – 1993 at University of Mysore’s “Kuvempu Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe” before occupying the chair of Dean of Arts at the University till 1994. Dr T. V. Venkatachala Sastry was at University of Mysore for 26 years in various positions – Lecturer (1968), Reader (1974), Professor (1984), Director (1991-1992) and Dean of Arts (1992-1993) before retiring in April of 1994 at the age of 60 years. He is married to Venkatalakshmi and currently resides at Mysore.


Dr T. V. Venkatachala Sastry’s vast contribution to world of Kannada Literature has been time and again acknowledged from various quarters with several awards and accolades. He is also recipient of the prestigious “Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award” (Honorary) for the year 1997. He even presided over the Dharmasthala Literary Festival in the year 2002. Some of the prominent awards are listed here.  


1.“Kannada Chandassu” (Kannada Sahitya Akademi) (1970)  

2.“Kannada Chitrakavya” (Kannada Sahitya Akademi) (1987)  

3.“Kannada Chandovihara” (Kannada Sahitya Akademi) (1989)  

4.“Karnataka State Devaraja Bahadur Award” (1972)

5.“Mysore Viswavidhyalaya Suvarnamahotsava Award” (1978)

6.“Mysore Viswavidhyalaya T. N. Srikantaiah Smaraka Award” (1978)

7.“Dharwad Vidhyavardhaka Sangha Award” (1978)

8.“Karnataka State Devaraja Bahadur Award” (1978)

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T. V. Venkatachala Sastry T. V. Venkatachala Sastry at his Graduation

T. V. Venkatachala Sastry started his career as a lecturer at Kanakapura rural college in the year 1955. Subsequently, he shifted to St. Joseph’s College, B'lore in the year 1957 and continued till 1959 as a lecturer there. He was later appointed as lecturer at Osmania University in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh where he toiled hard to build the nascent Kannada department. In addition to his teaching duties at the University, he also taught at several Women’s and Arts Colleges. His genial bearing and affable manners both with fellow colleagues and students earned him the affection and respect of many students. Among these were Puranik, Venkatoba Rao, Hanumanthacharya Upadhyaya, Divakarla Venkata Avadhani, P. Madhava Sharma, C. Narayana Reddy and B. Ramaraju. He involved himself avidly in the affairs of the “Telugu Sahitya Akademi” and during these years put together his “Mahakavyalakshana”.  He translated Sophocles’ “Trakiya Pengal” during his tenure at Osmania University. Later he translated “Prometheus Bound” by Aeschylus into Kannada. In fact, he is credited with modern Kannada literature’s first number specific dictionary titled “Sreevatsa Nighantu”. He was later transferred from the women’s college at Osmania University to the University’s Post Graduate department. Even though, Kannada M. A. students were few in number, he none the less took great interest in teaching such difficult topics as “Kannada Chandassu”, Kannada Grammar and "Suktisudarnava". It was by this time that he decided to do doctoral research work and this brought him closer to his former teacher and mentor Prof D. L. Narasimhachar. D. L. Narasimhachar would later suggest a doctoral work on “Kannada Neminathapurana Tulanathmaka”, which T. V. V. Sastry took up in earnest. In February 1968, University of Mysore’s “Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe” embarked on

Udaracharitaru Udathaprasangagalu by T. V. Venkatachala Sastry T. V. Venkatachala Sastry receiving the Maasti Award