Muktha Balaga

B G L andre Ivare Nodi!!

Posted on: ಫೆಬ್ರವರಿ 7, 2007

B G L Swamy 


B. G. L. Swamy (Kannada: ಬಿ.ಜಿ.ಎಲ್. ಸ್ವಾಮಿ)(1918-1979) was an eminent Indian botanist and Kannada writer; He served as professor and head of the department of Botany and as Principal of Presidency College, Chennai. He is the son of D. V. Gundappa (Kannada: ಡಿ.ವಿ. ಗುಂಡಪ್ಪ), one of the most respected Indian writers and philosophers. He is been my favorite author ever since I started reading his works and greatly inspired by his teaching techniques in Botany and amount of research he has done in the field of botany. His humorous style of writing has always made me read his books again and again… many many times. “ Panchakalashagopura “ one of his  books written as a tribute to his masters who taught him  in Central college, Bangalore . There’s a fine description of the college, Lecturers, departments , the campus, and  “kannada Sangha” , This book  contains  details of TS VenkaNNiah, Shri BeLLave, B M Shri, Shri.V.see and DVG  etc whom the  author was inspired of. Embedded in between these details are, witty and humorous incidents along with the sketches making this book a worthy read.

I Started searching  for  this authors books  as I was fascinated by his style of writing, and the search led me to  “TamiLu talegaLa naDuve” (Among Tamil heads),  a book of experiences of the author while  teaching  and stay in Madras. This book contains details and his research work of the histories and literatures of both Kannada and Tamil languages. This book  is devoted to examining theories pertaining to languages’ origins (especially the claims that were being made in those days by the Dravidian parties) and mostly debunking them. In his book he has also debunked some of the theories of Tamil historians like Iravatham Mahadevan, Nilkanta Shastri, to name a few. He has raised several questions regarding gaping holes and contradictions in their theories. He  humoursly brings out how he was callled “Pee. Chee.Ila.Chami” (BG L swamy) by them.

“Hasiru  Honnu” was my next find,  Hasiru Honnu (green gold) is a  Kendriya sahithya academy winner . This book is all about the  Botany project  tour experiences with the college students while he taught. His beautiful descriptions of flora and fauna  in Western ghats, (Agumbe) Nilgiri range , ooty , Kodaikanal etc  gives an complete picture of the treasure our country has. I was able to realise this and appreciate it better when I trekked in these  ranges. He has dedicated  a discovery of  new species(a plant)  in Agumbe range in the name of his guru “Irving Bailey”. I wished If  only I was born few decades early and  got a chance to go on a project tour with him…. Sketches and  hurmourous incidents narrated in this  book makes you read it  again and again.By this time I was  addicted to his writing……

I found “Namma hotteayalli DakshiNa america” details of fruits and vegetables which entered recently into our living style from South America   and “ Pradhyapakana peetadalli” experiences  (both bitter and good) in his teaching  career. 

“Americadalli nanu    was  one of the first travel  experience  book that I read.  Enjoyed thoroughly reading it ….“Phalashruthi”, “Durgandhopakhyana “, “Kanyasthree (species of Fungi)” were few of his published articles relating to his  subject and research.Collegeuranga (novel- made into a movie in the same  name), Collegu taranga (Novel), Brihadarnayaka, dairy of a botanist, maisor dairy are few more books  that he worte.In all, Swamy’s literary works encompass a large range of topics. A large number of them are related to botany, and succeed in introducing botanical concepts to the layperson. Other works pertain to History, literature, and some are partially autobiographical, dealing with his experiences as professor and principal. Apart from being an acclaimed botanist, BGL Swamy was also widely respected in the history and literary circles.His insightful satires are rightly considered classics of modern Kannada.-Usha B R


20 Responses to "B G L andre Ivare Nodi!!"

Wonderful post, Usha. I’ve read Hasiru honnu some 15-20 times and we had an extract from this same book – the chapter where that new plant is discoovered and dedicated to ‘Irving Bailey’ – in our academics.

