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Featured: S. R. Ramaswamy
Sondekoppa Ramachandrasastri Ramaswamy is a renowned Indian journalist, writer, environmentalist and intellectual with more than 50 books and 1000 articles to his credit. His writings essentially mirror the literary, cultural, nationalist and developmental problems that are contemporaneous to the present day scenario. His outstanding support to "Voluntary Rural Development Initiatives" in the Indian state of Karnataka bear testament to his sense of social responsibility. He has additionally come to spear-head the renewed "Swadeshi" movement in the nation. Among his major campaigns was a movement which he led for restoration of people's customary rights over community lands threatened by ill-planned Government forestry policies. One such crusade saw him take an uphill battle against a well known conglomerate all the way to the Supreme Court of India accompanied by noted litterateur Dr.Shivaram Karanth - which ended in thousands of tribal populace being protected against eviction from their native region in the state of Karnataka. S. R. Ramaswamy is the founder of "Samaja Parivartana Samudaya", a voluntary organization working in Karnataka towards social transformation, tribal upliftment, citizen rights' empowerment among other issues at rural as well as urban levels.
S. R. Ramaswamy hails from a Brahmin family of Mulukanadu ancestry. He was born to parents S. Ramachandra Sastri and Sarasvatamma on the 29th day of October, 1937 at Bangalore. His mother smt. Sarasvatamma hails from the illustrious "Panyam" branch of the "Mulukanadu" clan. S. R. Ramaswamy's ancestor Yagnapathi Bhatta or Yagnam Bhatta was a famous court poet in the court of Immadi Kempegowda. He is the great grand nephew of Maha Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramshesha Sastri and Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Shankara Sastri and nephew of Dr S. Srikanta Sastri & Motaganahalli Subramanya Sastri. He is the younger brother of renowned journalist of yesteryears S. R. Krishnamurthy. S. R. Ramaswamy has inherited a scholastic tradition of research and erudition from this illustrious ancestry.
His forays into the world of journalism began with a short stint at William Quan Judge Press at Bangalore in the late 1950s. By 1972, S. R. Ramaswamy was a Chief Sub-Editor at popular Kannada weekly "Sudha' and continued there till 1979. Since 1980 till date, he serves as Honorary Editor-in-Chief at "Utthana" and "Rashrottana Sahitya" at Bangalore. S. R. Ramaswamy has dedicated close to five decades to the world of journalism, writing, literature, environmental issues and social movements across the country. Across the decades spanning from 1960s to 1990s, S. R. Ramaswamy came under the influence of such intellectual giants as D. V. Gundappa, V. Sitaramayya, A. R. Krishnasastri, P. Kodanda Rao, Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma and Yadav Rao Joshi. His association with D. V. Gundappa over two decades saw him penning many of D. V. G.'s dictations, thus becoming his "eyes" & "ears", so to speak. ! Such a close embrace over the years led D. V. G to acknowledge S. R. Ramaswamy in his book "Jnapaka Chitrashale" as the brother he possibly had in an earlier life..!
Proficient in a number of languages ranging from Sanskrit, Hindi, German, French, English, Kannada & Telugu - S. R. Ramaswamy's works defy boundaries of culture, nationality or regional identity. In fact, his earliest piece - a review of "Paul Valery: The Quintessentialised Intellectual" (published in P.E.N in 1972) serves to illustrate his scope of intellect: -
"It is one of the curiosities of Paul Valery's many sided literary activity that not withstanding the versatality of his writings and the steadily increasing sway he gained over the French mind during the first three decades of the present century (21st), the clue to an understanding of his life and work is found to be in what is probably one of his earliest works - "Une Soiree avec. M. Teste" (An Evening with Mr. Teste) published so far back as 1896"
Bangalore High School, Bangalore
The National College, Bangalore
Honorary Chief Editor, "Utthana" - Kannada Monthly
"Shatamanada Tiruvinalli Bharata"
and many more
"Kannada Sahitya Akadami Prashasthi"
"Karnataka Rajyothsava Award"
"Honoris Causa Doctorate - D.Litt" from KSOU
S. R. Ramaswamy
(third from right - sitting on floor immediately to the left of D. V. G)
at D. V. Gundappa's residence, Bangalore. (1960s.)
S. R. Ramaswamy with Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma
S. R. Ramaswamy is proficient in Carnatic and Hindustani Classical Music in addition to the Classical form of Indian dance - Bharatanatyam. This proficiency is largely attributed to his close association with noted composer, singer and writer Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma (pictured in photograph) and V. S. Kowshik - the well known maestro of Bharatanatyam. His personal collection of L.P. records numbering in the hundreds encompass the best of both Carnatic and Hindustani Music.
S. R. Ramaswamy is an acclaimed art critic. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he assidiously promoted the Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich by authoring and editing two fine books chronicling the many exhibitions the painter had hosted across continents over the years. These two volumes have in them rare photographs of Svetoslav Roerich with many a distinguished heads of state and art afficianados alike. These volumes were published in 1974 by the William Quan Judge (W. Q. Judge) Press, Bangalore
for limited circulation and are seldom found in libraries today (book pictured). He has also interacted with such well known personalities as art critic Venkataram, Gandhian economists L. C. Jain and Sri Kumarappa.
S. R. Ramaswamy