Remembering a historian who shed light on modern Mysuru

It has been 25 years since B Muddachari, a historian of modern Mysuru, passed away. His 25th death anniversary was observed on October 22.

Having served the History department of the University of Mysore (UoM) for 30 years, he explored the history of Mysuru and shed light on various aspects of the life of the people of the region since centuries.

Born on August 8, 1929, in Induvalu village of Mandya taluk, Muddachari lost his parents Chikputtachari and Putalakshmamma, at an early age. He was brought up by his elder brother. He did his schooling in government schools of Mandya.

Muddachari sought the help of Siddegowda (Guruji) of Mandya and did his BA (Hons) in 1953, bagging the Candy gold medal from the UoM. He did MA (History) from the UoM and secured Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar gold medal in 1954.

Between 1954 and 64, Muddachari worked as a lecturer in Maharaja’s College — as Government of India research scholar from 1957-59 and as UGC senior research scholar from 1961-64. In 1964, Muddachari was awarded PhD degree for his thesis ‘Mysore Maratha Relations in the 17th century’, under the guidance of B Sheik Ali. He was felicitated with the UoM golden jubilee award. He worked as a professor in the UoM till 1989 and headed the History department during the last leg of his career.

He was chairman of the department of studies in History and director of the Institute of Middle Eastern studies (now West-Asian Studies) in Manasagangothri. He was founder-president of the Historical Research Institute of the Wadiyars of Mysore, member of Tipu Research Museum in Srirangapatna and president of South Indian History Congress and Karnataka History Congress.

Muddachari penned four books in English and 16 books in Kannada and published over 55 papers in various journals and periodicals. He was editor of souvenir ‘Tipu Sultan’ in 1989. He received the Kannada Rajyotsava Award in 1991.

At a time when there was glorification of just a few rulers, Muddachari shed light on the conquests of Chikkadevaraja Wadiyar and Doddadevaraja Wadiyar. He was among the historians who shed light on the achievements of Chikkadevaraja Wadiyar, the greatest among the Wadiyar kings. He also shed light on the role of the Marathas and the Wadiyars in the development of Bengaluru.

Retired professor P V Nanjaraj Urs said, "Muddachari was senior to me by five years. With an in-depth understanding, he had mastered the subject and could articulate a historical sequence with a lasting impact on the minds of the listeners. He could interpret history beyond the lines of the text in the books. Muddachari's classes used to be captivating and intrigued students to study and research. I used to often sit in his classes as a student.”

B Sheik Ali, former VC of Mangalore and Goa universities, who guided Muddachari for his doctoral thesis, said, "Muddachari was a dedicated, determined and hard-working student. He was a good team member and contributed to the development of the History department in Manasagangothri. He co-authored 'A Short History of Modern Asia, from 1900 to the present' with me and contributed to the Karnataka History Journal.”

Vasantha, a student of Muddachari said, "I was researching on 'Vijayanagar with external powers' under him. His effective method of teaching reached each student in the class. He prepared notes for students under correspondence coaching and also taught students aspiring for administrative services”.

C Siddaramu, who researched on 'Diwan's attitude towards freedom movement in princely Mysore (1926-47)' under Muddachari said, "To help students from rural background, he translated textbooks into Kannada.”

He introduced Kannada as a medium of instruction in PG to help rural and backward community students. He was secretary of Viswakarma Vidyavardhaka Sangha in Kuvempu Nagar and played a major role in building a hostel to help students. He has helped and guided many students from his hometown and otherwise.

Muddachari worked in the Vidhana Soudha, after his retirement from UoM in 1990, under T Hanumantappa, the then chief editor, who wrote books on Karnataka legislature. He was working on his book ‘Mandya Jilleyalli Swatantra Sangrama’, when he died in 1993.

 

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Remembering a historian who shed light on modern Mysuru

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