Featured: G. Venkatasubbiah (contd....) Page 2 of 4
G. V. married smt. Lakshmi in 1937 in Mandya. His wife along with other ladies of Bangalore started “Mahila Seva Samaja” a social organization, which was inaugurated by His Highness Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.
By 1939, the Second World War was around the corner and securing a steady job became an increasingly arduous task. Unable to secure a proper employment, G. V. began to give private tuitions to poor students earning nominal amounts barely enough to run the family. His oratorical skills, now famous, earned him several invitations across Mysore and Mandya to deliver lectures. At one such event in Mandya, hearing his lecture and deeply impressed by the depth of knowledge, the then deputy commissioner of Mandya – S. J. Mehkri pleaded with him to accept a teaching position at the local municipal high school for a salary of thirty rupees. The catch was that he had been invited to teach not Kannada but English! The need for money being absolute, G. V. continued in this position for six months.
He represented this school as teacher’s representative at the 1941 Scouts camp at Doddaballapur. While at this camp, one cold morning, G. V. took to swimming in the adjoining lake. The cold water left his legs frozen. Unable to swim, he was about to drown, when his friend Appaji Gowda saved his life with a powerful kick which sent him closer to the shore.
Following his stint at Mandya, G. V. was offered a position at Bangalore High School. Sadly, here as well he was requested to teach not Kannada but instead English! It is indeed ironical that Kannada language’s towering giant had his humble beginnings teaching of all languages English! While at Bangalore High School, he inspired his friend Ramachandra Sharma to pen Kannada poetry. Heeding his advice, Sharma brought forth his first book titled “Hrudayageethe” in 1952 with a preface by Gopala Krishna Adiga and S. R. Ekkundi.
The next chapter in his educational sojourn would see him serve and eventually retire from the now famous Vijaya College, Bangalore. Here G. V. would serve as Lecturer, Professor and Principal of the Evening College. He is best remembered for starting the student magazine “Uthsaha”. He is known to have gone out of his way to arrange on more than one occasion academic fees for deserving poor students who couldn’t muster it themselves. His lectures in the class room left many a student spell bound and transfixed. His repertoire of Kannada literature and the unique ability to bring to life these characters and events in the class room won him his fair share of fans.
When G. V. completed sixty years of age, Felicitation volume titled “Sahityajeevi” was published. Similarly, on his ninetieth year, “Shabdasagara” was brought forth. His centenary year was a momentous occasion and was marked by many events and felicitation volumes being brought forth in his honour. The centenary year welcome committee under the editorship of P. V. Narayan brought forth a centenary felicitation volume titled “Shatanamana”. Earlier in 2011, book titled “Vidvajeevita” had been brought forth in his honour.
In what seemed more than a mere coincidence, exactly one hundred years after Rev. Kittel authored the first Kannada dictionary, in 1993-94, G. V. authored modern Kannada’s first work on Kannada Language Dictionary writing titled “Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya” – an introduction to dictionary science in Kannada language.
G. Venkatasubbiah with classmates
During these years, G. V. sadly had the misfortune of enduring a road traffic accident which left him with multiple rib fractures requiring three months bed rest. He fortunately made a successful recovery. Following this, he would embark upon and happily finish trips of North India accompanied by Gopalakrishna Rao and T. S. Shama Rao and of South India with Lakshmi Narayana Bhatta and Smt. Jyoti.
As a member of private college teachers’ association, he argued in favour of the practice of giving one month notice period prior to resignation, thus availing the institutions enough time to seek out other faculty members for the vacant posts so created. He also became teachers’ representative to University of Mysore’s Academic Council. As warden, he worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Ramakrishna Students Home.
In his later years, G. V. was instrumental in suggesting and supervising the construction of Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali Auditorium in Jayanagar, Bangalore which later became the venue for Ramayana Parayana (sermons) and music concerts by the likes of Balamurali Krishna and others.
G. Venkatasubbiah with
D. V. G and Diwakar
G. Venkatasubbiah with
Nittoor Sreenivasa Rao
Maharaja's College -
B.T. Program with J.C.Rollo
Kaygonahalli village, Mandya district
University of Mysore, Mysore
Kannada Literature, Grammar, Criticism, Editorship & Lexicography
Kannada Sahitya Parishath, Vijaya College, Bangalore High School
"Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya", "Kannada Nighantu Parivara", "Igo Kannada".
“Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award”