And guess its time for me to get hold of other books of BGL 🙂

Thanks for an informative post. Did not know much about BGL.

I have read Hasiru honnu many a times. I love that book.

Ushakka, Firstly thanks for the wonderful post & secondly next time inda neeve upload maadi (so that you are not depending on anybody else):-)
Third point is, oLLe interesting subject. I see that Hasiru honnu is a common book among all book readers atleast a medium level book reader like me. ( all here seems to be avid readers)….
It sounded like a multiple book worm program compiled!! Keep it up.

also ondu request, Dwarka ge guest post kodok aagatta antha keLi, avara jothe idre namagella time hogode gottagalla & If he can compile a post from his knowledge (obsessed knowledge), naavu odi, bereyavarigu savisa bahudu.

Saahitya nodaaytu, innu sangeethakke – Waiting for 25th Feb 07.. I need to practise them …
Are our Muktha balaga taking part in the mass singing ? yaaryaaru ? Chaitanya, Bellur, Vani, Prof, Srik ivarella default yes?
Praneshachaar ??


Shuru maadilva? Naanu swalpa vaasi bidi haagadre.
First few days of practice went on smooth…the weekend disturbed the routine…past 3 days inda going home late from office.

I think Bellur is going at it full josh. Hope we do a good job along with the Meshtrus & disciples.

Love ly and informative post Usha…Thanx 🙂

Thanx all for the kind words,

Veena .. will inform dwaraka about your request.
Music bagge post sadyadalle ready madteeni, i will try to post it on my own this time 🙂

Howdhu Hasiru honnu is one BGL’s very popular work , more than a book its a diary of project tour experiences with his students brought out in a humourous way to create interest in a lay man and introduce him to world of botany.

wonderful post keep going up and up
tamil talegala naduve hasiru honnu mattu itara
pustakagalu BGL avara uttama kruthigalu
odida mele matte odabeku yenisuva sahitya

aradhanege barthini navella yendiru corus kodbahudu
i aradhane madvu usha kutumbakke nanna haridhika
devaru yatigalu dasaru avarige arogya bhagya karunisali yendu beduve nanu MB paravagi

M K Vidyaranya Says:

February 2nd, 2007 at 6:52 pm
Will DVG get ‘Jnanapeeth’ award posthumously ?

