Featured: D. L. Narasimhachar Page 1 of 4
Doddabele Lakshmi Narasimhachar was born on 27 October 1906 in Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumkur district. His father Shamayya Iyengar was a clerk in the Sub-Registrar’s office. His mother Lakshmamma was daughter of Annaswamy Iyengar who was known for his rendition of Mahabharatha (Bharathavachana). D. L. Narasimhachar spent most of his childhood at Annaswamy’s Iyengar’s house and he had mastered “Jaimini Bharatha” by the age of 12 years! His family had migrated from Salem during the Vijayanagar Empire’s reign.
D. L. Narasimhachar had his schooling at Pavagada, then at Madhugiri and Sira. He learnt Sanskrit through private tuition. While in school, he was an avid contributor to the school magazine “School Folk” which was started by Principal Krishnaswamy Iyer. His earliest articles were an English article titled “The Story of a Cotton Seed” and a Kannada article titled “Dodda Manushyaru Yaaru?” In his school years, he had read works of Raghuvamsa and Champunarayana. During these school years, B. M. Srikantaiah once paid a visit to D. L. N.’s school and took a class on “Stories from Aeneid”. This class captured D. L. N.’s attention and fostered an ardent devotion to B. M. Srikantaiah under whose aegis he would later complete his Master’s qualification.
D. L. Narasimhachar joined Central College, Bangalore in 1927 for his Bachelor’s Degree. His chosen subjects here were Chemistry and Physics. As he scored high marks in Kannada, he joined M. A. Course (in Kannada) at Maharaja College, Mysore. Here, his classmates included K. V. Puttappa, K. V. Raghavachar, Anantarangachar and K. Venkataramappa. While at Maharaja College, he came under the tutelage of B. M. Srikantaiah, Rallapalli Anatha Krishna Sharma, C. R. Narasimha Sastry, T. S. Venkanayya and A. R. Krishna Shastry. During his free time, he would frequent Oriental Research Library to peruse old Kannada manuscripts. D. L. Narasimhachar completed his M. A. in 1929 and was awarded the H. V. Nanjundaiah Gold Medal.
D. L. Narasimhachar was among the first to secure a research grant set aside for the Kannada Department. The Research topic was on the period during which Veerashaiva Literature developed in Karnataka. His first job was as a resident lecturer at Oriental Research Library. Concurrently, he was taken in as a part-time lecturer at Maharaja College in the Kannada Department.
27 Oct. 1906
07 May 1971
Central College, Bangalore
Maharaja College, Mysore
Kannada Grammatician, Lexicographer, Professor, Halegannada Specialist, Editor.
Kannada Sahitya Parishath, University of Mysore, Central College (Bangalore)
"Kannada Grantha Sampadane"
"Peethikegalu mattu Lekhanagalu"
"Pampa Bharatha Deepike"
"Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award"
"Kannada Rajyothsava Award"
"D. Litt" (UoM)
D. L. Narasimhachar in his study
(Photo Courtesy: T. S. Satyan)
D. L. N. married Muthamma – last daughter of Tiruvallur Sreenivasa Raghavachar, who was himself a great Kannada Scholar. Raghavachar’s residence was a treasure house of rare Kannada books. Narasimhachar utilised this veritable library and penned “Pampa Ramayana Sangraha”. The couple’s first issue was a daughter by name Rajalakshmi. Their second child, a boy died early in his childhood and this was a great loss to the parents. They would have four more children – Prabha, Padmini, Jayashree and Madhavi. D. L. N. is famously believed to have dissuaded his first daughter from pursuing Kannada Studies for B. A. degree. He felt that if she happened to secure a first rank in B. A. degree, then the gossiping tongues would blame him for favouritism
Young D. L. Narasimhachar
and nepotism! D. L. N. had a penchant for ‘snuff’, something he picked up from his close friend Kuvempu. Interestingly, Kuvempu is believed to have later given up the habit, whereas his friend continued it till his later years. D. L. Narasimhachar was appointed full time lecturer in Kannada in 1932 in Maharaja College, Mysore. He remained here for the next seven years. He was deputed to the Intermediate College in Mysore (present day Yuvaraja College) from 1939 to 1941. His promotion to the post of Assistant Professor saw him being transferred to Bangalore Central College in 1945. By 1948, he was promoted and consequently transferred back to Maharaja College, Mysore. In 1954, he was appointed Chief Editor of the ‘Kannada-Kannada’ Dictionary Project - a role which required him to again relocate back to Bangalore! Two years hence, by 1956 – he was promoted to the post of Professor and came back to Maharaja College where he would teach for the next six years before retiring in 1962. His teaching tenure spanning thirty years from 1932 – 1962 was divided almost equally between Mysore and Bangalore.
Following his retirement in 1962, he was appointed U. G. C. Research Fellow for the next six years at the University of Mysore – Department of Kannada Studies.
D. L. Narasimhachar in Convocation Attire