Kannada MA course in Madras University finds few takers


In 2008-09, five students got admissions to the department. One of them discontinued studies in the middle of the year; only four are left. The Department’s total intake is 20. On an average, about 40 to 50 students get admission to MA in Kannada at universities in Karnataka. The department was set up in 1927, with Prof A Venkata Rao as the first professor. In the beginning, the department was more research-oriented. Prior to that Presidency College offered courses in Kannada.

The department has contributed immensely to Kannada literature. Many works of significance - including Shabdamanidarpana and Kavirajamarga - were first edited and published by the department, in association with the Oriental Research Institute (then in Madras). Ferdinand Kittel’s dictionary was first edited and published here. Scholars Channakeshava Aiyengar, Mariyappa Bhat, Prof Kushalappa Gowda among others worked as heads of the department.

However, over the years, the rate of admissions came down drastically, as the number of PG centres in Kannada in Karnataka went up in the post-independent era. Krishna Bhat Arthikaje, retired professor of Kannada, who had taught in the department for 30 years says, “The department in Chennai is the last option for Kannada students. They opt to apply to the department only after their attempts to get admission to universities in Karnataka prove futile. Unlike in Karnataka universities, this department offers courses in MA, even to those who have studied Kannada as a second language at the graduation level. The department offers MA, MPhil and PhD courses.

So far, more than 50 scholars have obtained PhDs. Currently, Dr Tamil Selvi, in-charge HoD, is the only permanent staff in the department. Guest faculty and research scholars take classes. Selvi said, “Forget the department in Chennai, many seats in PG centres of Universities in Karnataka fell vacant. For this academic year (2009-10) admissions are yet to begin. The process begins after the admission is closed in all the Universities in Karnataka.” The Karnataka government has announced a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000 to those who take admission in Kannada departments outside Karnataka.

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