NARASIMHAIAH A.N., 1890-1980

            A.N. Narasimhaiah (e. en. narasimhayya) (ಎ.ಎನ್. ನರಸಿಂಹಯ್ಯ) was a scholar with a panache for grammar and linguistics, even though he worked in other fields such as textual criticism, translation and creative literature. He belonged to a small village called Agara in YeLandUr talluk of Mysore district. He studied at the Maharaja’s College Mysore and obtained B.A., L.T. and M.A. (Sanskrit) degrees from the University of Madras. He had an opportunity to study in the United Kingdom amidst his official responsibilities. He worked under the supervision of R.L.Turner a renowned linguist of those times. He obtained a Ph.D. (School of Oriental Studies, London University) .for his dissertation, titled ‘A Grammar of the Oldest Kannada Inscriptions’, in 1933. This thesis was later published by the University of Mysore. (1941)

            Narasimhaiah has worked in various capacities such as a teacher in the Marimallappa High School at Mysore, a lecturer in a Teacher’s Training College, Principal, Sanskrita mAhapathashalaa, Secretary, Department of Education, State of Mysore, Part time Professor of  Linguistics in the University of Mysore, Librarian in the University library and an  assistant registrar in the same institution.

            He was a polyglot with a command over Kannada, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Bengali and Tamil.  He was one of the pioneers in the field of linguistics in the context of Kannada. His doctoral work uses the descriptive and comparative method to delineate the status of Kannada based essentially on the Kannada Inscriptions of the 6th and 7th centuries. This is an erudite work studying 66 inscriptions belonging to the relevant period and constructing a grammar of Kannada based on the material obtained there. This work was continued further by G.S. Gai who created a grammar based on the inscriptions of the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries.

`           Narasimhaiah has written a grammar for elementary schools, in 1938. This book which was reprinted any number of times, contains nineteen chapters. They describe the elementary concepts in a simple manner. This again, is a combination of traditional scholarship and Modern outlook.

            He has edited a dictionary called ‘ಕಾಶಕೃತ್ಸ್ನ ಶಬ್ದಕಲಾಪ ಧಾತುಪಾಠಃ’ (kAshakrutsna shabdakalAPa DAtupATH’, written by Chennaveera Kavi. This is a commentary in Kannada on ‘ಕಾತಂತ್ರ ವ್ಯಾಕರಣ’ (kAtantra vyAkraNa) written by Sharvavarma. It is said that he had written a grammar of the Pali language which could not see the light of day for want of publishers.  His expertise in Tamil kindled a desire in him to write on topics like ‘Perumgadai’, ‘Tolkappiam’ etc. However he could not accomplish this task comprehensively.

            Dr Narasimhaiah has written a number of articles related to grammar and linguistics as well as Kannada. Most of his Kannada articles are published in ‘Prabuddha Karnataka’. They cover topics such as ‘History of (ಶಕಟರೇಫ) in Kannada’ and ‘History of ‘ in Kannada’. He has translated a few essays by Tagore and written a novelette named ‘manavE gangA, maneyE kAShi’.  A list of the publications by A.N. Narasimhaiah is provided here:

Books:

1.      ‘purANa paricaya’, 1935

2.      ‘kannaDa prathama vyAkaraNa’ 1938

3.      ‘tapObala’, (Translation), 1939

4.      ‘sAhitya’, (Essays of Ravindranatha Tagore) 1940

5.      ‘sangIta gangAdharam’, (Edited Work), 1942

6.      ‘kAshakrutsna shabdakalApadhAtupATha’, (Edited Work) 1952

7.      ‘A Grammar of the Oldest Kanarese Inscriptions’, 1941, University of Mysore, Mysore. 

 

Further Reading:

1.      ‘sAhitya sannidhi’, Dr T.V. Venkatachala Shastry, 2008, Sapna Book House, Bangalore.

2.      ‘hiriyaru, geLeyaru’, V. Seetaramaiah, Geetha Book House, Mysore.

 

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