DESAI P.B., 1910-1976

Panduranga Bheema Rao Desai, (ಪಾಂಡುರಂಗ ಭೀಮರಾವ್ ದೇಸಾಯಿ) has created a niche for himself as an epigraphist, historian and a researcher in the fields of Kannada literature and culture. He was born in Gurumitkal village of Gulbarga district and had his early education In Sedam and Gulbarga. He obtained his B.A. (Hons.) degree in Sanskrit in 1935 and M.A. degrees in Sanskrit and Kannada both from the University of Bombay. He was appointed as an assistant researcher in the epigraphy section of the Archaeological Survey of India. He worked in this capacity, based at Ooty and was in charge of many important projects. He joined the department of Ancient Indian History and Culture of Karnataka University, Dharwar in 1957 and retired as a professor and head of the department in 1971. He was well versed in Kannada, English, Marathi, Urdu and Sanskrit.

 His interest in epigraphy started at a young age when he traveled in the surroundings of his village (Kuknur in Koppala district) and collected about 200 inscriptions. He pursued the science of ancient Indian Paleography diligently and mastered it. He had an abiding interest in temple architecture, sculpture and memorial stones. His collaboration with N.Lakshminarayana Rao another well known epigraphist resulted in important findings. He worked in the four districts of Mumbai Karnataka and some small principalities. He discovered about 1000 inscriptions in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. He edited the fifteenth volume of the ‘Inscriptions of South India’ independently and edited the first volume in collaboration with Lakshminarayana Rao. He worked diligently for the Government of Hyderabad in collecting the inscriptions of that region. He laid the foundation for a systematic and scientific study of epigraphy in the Karnataka University during his tenure. He was responsible for the development of the museum in the Kannada Research Institute, Dharawada. In addition to epigraphy he is known for his work on the Buddhist shrines in Karnataka as also Phandarapura. He has worked on the subject of Place names also.

P.B.Desai has many publications both in the form of books and innumerable articles published in reputed journals such as Epigraphia Indica’. His articles in Kannada, English and Marathi number almost four hundred. Some of his important books and volumes edited by him are listed below.                                                                                                                              

                 1. ‘Vijayanagarada Samrajya’,1936

             2. ‘Inscriptions of South India’, Volume 1, (With N.L. Rao)

             3. ‘Inscriptions of South India’, Volume 15

             4. ‘Shasana Parichaya’,1956

             5. ‘A Corpus of Kannada Inscriptions in Hyderabad’,

             6. ‘Kannada Inscriptions of Andhrapradesh

             7. ‘Selected Inscriptions of Andhrapradesh

             8. ‘Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Kannada Research Institute’(Vol. 5- Vol. 9)

             9. Basavesvara and his times. 1968, Kannada Research Institute, Dharwar,Karnatak University

             10. “A History of Karnataka’ (With B.R.Gopal and S.H.Ritti)

             11. ‘Karnatakada Kalachurigalu

             12. ‘Minchida Mahileyaru

             13. ‘Kannadanaadina Shaasanagalu

              14. ‘Madagajamalla

             15. ‘Kuntaleshvara

             16. “Shivacharitra Sangraha’ (In Marathi)

             17. ‘Jainism in South India and some Jaina Epigraphs’ (secured the D.Litt. award by the Karnataka University in 1961)

            A felicitation volume named ‘Studies in Indian History and Culture’ was presented to him in 1970.


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