SALETORE B.A., 1902-1963

Bhaskara Ananda Saletore(BAskara Ananda sAletore) (ಭಾಸ್ಕರ ಆನಂದ ಸಾಲೆತೊರೆÉ) is an eminent historian who has contributed hugely to the field of historical research in Karnataka. He was born in a small village named Saletore in the Puttur taluk of South Canara district. After obtaining his early tutoring at Mangalore Saletore obtained his master’s degree from the University of Bombay. He proceeded abroad for higher studies in History and he was awarded a Ph.D. degree from the University of London for his thesis titled, ‘Social and Political life in the Vijayanagara Empire’.(1931) He got another Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Giessen in Germany . (1933) He had the god fortune to study under great scholars such as Rev. Fr. Heras and Dr L.D. Barnett. Saletore started his career as a professor of History in Sir Parashurama Bhavu College at Poona.(1936) He worked in the University of Ahmedabad in a similar capacity a few years later. He was appointed as the director of National Archives where he rendered yeoman service till his super annuation, in 1960. He became the Director of the Kannada Research Institute in the Karnataka University at Dharwar and taught at the Post Graduate Department of History. The contribution of Saletore to historical research are many and multifaceted. He has written a number of books and almost one hundred research papers on various aspects of Indian History and polity. He was skilled in many languages including German. His erudition and panache for collecting data from various sources are un paralleled. He is credited to be the first scholar in Karnataka to use inscrptional evidence for historical research. He was the first scholar to prove the fact that the Vijayanagara Empire was established by Kannadigas. His thesis on the social and political life of Vijaynagara was a trend setter and later scholars have added little to his work. This monumental work studies the administrative patterns of the revenue department and the modes of regional and Central adminstration in great detail. He gives a wealth of information about the external reations as well as the structure and functioning of the army. Important areas such as festivals, games and amusements, social institutions position of women, social legislation, public service, habitation, food and dress and Corporate life are described in the section covering cultural life. This work laid great empahsis on the relationships that prevailed between the Empire and the culture of coastal Karnataka. His study of Jainism in medieval Karnataka is not confined to Vijayanagara Empire. He has delineated different facets of Jainism in Karnataka right from the pre Christian era. His last work, ‘Ancient Indian Political Thought and Institutions’ counts among his best works. Dr Jyotsna Kamat gives glowing tributes to the work: “The book running into 700 pages contains a comparative study of the great Ancient political thinkers Many and Jammurabi and also Aristotle and Kautilya. He had great regard for Kautilya and believed that he more than anyone else, epitomized in himself the fundamental ideas that were agitating the minds of the ancients in the most formative period of their respective country's history.” He was truly broad minded and his comments on the definition of a foreigner are relevant even in the present context: "It does not take into consideration the great fact that repeatedly and for centuries our history has been molded by extraneous influences, that social purity is a myth, which has no place in the field of learning, and as for our culture, there is hardly any portion of it which can be considered as the exclusive gift of any particular section of the people.... Now more than ever we need that broad mindedness and spirit of tolerance which marked the thought and action of our forefathers, who absorbed as much as possible from all races." (Quoted by Dr Jyotsna Kamat in the link provided below.) In addition to the works enumerated so far, Dr Saletore has published a number of articles in reputed journals. He was the chairman of the History Conference that was held at Dharawada in 1957. A list of publications by Dr B.A.Saletore is provided below:

1. Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagara Empire (Two volumes) B.G.Paul and Co., Madras , 1934

2.      Ancient Karnataka--History of Tuluva, Oriental book Agency, Poona , 1936

3.      Saletore B.A., Ancient Indian Political Thought and Institutions—Asia Publishing House, Bombay 1963

4.      Medieval Jainism with special reference to the Vijayanagara Empire--Poona , 1938

5.      Karnataka's Trans-Oceanic Contacts—Karnatak university, Dharwar, 1956

6.      Main Currents in the Ancient History of Gujarat—M.S.University, Baroda , 1960

7.      India's Diplomatic Relations with the East—Popular Book Depot, Bombay 1960

8. Fort William-India House Correspondence, and Other Contemporary Papers Relating There to: (Public series) (Volume 9): 1782-5 / edited by B.A. Saletore: India House Correspondence and Other Contemporary Papers Relating Thereto (foreign, Political, and Secret)

By National Archives of India, East India Company, Bengal (India ) 1958.

9.      Ancient Indian Political Thought and Institutions 1963.

  1. ‘Kannada Naadina Charitre’, Bhaaga-1, Kannada Sahitya Parishath, Bangalore .
  2. Wild Tribes In Indian History, 1935, Motilal Benarasidas, Punjab Sanskrit Book Depot
  3. The Maratha Dominion in Karnataka
  4. A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Kannada research Institute, Dharwar, By A.M.Annigeri and B.A.Saletore, 1961, published by the Institute
  5. Der Wert der listschen Lehren für die Lösung der indischen Frage...
    BA Saletore - 1933 - Universitätsverlag von Robert Noske,
    Leipzig (In German)
  6. “The Sthanikas and their Historical Importance.”)Details not known)

Links: 1. Biography of Prof. B.A. Saletore (By Dr Jyotsna Kamat)

2. on Two Great Plebian Rulers of Mysore

(and more so the article "Tipu Sultan as Defender of Hindu Dharma" by B A Saletore, is not only worth reading but worth pondering over. ...)


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