We learn the following from a treatise authored by M Gopalakrishnayya, published by the Mysore Electrical Department in 1932 – apparently, during the last decades of the nineteenth century, the possibility of power generation had been shown to the British engineers and there had also been a few bilateral correspondences regarding this between the Resident and a few business organizations. The details of the proposal, however, had not been examined.
Krishnamoorthy has expounded on an English sonnet composed by Wilfred Owen using Indian literary principles. His analysis of Thomas Gray’s famous poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is fascinating:
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Translations form a major part of Krishnamoorthy’s oeuvre. His English translations of Sanskrit works include Dhvanyāloka, commentary by an anonymous author on the first chapter of Locana, Vakroktijīvita, Yaśodharacarita, Kavikaumudī and a few sections in Ancient Indian Literature (vol. 2) published by Sahitya Akademi.
Competence at Work
Alongside his reputation for proficiency at work, there is another trait of Seshadri Iyer that needs to be mentioned as a corollary. He was never a person who yearned for people’s endorsement. A German historian defines the term ‘people’—one of the elements of the State—in the following manner:
The people is that part of the State which does not know its own interests.
Sir K. Seshadri Iyer was a native of Madras. He hailed from the region of Palghat (Palakkad). He wasn’t, in fact, someone the British authorities had summoned. I have heard that it was Rungacharlu who brought Seshadri Iyer into government service. When Rungacharlu was in the government service of the Madras Presidency, there were occasions when he had to visit places such as Coimbatore, Wayanad, and Palghat on government duty. On one such official trip, he got introduced to the family of Seshadri Iyer and came to realize that young Seshadri was a brilliant intellectual.
Krishnamoorthy joined the Sharada Vilas College in 1949 and worked there until 1952. During this time, at the behest of A R Krishna Shastri, he wrote an elaborate introduction to Ānandavardhana’s aesthetic method and translated Dhvanyāloka into Kannada. In the introduction, he outlined the concepts of kindred subjects that are essential to understand Dhvanyāloka, summarized the contents of the text and explained them with apt examples chosen from Kannada poems, both ancient and modern.
Just to illustrate with an example, let us take his paper titled, ‘A Note on the Date of Śaṃkara,’ which was published in The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society. The thesis is that Śaṅkara lived in the latter half of the sixth century and the former half of the seventh century CE, long before the destruction of Pāṭalīputra and Srughna.