Govinda Swamirao Gai (ಗೋವಿಂದ ಸ್ವಾಮಿರಾವ್ ಗಾಯಿ) has rendered great service to the Cultural Studies of Karnataka as an epigraphist, historian and linguist. He was born in the North Karnataka region and obtained his Master’s degree from the Karnataka University . He was given a scholarship to conduct research on Kannada inscriptions at the Deccan College, Poona . He chose to work on the inscriptions belonging to the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries. Later, he was awarded a Ph.D. degree from the same instiutution for his thesis titled ‘A Historical Grammar of Old Kannada: based entirely on the Kannada inscriptions of the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries A. D.’

Dr Gai joined the Archeological Survey of India in the year 1943 and served in various capacities before securing the position of the Cheif Epigrapgist in 1962. He served in that post till his superannuation in 1976. Gai has published more than one hundred papers on various aspects of History, Lingustics, Epigraphy, Archaeology and Culture. He edited the 20th volume of the ‘South Indian Inscriptions’ and the volumes 35, 36, 37 and 38 of the ‘Epigraphica Indica’. He was the joint editor of the third volume of the ‘Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum’. He has written a monograph on Bhavabhuti the Sanskrit playwright.

Gai’s contributions to the area of his expertise in general is matched by his work in the field of Karnataka studies. His publcations are listed below.

1.      Historical Grammar of Old Kannada; based entirely on the Kannada Inscriptions of the 8th, 9th and the 10th centuries A.D.’, 1946, published by Post-Graduate Reseatch Institute, Deccan College, Poona .

2.      ‘Indian epigraphy: its bearing on the history of art’ (edited along with Frederick Asher) 1985, Oxford and IBH, New Delhi .

3.      Introduction to Indian Epigraphy: with special reference to the development of scripts and language, 1986, published by Central Institute for Indian Languages, Manasagangotri, Mysore

4.      Some select inscriptions, 1990, Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi .

5.      Studies in Indian history, epigraphy, and culture, 1992, Shrihari Prakashana, Dharwad.

6.      Inscriptions of the early Kadambas, 1996, Indian Council of Historical Research and Pratibha Prakashan, New Delhi

7.      ‘Indian History and Epigraphy’ (Dr G.S. Gai Felicitation Volume), Edited by K.V.Ramesh and M.J.Sharma, Agama kala Prakashana, 1990

A felicitation volume was presented to him in 1991 in recognition of his services.


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