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Aerospace scientist and fluid dynamicist
Translator & academic
Convener, DSA History Endowment
Director, Manasa Centre for Cultural Studies, Shivamogga
Regional Director, Southern Regional Centre of the ICHR

Date & Time

Tuesday Tue, 10 Mar 2020


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

In conjunction with the release of Dr. S Settar’s book Early Buddhist Artisans and their Architectural Vocabulary, this programme celebrates his extraordinary scholarly contribution in the fields of Indian archaeology, art history, history of religions and philosophy, and classical literature during the last four decades


Dr. Shadakshari Settar – Professor and Scholar

Prof. Roddam Narasimha and Prof. Vanamala Viswanatha

Dr. Settar and his Teacher Prof. D S Achutarao

D A Prasanna

Book release by Prof. Roddam Narasimha

Dr. Settar’s Work on Early Buddhist Artisans

Prof. Rajendra Chenni, Dr. S K Aruni and Dr. H S Gopala Rao



Roddam Narasimha

Aerospace scientist and fluid dynamicist

Prof. Roddam Narasimha was educated at Mysore University and at the Indian Institute of Science, and obtained his PhD at Caltech. In 1962, he joined IISc as faculty at the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, built up an active fluid mechanics group, and founded the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. In 1984, he took over as Director, National Aerospace Laboratories. After retirement in 1993, he has continued his research pursuits at IISc and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research where he is currently Honorary Professor. He will shortly begin his term as the National Science Chair Professor for the Science and Engineering Research Board, DST.

From 1997 to 2004, he headed the National Institute of Advanced Studies, where he started a series of lectures on the History of Ideas, several of them published in Dialogues Across Disciplines (2012, with Dilip Ahuja, eds.) Other publications include Nature and Culture (2011, with S Menon eds. PHISPC, New Delhi); Encyclopedia of Classical Indian Science (2007, with Helaine Selin, Universities Press, Hyderabad); and Verses for the Brave (2005, Selections from the Yoga-Vaasishtha with English translations, NIAS). 

He has been a visiting professor at Caltech several times; and was Nehru Professor at Cambridge during 1989-90. He has served on several national policy-making bodies over the years, including the Space Commission and the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. He has been honoured with several awards for his scientific work here and abroad: he has been elected to the Royal Society, London, and the US National Academies of Science and Engineering; and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2013.

Vanamala Viswanatha

Translator & academic

A translator and academic, Prof. Vanamala Viswanatha has taught English language and literature over the past four decades at several premier institutions in Bengaluru, including Indian Institute of Science, Regional Institute of English, Bangalore University and Azim Premji University. She has served as Honorary Director, Centre for Translation, Sahitya Akademi, as a member of the Advisory Council, National Translation Mission, and as Director of the Katha Translation for Equity Network. Her deep engagement with Kannada culture is evident from her extensive work with radio, television and print journalism.

An award-winning translator, she works with Kannada and English. She has translated into English Sara Aboobacker’s Kannada novel Breaking Ties (Macmillan India, 2001) and an anthology of short stories by P Lankesh When Stone Melts (Sahitya Akademi, 2004). She has co-edited Routes: Representations of the West in Short Fiction from South India (Macmillan India, 2000) and translated J Krishnamurti’s writing into Kannada. She co-translated, with Hans Sjostrom, U R Ananthmurthy’s Samskara into Swedish (Samskara – rit for en dod man, Ordfront Forlag, 2001) and Torgny Lindgren’s Swedish novel The Way of the Serpent into Kannada (Havina Donku, Sahitya Akademi, 2002). Her translations of the vacanas of Akka Mahadevi and other women saint poets, and some select poems of Kannada Dalit poets have been published over the last ten years. 

Her translation of The Life of Harishchandra (Harvard University Press, 2017), the first ever translation of an entire medieval Kannada classic, in the Murty Classical Library of India Series, is considered a landmark publication. She recently translated, in collaboration with Padikkal, Gulavadi Venkata Rao’s Indira Bai, the first social novel in Kannada (Oxford University Press, 2019). 

D A Prasanna

Convener, DSA History Endowment

D A Prasanna is the Convener of the DSA History Endowment established to perpetuate the academic and research values that historian Prof. D S Achuta Rao stood for. He has organized international history seminars, authored or edited four history books and manages DSA History Channel on YouTube.

He has served in an executive capacity as CEO, MD, and Chairman in Wipro, GE and Manipal Group. His entrepreneurial foray was in pharmaceutical services. He built India’s leading clinical research organization, which brought new drugs to the market in stem cells, medical devices, biologics and generics.

He serves on the Boards of InnAccel (a med-tech accelerator), Nikisa Healthcare (dementia care), RayIoT (e-baby care), Doctor C (e-diagnostics), Govin Capital PTE and Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers. He has served as Chairman of the Government of Karnataka Vision Group on ‘Compete with China’ in Electronics. 

He has an interest in public health, education and art. His interest in public health led to setting up the Prasanna School of Public Health in Manipal and a dementia village in Bangalore. He has served as Chancellor of NIE University. 

He is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad. He is married to Rajani, an art historian, and they established the Hebbar Gallery and Art Center in Manipal.