If Dr.D V Gundappa , popularly called as ‘DVG’ well known for his ‘Manku Thimmana Kagga’ were to be alive today , he would have completed 117 years on March 17 this year.
A walking encyclopaedia, DVG was a rare personality of authentic gretness who devoted all his energies towards the betterment of public life throgh his hundreds of writings.
D.V. Gundappa, was a matriculate who started journalistic career as a teenager at 16. He was so intelligent and hard working that two years later, he was publishing his own newspaper. He went on to become a titan of Kannada literature, writing on subjects that covered philosophy and literature, sociology and history.
Many of those who have taken up citizens’ initiative as their social service, should know that DVG was a passionate activist, ever ready to give his time for a worthy cause. He was the prime mover of the Popular Education League and the Social Service League. In 1945, he set up the Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), a forum at Narasimharaja Colony in Basavanagudi extension of the city intended to awaken national consciousness among people. He was also the Founder-Editor of the Institute’s journal, Public Affairs. Gundappa’s vision of the “GIPA is an independent, non-party and non-communal organisation endeavouring to serve as a centre for the education of the public for democratic citizenship.”
A close associate of Centenarian Engineer-Statesman Sir M Visvesvaraya, who was the Dewan of Mysore between 1912-1918, DVG met Sir MV often and would have long, intense discussions on matters relating to the state and its development—subjects which were close to their hearts.
Though DVG contributed generously of himself to the community, on a personal level, he lived in near-penury. Sir MV who wanted to help him told DVG that their discussions were invaluable to him in the discharge of his professional duties as Dewan. and liked to appoint DVG as Consultant to the Mysore State. However, DVG refused the offer as , being a Journalist and writer he refused to take money for conversations with a friend. Having virtually failed in persuading DVG, Sir MV reportedly told the former that he would continue his discussions with him on condition that they discussed only personal matters.
DVG could not take this ‘punishment’ for long and reluctantly agreed to be a Consultant. The Mysore Treasury issued him generous cheques at regular intervals. Sir MV felt pleased that his friend was enjoying a few justly earned rewards.
When DVG died in 1975, about fifty years after the incident amongst his few possessions was a steel trunk. When family members opened it, they were shocked to see a stack of cheques of the face value of Rs 1200, Rs 900, Rs 1400 amounts that would have added up to the equivalent of several lakhs in 1975.The cheques were issued by the Mysore Treasury, paid to DVG for his services as Consultant. Not a single cheque had been cashed. Despite the fact that they came at periods when he had suffered dire monetary difficulties. The greatness of a man can be some time measured not so much by what he does, as by what he doesn’t do.
C.Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), the First Govenror General of India writing on DVG has said, “Sri Gundappa is a remarkable person entirely self-made and totally independent of any assistance from University of College, yet far superior in attainments to anyone who has had the brightest university career. His untiring efforts to produce a well informed elite for political and social work have had their reward. After the success of the non-cooperation campaign a special efforts was indeed to make people see that good politics called for a great deal of information and correct thinking over and above jail going. Sri Gundappa had helped greatly in that direction”.
DVG was another genius who wrote magnificent poetry and philosophy. He was a man of enormous wisdom and clarity of thought wrote expansively illuminating many facets of life and thought He won the Sahitya Academy award for his philosophical poem “Mankuthimmana Kagga” a great work. Some of his other works include “Samskruthi”, “Gadaayuddha”, “Omarana Osage” ( a translation of Omar Khayyaam’s “Rubaiyat”… amazing work ).
Jnanapeeth awardee Dr. U.R .Ananthamurthy says, DVG tread a different path than his contemporaries and his works were mainly based on scepticism and experience .He was one of the front-line thinkers of the nation and one of the rare intellectuals who seriously intended on the well being of the society.
Literary doyen Dr.V.Seetharamaiah (Vee See) writing on DVG’s works had said, “Gundappa is a massive intellect in our literary scene”.
Another eminent writer K Sampadgiri Rao, a close friend of DVG has described him as this “DVG is a walking dictionary with interesting information about men and women who made any mark in old mysore during the last 60 to 70 years in public life, in learned profession or in arts and letters.
DVG’s famous ‘Manku Thimmana Kagga’ (The Tedious Twiddle of Thimma, the Muff), a philosophical poem in Kannada has become a household name in Karnataka for over alf a century, is almost the essence of the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha, The Vedas, Upanishads and is a thesaurus- encyclopaedia in Kannada. It is the Science and Philosophy of living s it provides answers to many questions that questing man for ages. It provides the gide posts on the road to worth life, illuminates dark corners, warns abot slippery patches and fills the pilgrim with solace hope and joys while unburdening him of doubt and despair.
Many litterateurs who have born 50 years after him, have been conferred with the country’s highest literary award – “Jnanapith” . It is high time the country respects the literary doyen DVG by conferring on him the ‘Jnanapeeth’ award atleast posthumously. If the powers that be responsible for choosing the persons for the award go through his innumerable works , particularly ‘Manku thimmana Kagga’,(English version available) I am sure they will feel guilty for not having conferred the ‘Jnanapeeth Award’ on him so for.
A literary band of the Kannadigas who have been conferred with the prestigious ‘Jnanapeeth Award’ so for included Dr. K.V.Puttappa, Dr. Da Raa Bendre, Dr Shivarama Karantha, Dr Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, Dr V.K.Gokak, Prof. U.R.Anantha Murthy and Dr. Girish Karnad.
Will the ‘Jnanpeeth Award’ committee, open its eyes, consider DVG’s name for the award atleast this year is a million dollar question.By conferring him the award posthomously, the committee would be recognising a doyen of Kannada literary person whose achievement in the field is fit enough to conferr him a Nobel prize for literature.

