In the service of Kannada

In the service of Kannada

The shaping of India's future depends on understanding its past," said Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.  Reflective of this philosophy is Vijayapura-based Dr P G Halakatti Research Centre, which is engaged in the preservation and publication of literary works. The core objective of this non-profit organisation is the preservation and dissemination of vachanas - a lyrical form of rhythmic, short poems, which evolved in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th century. Through this, the centre has been spreading the
vision and philosophy of Sharana Basaveshwara and others.

To preserve and spread the fragrance of vachanas, Dr P G Halakatti Research Centre, set up by Bijapur Liberal District Educational (BLDE) Association, has taken up a pioneering path where very few organisations try their hand at: taking up research projects and publishing literary works. And the centre has set an example for others by successfully completing research projects and publishing volumes of books.

Publications

The centre, named after the late Dr Phakirappa Gurubasappa Halakatti, was set-up in 2003. He is considered as the 'Max Muller of Karnataka' for his dedicated service to collect and preserve vachanas. Dr Halakatti, who was bestowed the titles of Rao Sahib and Rao Bahadur by the British, founded BLDE Association in 1942. Starting a research centre in Dr Halakatti's memory was a long-cherished dream of BLDE Association.

The centre has brought out a number of books and some of them have drawn the attention of national and international academicians. Dr Halakatti's complete works on vachanas, which has been published in 15 volumes, is considered to be a milestone in Kannada literature. As many as 15 scholars, under the guidance of the late Dr M M Kalburgi, worked on these volumes.

"We are focusing on neglected areas of literature and history. Through this, we would like to throw light on the forgotten history and culture of Karnataka. Vachanas teach the values of life while also promoting equality and non-violence. But they didn't get proper attention in the literary world. Dr Halakatti dedicated his life to collect and preserve them. Bringing out Dr Halakatti's six decades of research work in 15 volumes is our major contribution to Kannada literature," says Dr M S Madabavi, secretary, Dr P G Halakatti Research Centre.

Similarly, books on Adil Shahi rulers translated and published by the centre have captured the imagination of scholars. As most of the information and literature related to the Adil Shahi rule was in Persian, Urdu, Deccani (a mix of Persian and local dialects) and English languages, Kannada readers were deprived of authentic reference material.

With this in mind, the centre  translated several books on Adil Shahi rule into Kannada and published in 18 volumes. Dr M M Kalburgi, Krishna Kolhar Kulkarni, Dr B G Mulimani, Ramzan Darga, Dr H G Daddi and Dr Rahamat Tarikere worked on these volumes.

Apart from this, the centre has also published over 45 books on Sharana literature, philosophy, folklore, history, heritage, great personalities and institutions.

Considering the efforts of Dr Halakatti Research Centre, Kannada University, Hampi has accorded it a research centre status. "It is a professional research centre that helps scholars to understand different aspects of their subjects meticulously. It is from here that I got to learn the nuances of research. The centre helped me improve my academic knowledge," says Channappa Katti, who did his PhD from the centre.

Cultural space

More than 115 books edited by Dr Halakatti, and letters written by him and his father have been digitised to keep them in their original form. The centre gets financial support from the BLDE Association for most of its activities. The State government has also funded some of its projects.

The Dr P G Halakatti Research Centre has a fully fledged library for research scholars. A spacious auditorium in the premises is used for seminars, workshops and cultural activities. The centre also boasts of a mini museum where personal and rare archival articles of Dr Halakatti are on display. The printing press used by Dr Halakatti is one of the exhibits.

The centre has received many honours and awards, including the Akhil Bharata Kannada Sahitya Parishat Award, Nolamba Award and the Rajyotsava Award for its commendable work in preserving the Sharana literature. "Creating infrastructure facilities, promoting vachanas and publishing books on the history of Vijayapura are a way of showing our respect and gratitude towards the founder of the association," says Dr M B Patil, president of BLDE Association.

The research centre can be contacted by email at drpghrc05@gmail.com.

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