My first Sanskrit Guru was Sri Kashi Raghavendracharya. Although there were numerous Sanskrit Vidwans in Mulabagal, there was no formal Sanskrit Patashala (School). The three or four schools in town didn’t have any facility to teach Sanskrit. My father had immense enthusiasm and reverence towards Sanskrit. He made repeated applications to the Government requesting it to introduce Sanskrit classes in my school, the Ango-vernacular Middle School.
It was night-time. Sometime during 1914-15. Venkatanaranappa visited my house and said, “I had been to Mysore the day before yesterday to attend the senate meeting. Mirza saheb was there. He is a senate member and an old disciple of mine. He was seated next to me and he asked me, ‘Sir, do you know the editor of The Karnataka?’ I replied, ‘Yes, I know him well. His father and I are good friends.’ Encouraged, Mirza saheb continued, “He writes well. His English is great.
In an earlier episode, while discussing the revival of modern Kannada, we reminisced about Mysore’s GTA, the university graduates’ association. One among the main people driving the association was M L Shreekantesha Gowda. Soon after completing his B.A., B.L., he got a job in the government’s Judicial Department. For a few years, he was a munsif in Madhugiri. After his retirement he lived in Basavanagudi on the first floor of a house that he owned. The house was in a corner and faced the Maharashtra Girls School.
From what I’ve heard, Sri Vasudeva Sastri hailed from Doddaballapura. His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore bestowed upon him the title of “Vidyanidhi” (literally: Treasure of Knowledge). Perhaps he was the first in a line of scholars to receive the “Vidyanidhi” honorific. He also earned renown as “Jaganmithya” Vasudeva Sastri.
M S Puttanna was a person who toiled for the revival of Kannada right from the beginning. During his initial days, he worked for a while along with Venkatakrishnayya and B M Srinivasa Iyengar, and later, on his own. I’ve heard that M S Puttana began his career with a government job at the Chief Court. He used to work as a translator. There is an interesting anecdote of those bygone days. In the Chief Court of those days, the manager of the office was one Bhimaji Rao. An announcement was made for the post of an office assistant in the Chief Court. This vacancy attracted several aspirants.
Much like Togere Nanjundashastri, the Nanjundashastri of Kadaba was also a traditional scholar. A person with complete mastery over both Sanskrit and classical Kannada. If the scholar from Togere was well-versed in Epigraphical Literature, the one from Kadaba had a deep knowledge of music. He has written an insightful article about how the Kannada poetic meters such as the Ṣaṭpadi fit perfectly within tāḻas.
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Mulabagal Sri Subbabhatta hailed from a lineage of Raja Purohitas (Royal Purohitas) and belonged to the Badaganadu subsect. He was younger to Sri Venkatarama Bhatta. He was a Rg Vedin but still studied Jyotisha and Dharmashastras under the tutelage of Sri Venkatarama Bhatta, who was a Yajur Vedin. His house neighbored that of Sri Venkatarama Bhatta.
Sri Chandrashekhara Sastri belonged to the Hulusukamme (or Ulucukamme) Brahmana subsect hailing from Srinivasapura. He arrived in Mulabagal as the Headmaster of the Anglo Vernacular School. He earned the respect of all people owing to his character, scholarship, and work ethic. His elder brother Sri Nanjunda Sastri was a renowned Vedic Guru; his younger brother, Sri Subbasastri made a name for himself as the schoolmaster in a place named Yerukaluve.
Y K Ramachandra Rao is one among the people to be remembered from the Parishad’s initial history. He retired as a Railway Chief Engineer. He hailed from Elandoor. He had a natural, abiding interest in Kannada; when Gopal Krishna Gokhale died in 1915, Ramachandra Rao arranged an essay-writing competition in Kannada, offering a gift to the best essay written about that great soul. I remember that the prize-winning essay—it was written by a student—was published in the Parishad’s periodical.