Vidyaranya sir, its nice to see your comment here! and the comment is as big as an article in VT.
having said that, what is the need of gnanapith award? including DVG, we have better names like SL Bhyrappa who are any day better than the current gnanapeetha awardees.

If any writer’s award eludes SL Bhyrappa, that award is not capable of awarding an awardeeeeeee

Came here through Veena’s link in my blog…

My 2 cents….my true feelings, nobody has to agree though 🙂

It’s a disservice to the Jnanpeeth award itself that the award hasn’t been given to the following three :


It’s a disservice to Kannada literature that the award hasn’t been given to the following three : (Well, we all know who snatched that)
Narasimhaswamy (his name was doing rounds when he died)
GSS (One day after Bhyrappa, hopefully)

But, I can already guess who will be the next few winners from Kannada, and it won’t be anyone in the above two lists !!!

Even if they award it to Bhyrappa, knowing him quite well, I doubt if he will accept it.

Sorry, I have to copy and paste this comment into my blog as a reply to Veena and Mouna’s comments 🙂

Im totally impressed!

Thanks Usha madam and Vidyaranya sir.
I have read Hasiru honnu in bits and pieces, not gor the chance to read whole of it at a shot. Will try that shortly.

I remember an incident when I think of Dr.DVG.
There was a visitor(a legendary literati, forgot the name) at the hospital where DVG was lying on his death-bed. This visitor was a staunch atheist. He says to DVG “See Sir! What your God has done to you. You are dying poor and suffering like in hell. Where did your God go now?”.
DVG replies back “When I see from here, I get to see the roses thru this window and its fragrnace shows him to me. You are seeing this suffering from the side of the room where u get the dirty odour from the bath room, Come here and cherish the beauty.” I read somewhere that this was on the last day of this great man.

It amazes to me when I think off a person who lived here could think in such a brilliant terms, write to enlighten the world, and to add to it, live life in the same lines!! My salutations to this great soul.. And also to all here who made me revisit these great people.

Mankuthimmana Kagga is also called “Kannadada Bhagavadgeethe”!! It requires no award to honour these saints. Their lives are not meant for it. An award in literature is not worth it, if DVG has not been conferred that!! Lets not worry much about these blunders by humans.

>>Will the ‘Jnanpeeth Award’ committee, open its >>eyes, consider DVG’s name for the award atleast >>this year is a million dollar question.By >>conferring him the award posthomously, the >>committee would be recognising a doyen of >>Kannada literary person whose achievement in >>the field is fit enough to conferr him a Nobel >>prize for literature.

Mankuthimmana kagga is way ahead of Jnanpeeth’s & nobel’s .. I wonder how Dr DVG could write such a marvellous book ( Its rightly called bagavath geeta )…not to forget maralu miniyana kagga is also very good ….the articles written by M K Vidyaranya & usha are simply superb !!

Namaste. Naanu BGL Swamy avara dodda fan. Avara ella Kannada pustakagalannu kalehaakuva prayatna maduttiddene. Neevu helida ‘Kanyasthree’ annuva baraha/pustaka yavudo tiliyalilla. Elli yavaga prakatavaagittu swalpa heluttera? Ondu copy kottarantu naanu nimage chiraRuni! 🙂

Anda haage Swamy avara ‘Shasanadalli Gidamaragalu’ mattu ‘Santana Rahasya’ bagge nimage enadru gotta?? Nanage tilida mattige eradu out-of-print anta ansatte.

Dayavaittu nimam uttaravannu email maadi: srimysore at gmail dot com

Ellarigu Namaskara, Nanu BGL swamy avara Abhimanigalalli obba..

Nanu PUC odovaga nange Jeevashasthra da pusthakadalli B.G.L Swamy avara eradu pata galu ethu. Nanage aga Biology nalli ashtondu interest eralilla. Hego PUC pass madi engineering pass madi kelasakku seri aythu..

Eega IT industry nalli kelasa madtha edeeni. IT industry andmele nimgella gothiro haage yavaglu kelasa, Tension, Pressure, Stress evella mamule..

