Maharaja’s College, Mysore Varsity & Economics Department of 50s —2
Feature Articles

Maharaja’s College, Mysore Varsity & Economics Department of 50s —2

March 21, 2024

By H.K. Shivananda, IAS (Retd.)

[Continued from yesterday]

Dr. K. Venkatagiri Gowda, having earned his Doctorate from the London School of Economics, returned to Mysore in 1957 and taught us for a year before transitioning to Bangalore University as Professor and Head of the Economics Department in 1964.

Notably, N.S. Subba Rao and V.L. D’Souza not only served as Principals of Maharaja’s College but also ascended to the positions of VCs of Mysore University. M. Madaiah, who was a couple of years junior to me, also retired as Mysore University VC.

Dr. D.M. Nanjundappa, an alumnus of this Department, besides serving as Secretary of Planning for Karnataka for an extended period, held the VC positions at Karnatak and Bangalore Universities.

P.R. Brahmananda, a distinguished Economist, credited with developing the Economics Department at Bombay University from the late forties, was a student of D’Souza at Maharaja’s College. Dr. Thimmaiya and Aziz, my juniors in college, excelled at ISEC Bangalore, with Thimmaiya also serving as Member of Planning Commission.

V.K. Nataraj, renowned for his debating skills during my college days, excelled at IDS (Institute of Development Studies) Mysore. S.B. Muddappa, a year junior to me and consistently securing the first rank since Intermediate, rose to become Karnataka’s Chief Secretary. Shettar, another junior, achieved national recognition in History, while Y.K. Puttasome Gowda of Psychology Department excelled in Administrative Service and became KPSC Chairman.

One of my classmates from the Philosophy Department deserves special mention. Though I often saw him casually dressed in simple pyjamas and a shirt while moving around the college campus, I never had the chance to speak to him even once during our four years together. He does not know I was his classmate. He was seen frequently on the podium of Senior and Junior B.A. Halls as a leading Kannada debater winning all the prizes. He was one of the favourite students of Prof. Yamunacharya.

Despite appearing as an ordinary student like everyone else at the time, he later emerged as a prominent Kannada novelist of international renown. His deep understanding of philosophy and Indian epics is vividly reflected in his novels.

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He is none other than Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa, a name familiar not only to Kannada readers but also to readers of other Indian languages. Today, I proudly claim him as my classmate, even though we never exchanged a single word during our college years.

During my tenure as Administrator of MCC from 1979 to 1981, it’s worth noting that four of the top bureaucratic positions in Mysore were held by ex-students from different years of the Economics Department at Maharaja’s College.

They included DIG of Mysore Division (S.N.S. Murthy), SP of Undivided Mysore District (L. Revannasiddaiah), Deputy Commissioner of Undivided Mysore District (S.R. Vijay) and myself as the Administrator of Mysore City Municipal Corporation, appointed in place of an elected council.

Before concluding, I  must acknowledge the remarkable development of Manasagangothri campus over the past 64 years. This progress is attributed to the visionary efforts initiated from its renaming (C.D. Deshmukh, UGC Chairman, congratulated Kuvempu saying only poets like him can think of such a good name when he visited the campus) and the dedication of subsequent VCs in its development.

But old timers like us who studied in Maharaja’s College can never forget that academic atmosphere and the vast campus with various facilities. The nostalgic memories will remain etched in the evenings of our lives.

Two Professors who missed the Vice-Chancellor’s post

Prof. C.D. Narasimhaiah (CDN), after completing his studies at Cambridge, returned to Mysore and assumed the position of Professor and HoD of English Department at the young age of 29. He later served as the Principal of Maharaja’s College from 1956 to 1962, demonstrating exemplary leadership. Under his guidance, the English Department reached great heights. Although deserving of a VC’s post, he was not selected. However, he established the Dhvanyaloka Centre for Indian Studies in Mysore, gaining international recognition.

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At one time, Congress party seriously considered CDN’s name for selection as its candidate for Parliamentary election from Mysore. But because of some political compulsions, it did not select him at the last minute.

Dr. K. Venkatagiri Gowda returned to Mysore University in 1957 with a Doctorate from the London School of Economics. During 1957-58, he taught my MA class. Even though he was Professor, he could not get HoD post. So he moved to Bangalore University as Professor and HoD. Though qualified to be a VC and his name figured several times to the post, he was unable to secure the position, possibly due to his poor public relations and outspoken nature. Nonetheless, he was elected as BJP Lok Sabha MP from Bangalore South Constituency for one term.


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