S.Settar, (SaDakshara sheTTar) (ಷಡಕ್ಷರ ಶೆಟ್ಟರ್) is an internationally acclaimed historian, archaeologist and art historian from Karnataka. He has worked fruitfully in the fields of anthropology, history of religions and classical literature. He was born in 1935 and educated in Mysore , Dharwada and Cambridge . He has obtained Ph.D. degrees from the Karnataka University and the Cambridge University . He has served for thirty six years in Karnataka University and its affiliated colleges. He was a Visiting Professor in many prestigious Universities such as Cambridge , Harvard, Heidelberg , Leiden and Moscow . He was the director of the ‘Indian Institute of Art history’ for four years. (1996-99) He was the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi . Currently he is the Dr S.Radhakrishnan Visiting Professor in the ‘National Institute of Advanced Studies’, Bangalore . (since 2002). He is also the Honorary Director of the South Indian section of ‘Indira Gandhi National Art Centre’.

Prof Settar has given a new dimension to the research activities that has going on for more than one hundred years about the antiquity and culture of Karnataka. His research has its focus in the by gone dynasties of South Karnataka and coastal Karnataka and their contacts with Tamil regions. Sangam literature and the researches carried out by Tamil scholars on that age form the foundations of his work. He delves deep in to the material hither to untapped by Kannada scholars. His contention that at least a part of Sangam literature is written not in Tamil but some earlier form of Kannada is corroborated by Tamil scholars also. He finds historical and linguistic evidence to foster his theory. He has documented his findings about dynasties such as Kadamaba, Punnata, Kodagu, Kongana, Tulu, Koshara and Gangas. Most of these regions are towards the north of Tamilnadu and hence they are referred to as ‘vadugu’ or ‘vadaga’ (baDaga=North) He finds many references to these lands, people and their habits in a number of Tamil classics and their interpretation by modern scholars. He throws light on the marine activities of the Kannada kings and their confrontations with the Pallava and Chola kings.

According to dr Settar Kannada adopted a script for itself much before Tamil. However there in no gainsaying the truth that Tamilian culture is of greater antiquity. This observation leads to the conclusion that a strong literary tradition in a language may pre-date the invention of a script for that language. The research carried out by Settar shifts the emphasis from ‘Kavirajamarga’ as the foundational text for Kannada culture to the Dravidian antecedents of Kannada.

It is interesting to note that the earlier research carried out by Dr Settar also was related to Sravanabelagoala, Gangas and the Hoysala dynasty. His work about ‘Sallekhana death’s among Jaina monks is of seminal importance and has received inter national recognition. To sum up Dr Settar has made singular contributions to the fields of History, Archaeology and the Cultural history of Karnataka. He has won many honors and awards for his work. ‘Bhasha Samman’ conferred by the Sahitya Academy for his “Sangam Tamilagam mattu Kannada Nadu-Nudi’ is the latest addition to an imposing list.

A List of published Works:

a. ಕನ್ನಡÀ: 1. ‘ಶ್ರವಣ ಬೆಳಗೊಳ’À, 1981

2. ‘ಸಾವಿಗೆ ಆಹ್ವಾನ’À, 1986

3. ‘ಶಂಗಂ ತಮಿಳಗಂ ಕನ್ನಡ ನಾಡು-ನುಡಿ, 2008, ಅಭಿನವÀ, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು

4. ‘ಸೋಮನಾಥಪುರ’, 2008, ಭಿನವÀ, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು

b. ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್

1. Indian Archaeology in Retrospect: Arch and Historiography, History, Theory and Method by S. Settar, Ravi Korisettar, Published by Indian Council of Historical Research, 2002

2. Hampi, a Medieval Metropolis by S. Settar, Published by Kala Yatra, 1990

3. Inviting Death: Indian Attitude Towards the Ritual Death, By S. Settar, Published by BRILL, 1989

4. The Hoysala Temples S Settar - 1992 - Kalayatra publications, Bangalore

5. A Buddhist Vihara at Aihole, 1969, East and West.

6. Archaeology of Karnataka, 1978 - Prasaranga, University of Mysore

7. Hoysala Sculpture in the National Museum Copenhagen , 1975.

8. Sravanabelagola-An Illustrated Study, 1981, Dharwar

9. Persuing Death: Philosophy and Practice of Voluntary Termination of Life, 1990, Dharwad

10. Inviting death: historical experiments on Sepulchure. 1986, Institute of Indian Art History, Karnataka University , Dharwad

11. ‘Myths, Legends and Traditions Associated with Tsunami’ The Great Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, An Overview of a National Disaster, 2006, Bangalore .


c. Edited Works:

1. Archaeological Survey of Mysore , Annual Reports: 1906-1909.: annual reports
1976 – 77, Dept. of History and Archaeology,
Karnataka University , Dharwar.

2. Memorial Stones: A Study of Their Origin, Significance, and Variety

By S. Settar, Günther-Dietz Sontheimer, 1982, Edition: illustrated, Published by Institute of Indian Art History, Karnataka University , Dharwar-Heidelberg

3. a) Indian Archaeology in Retrospect, vol 1-4, 2002, New Delhi

b) Construction of Indian Railways, Vol 1-3, 1999, Northern Book Centre, New Delhi

c) Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, (With V.N.Dutta) Pragati Publications, New Delhi , 2000

d) Pangs of Partition, Vol 1-2, (with Gupta I.B.) 2002, New Delhi

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