Prof G Venkatasubbaiah, renowned Kannada lexicographer, passes away in Bengaluru at 107 – India News , Firstpost

Having compiled 12 dictionaries, edited over 60 books and produced various seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada, Venkatasubbaiah was a leading figure in the literary scene

File image of G Venkatasubbaiah. Image via Twitter/@shobhaBJP

Professor G Venkatasubbaiah, renowned Kannada lexicographer, passed away in Bengaluru on 19 April at the age of 107.  He was suffering from renal problems for the past few days and was admitted to a hospital for treatment.

Having compiled 12 dictionaries, edited over 60 books and produced various seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada, Venkatasubbaiah remains a leading figure in the Indian literary scene. His dictionaries include Kannada phrases, idioms, and information on the usage and history of dialects.

Belonging to a family of scholars, Venkatasubbaiah was born on 23 August, 1913 in Ganjam village of Srirangapatna in Mandya. After finishing his post-graduation, he started out as a teacher at a municipal school in his hometown. From there, he went on to teach high school students in Davanagere, and then took up a job at Maharaja’s College in Mysuru. From there, he moved on to Vijaya College in Bengaluru where he worked until his retirement in 1973.

He became a household name for his popular column Igo Kannada (This is Kannada) in a Kannada daily detailing the nuances of the language, its idioms and phrases. Looking at the popularity and demand for the column, Igo Kannada was brought out in the form of a book.

A patriot, Venkatasubbaiah was fascinated by the freedom struggle as well. He had the opportunity to see Mahatma Gandhi who was on a drive to collect donations to sustain the freedom struggle in 1927.

As a young scout of 14 years, Venkatasubbaiah was assigned to make arrangements for Gandhi’s stay in Madhugiri. Recalling the incident on the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2018, the grammarian said he was enthralled to see the huge turnout of people in Madhugiri to see the Mahatma.

“Mahatma Gandhi had delivered a speech for only ten minutes, that too in Hindi language and in front of Kannada people who did not know Hindi. All of them were villagers. They were economically weaker and poor. Most of them were women. However, people who understood Gandhi’s speech gave donations generously and participated in India’s freedom struggle,” the professor had recalled.

Additionally, Venkatasubbaiah had served as the president of the Lexicographical Association of India for 17 years. In 2011, he even presided over the 77th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in Bengaluru.

A decorated critic, G Venkatasubbiah’s contribution to literature brought him a number of accolades, including the Padma Shri, Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award and Pampa Award among others.

(With inputs from PTI)

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