Friday 1 March 2013

A father and son duo who won Kendriya Sahitya awards twice

His father was one of the greatest Kannada writers of all times. He too took to writing and some of his works arte popular even to this day. However, he is more known as a botanist and an excellent teacher and a former Principal of the Presidency College of Madras (now Chennai).
Though he was born in Bangalore and died here, he lived for several years in Madras and even taught there. Yet, he never allowed his link to his homeland and Kannada language to be severed. He maintained close contact with literary figures in Karnataka and also had numerous friends in Bangalore and other places in Karnataka.
He has the rare distinction of having two plant species named after him and both are rare. Both he and his father won the Kendriya Sahitya award for literature twice and this is an unprecedented achievement in the annals of Indian literature.
He is none other than  B. G. L. Swamy, son of the redoubtable D V Gundappa or DVG, one of the most eminent Kannada writers.
BGL himself is a well-known botanist and Kannada writer. He served as professor and head of the department of Botany and as Principal of Presidency College, Madras.
His style of writing is much different than that of his father. It is more humorous and “ Panchakalashagopura”  is a tribute to the people or rather his teachers who taught him in Central College, Bangalore.’
This book is lovable and the description of the college, lecturers,  departments and of course fellow students is marvelous. The book has details about people like T. S. Venkannaiah, Bellave, B M Shri, V.see and DVG himself.
The humorous anecdotes are interspread with sketches and this makes reading a pleasure.
Another book which is worth reading is “Tamilu Talegala naduve” (Among Tamil heads), which details his life and times in Tamil Nadu or rather Chennai. It has details of his research on both Tamil and Kannada language and literature.
Here, he examines the origin and development of both Dravadian languages and he openly debunks several theories as faulty. He takes on Tamil scholars such as Nilakanta Sastry and Iravatham Mahadevam and questions their stand.
His most famous work is  “Hasiru  Honnu”, which is on botany. This won him the Kendriya Sahithya Academy award. Apart from botany, it covers his experiences as a teacher and his experiences when he went on tour.
The book has unmatched descriptions of flora and fauna in Western Ghats, comprising the region of Agumbe, Nilgiri ranges, Ooty and Kodaikanal.
A large hearted man, he dedicated his discovery of  new species of plant in Agumbe of his guru Irving Bailey. His sphere of primary research wasplant anatomy, particularly the structure of connections between plants’ roots and stem. He discovered a few plant species that were unknown until then - Ascarina maheshwarii and Sarcandra irvingbaileyi, named for two of his teachers. In 1976, he was awarded the Birbal Sahni gold medal by the Government of India for his work in botany.
His other literary works include “Namma hotteayalli Dakshina America”,  “ Pradhyapakana peetadalli”  and “Americadalli nannu”. He also published a variety of articles such as “Phalashruthi” and “Kanyasthree”. His novel, Collegeuranga, was made into a movie by the same name. Another novel is Collegutaranga and  Brihadarnayaka, dairy of a botanist.
A polyglot, he knew several Indian and foreign languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, French, German and Spanish.
He was an excellent painter and cartoonist. He was a good violin player and was interested in music. He translated keerthanas of Purandaradasa into Tamil. He also had a good knowledge of inscriptions and wrote “Shasanagalalli Gidamaragalu” in Kannada.
After his retirement, Swamy came back to Bangalore and associated himself with the activities of Kannada Vignana Parishad. As president of the parishad, he tried to create scientific awareness among the masses and saw to it that more and more people write scientific articles in Kannada.
He has works on history, literature and botany to his credit.
His full name was Bengaluru Gundappa Lakshminarayana Swamy and he was born in 1918. He died in 1980.

No comments:

Post a Comment