Nange munche endanu pusthaka hechagi odo abyasa ede…adre ee industry seridmele ashtagi pusthaka odoke time sigthirlilla…

Ondu dina namma relatives mane nalli “Swami yaana” anno book sikthu..adunna thagondu odoke start madide..a pusthakadalli BGL avara bagge avara friends, Students, Coleagues thumba channagi mathe detaila agi bardidru..BGL avara personal life bagge, avara achievements bagge, Avara characters bagge nange thumba impress agoke start aythu..i read that book completely..agle nange gothagiddu BGL avaru thumba pusthaka barediddare antha..Immediately i went to book store and purchased “Amerikadalli Naanu” & “Doourghandikapaharana” books. Unfortunately i dint get “Hasiru Honnu” bok that time. I dont remember how many times i have read the those two books which i have..Bejaradaga haage a books odudre i feel very ralax..

I read a couple of comments above and the interesting incident at the hospital on his death bed. It goes to prove that he was such a self made man known for his great wisdom and commitment. I will be terribly unhappy if some people give him award posthumouly after so many years. Especially if there is a politician in the committee who may or may not know what he stood for during his active years.

The fact that ” Kagga” has lived for over 65 years in the people’s mid and will continue to remanin for many more years to come is in itself a great reward. This is the most quoted book in recent times. It is such a great companion to many like me. It is a great work by him for the mankind as a whole and Kannadigas in particular. It give so much solace and comfort when you are down and depressed. It enlivens you. We should encourage youths to read this book which is very inspiring and full of wisdom. The present day generation needs this much more than before. I wish people will wake up and make the best use of the contents of this book (mankutimmana kagga) to make our life more meaningful. The world will become a better place to live for everybody.

Out of the 945 verses in kagga I have been able to reproduce orally about 120 only after nearly 12 years of continuous effort. Indeed, this is a great companion these days for me and every poem unfolds a very different and far deeper meaning and opens a new window for thought ( even after reading several times). I am highly indebted to him and remember him almost every day. In every sense of the word, I worship him. I feel honoured to write a bit about a great man like DVG. I believe he is alive through his work, phylosophy, thought, simplicity, courage with conviction, knowledge, committment, action etc., I guess he will inspire millions of men and women in the years to come. May his soul find its righful place.

Good bye.

Excuse me for writing Off-Topic but which WP template do you use? It looks stunning!

It is really interseting to read the comments , of course DVG is a great Soul .

I Started reading Kagga of late & I have been listening to Swami Brahmananda’s commentary, ideas of how to go about our daily chores and stop complaining, how to see God … etc Sri DVG allowed me see things which I had been till now seeing in a more enjoyable and a meaningful way, reading a few verses will surely make anyone humble and bow in full reverence for his deep insights about life.No award can do justice to the magnum opus Kagga, only way to honour DVG would be to give awards in his name, those who feel that a great deal of injustice has been done to DVG should really read what he feels about awards which has been elucidated at the end in Venkataramanann’s ‘Kaggakondu Kaipidi’, where DVG vehemently opposes the whole idea of awards on the basis that it demoralises those who lost it, creates a sort of ill will and rift in the community, DVG also raises the issue of comparing books of different languages and of different topics and how anyone could compare their merits as each could be the best in it’s respective domain an example he cites – drama in Tamil and Philosophical essay in Telugu.To me all these show that he is like a ‘Karma Yogi’ not caring for results and performing his work selflessly.I feel it’s a privilege that we Kannadigas have to come across DVG and be able to read his works, but hardly many Kannadigas in recent times have laid their hands on his works.

The book Kaggakondu Kaipidi starts with a poem ‘Vanasuma’ ,the writing style not being the contemporary one is difficult to understand, hence I request anyone translate it to Hosa Kannada / English, I was able to understand only a few lines and felt it has a mine of wealth.
This blog and the follow up comments has kindled in me an urge to read ‘Hasiru Honnu’.

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