Lexicographer, Kannada writer and critic Prof G Venkatasubbaiah dies at 107

Prof Venkatasubbaiah, fondly addressed as GV, was suffering from renal problems for the past few days and was admitted to a hospital

Lexicographer, Kannada writer and critic Prof G Venkatasubbaiah dies at 107

Photo for representation only

Bengaluru, April 19

Renowned lexicographer, Kannada writer and critic Professor Ganjam Venkatasubbaiah is no more, family sources said here.

He was 107.

Prof Venkatasubbaiah, fondly addressed as GV, was suffering from renal problems for the past few days and was admitted to a hospital.

He was due for discharge on Monday but suddenly his condition worsened and died on Sunday night, family members said.

Born on August 23, 1913 in Ganjam village of Srirangapatna in Mandya district, Venkatasubbaiah was the second among eight children of Ganjam Thimmannaiah.

He did his schooling in Bannur and Madhugiri and higher education in Mysuru.

The grammarian who had compiled 12 dictionaries had authored around 60 books and brought out four seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada.

His book ‘Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya’ and ‘Klishtapada Kosha; earned much acclaim in the Kannada literary circles.

Recipient of numerous awards, including Padma Shri, Kannada Sahitya Akademi and Pampa Award, the centenarian was an eminent academician and a noted orator.

He became a household name for his popular column 'Igo Kannada' (This is Kannada) in a Kannada daily detailing the nuances of the language, its idioms and phrases.

Looking at the popularity and demand for the column, 'Igo Kannada' was brought out in the form of a book.

A patriot, Venkatasubbaiah was fascinated by the freedom struggle as well.

He had the opportunity to see Mahatma Gandhi who was on a drive to collect donations to sustain the freedom struggle in 1927.

As a young scout of 14, Venkatasubbaiah was assigned to make arrangements for Gandhi's stay in Madhugiri.

Recalling the incident on the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2018, the grammarian said he was enthralled to see the huge turnout of people in Madhugiri to see the Mahatma.

"Mahatma Gandhi had delivered a speech for only 10 minutes, that too in Hindi and in front of Kannada people who did not know Hindi. All of them were villagers. They were economically weaker and poor. Most of them were women. However, people who understood Gandhi's speech gave donations generously and participated in India's freedom struggle," the professor had recalled.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and his cabinet colleagues joined many others in expressing grief over the demise of Venkatasubbaiah.

"The contribution of Prof GV for the development of Kannada language, its dictionary and literature is unparalleled. He has authored more than 60 books and 'Igo Kannada'. His continuous writing till the end fills one with amazement," the Chief Minister said.

Others such as Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani also condoled the death.

Former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah also expressed sorrow over the death. PTI

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