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Portraying the life of a lexicographer

By K.N. Venkatasubba Rao


BANGALORE, FEB. 24 . With the release of Shabda Saagara, a book in honour of the 91-year-old lexicographer, G. Venkatasubbaiah, on Wednesday, the Kannada literary scene is likely to have not only an interesting form of reading material but also a new publishing idea.

The book is a compilation of articles by scholars, writers, and poets. Gowri Sundar, publisher, who was also a film-maker, says he is keen on bringing out books that are culturally and historically significant. He wants his books to evaluate writers and their works critically and not to be merely biographical and laudatory volumes. Shabda Saagara deals with the evolution of Kannada and the role of Prof. Venkatasubbaiah, popularly known as Prof. G.V., in the development of Kannada dictionaries over the years, he says. Mr. Sundar has published critical notes on S.L. Bhyrappa's novels, the Ramayana as G.V. Iyer sees it, Nyayamoorty Nittoor, and Sulabaha Chiktse by Pandit Taranath.

Despite escalating production costs, discouraging marketing trends, and the alleged irregularities in the Government's book purchase schemes, Mr. Sundar is optimistic of making 100 per cent profit. He argues that it is wrong to say Kannada books lack a lucrative market. Some unscrupulous writers and publishers have created such a false impression in connivance with some people in the Government.

Shabda Saagara contains insightful articles on the life and achievements of Prof. G.V. who has earned the distinction of being one among the senior-most lexicographers in the 20th Century in the world. He was felicitated at the first international lexicographers meet held in Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu recently. Prof. G.V. has compiled over 10 dictionaries, including the eight-volume Kannada-Kannada Nighantu. His column, Igo Kannada, in Prajavani, a Kannada daily, has been popular for over a decade. He has edited over 25 books and published several papers. He was an advisor to the multilingual dictionary project (Japanese-Kannada-English-Tamil, 1988) of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai. He had been a member of the consultative committee of the Telugu lexicon project of the Telugu Academy of the Andhra Pradesh Government from 1970 to 1985. He had been the vice-president of the Lexicographical Association of India for 17 years from 1973. He has won several awards.

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