Rajendra Chenni

Director, Manasa Centre for Cultural Studies, Shivamogga

Literary and cultural critic, Rajendra Chenni was Professor of English at Kuvempu University, Shivamogga, and is presently Director, Manasa Centre for Cultural Studies, Shivamogga. He writes in Kannada and English. He has authored 12 books in Kannada and four in English. He has received several honours including the Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Lifetime Achievement Award (2012), Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Award (1987 & 2003), V M Inamdar Award (2019), D S Max Sahitya Sri Award (2016) GSS Award (2009), BA Sridhara Award (2012) and Vardamana Udayonmukha Award (1992). He was part of the prestigious delegation which discussed the repercussions of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Israel in 2012. 

He has actively participated in several people’s movements in Karnataka to protect the Baba Budan Giri shrine, against mining at Kudremukha, and for saving the Tunga River. Presently, he is convenor of Dakshinayana Karnataka, a collective of writers and artists against fascism. 

His abiding interest has been in classroom teaching and research, and he has kept himself involved in classroom activities by engaging with students and researchers across the country.

Shivasharanappa K. Aruni

Regional Director, Southern Regional Centre of the ICHR

Dr. Shivasharanappa K. Aruni is Regional Director of the Southern Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi. Dr. Aruni got his Master’s Degree in History and Archaeology from Karnatak University, Dharwad (1989). Later, he joined Deccan College, PG Research Institute for his Doctoral Research. The topic of his research was the ‘History and Culture of Surapura Samsthana, 1650-1857, North Karnataka’. Prof. K. Paddayya of Deccan College was his research supervisor.

Dr. S K Aruni has 20 years of service in research and administration in the ICHR. He has headed the Southern Regional Centre of ICHR of Bangalore since 1998. He also served as Officiating Member Secretary of ICHR from 2015 to 2017. He has attended several national and international conferences and seminars. His areas of research specialization include: architectural history, archaeology, and urban history of the medieval South.

Dr. S K Aruni has published several articles and ten books, including Surapura Samsthana: Historical and Archaeological Study of a Poligar State in South India (Bharatiya Kala Prakashana, Delhi, 2004); and in Kannada Dakhani Citrakale (A Survey of Deccan Painting, Karnataka Lalitha Kala Academy, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore, 2001); Yelahanka Nada Prabhugala Vastu Shilpa Shilpakale (Architecture and Sculptural Art of Yelahanka Nada Prabhus, Bangalore University, 2007); and Bengaluru Parampare Itihasa Samshodhaneya Hosa Notagalu (Heritage of Bangalore: New Views from Historical Research, Itihasa Darpana Prakashana, Bengaluru, 2019).


H S Gopala Rao


Dr. H S Gopala Rao is from Nelamangala taluk and received his Diploma in Electrical Engineering in 1966. He conducted coaching classes for S.S.L.C. and P.U.C. students and owned a printing press in Nelamangala (1969-1975). He then served K.P.T.C.L. (K.E.B) for 28 years in different capacities and retired in 2004. 

While working as an engineer, he was drawn to Kannada literature and the study of Kannada epigraphy and history, and received his MA in Kannada (1984) and PhD (1991) from Mysore University with gold medals. He was also a novelist and short story writer, and wrote features in his late twenties and early thirties. Jenu-Nanju, Parigrahana, Bhinna and Gati are his novels, and three of them were published as serials.

His introduction to epigraphy transformed him as a historian. Being guided ably by M Chidananda Murthy and B R Gopal, he studied the cultural history of Karnataka. His PhD thesis titled Shasanagala Hinneleyalli Kalyana Chalukya Devalayagalu (A Cultural Study of Kalyana Chalukya Temples Based on Inscriptions) and his other work Karnataka Ekikarana Itihasa (History of the Unification of Karnataka) named him a historian. The latter is a richly documented book, written in collaboration with many Kannada activists and scholars and based on years spent personally interviewing leaders of the Kannada unification movement. Re-published in eight editions so far, the monumental work is a testimony to Dr. Rao’s deep scholarship and passionate commitment to Kannada.

He served the Karnataka Itihasa Academy for twenty years as a General Secretary, under the Presidentship of Dr. Suryanatha U Kamath, and taught epigraphy at Kannada Sahitya Parishat for sixteen years. He was honoured as the President of the Nelamangala taluk Kannada Sahitya Sammelana and General President of the 25th Annual Sammelana of the Itihasa Academy. Among the many honours he has received from different institutions is the Best Book (History) Award for Karnataka Ekikarana Itihasa in 1998 from the Karnataka Sahitya Academy. 

He has more than forty publications to his credit which include the 25th volume of Epigraphia Carnatika (Revised), comprising the six taluks of Tumkur district, and popular titles like Namma Nadu Karnataka and Samagra Karnataka Darshana. His forthcoming publications are a transcription and translation of Prof. S Srikantha Sastry’s Sources of Karnataka History Vol. I and a monograph on Manne: A Royal Residence of the Gangas. He is planning to write a historical novel and a comprehensive history of Karnataka using archaeological and epigraphical sources.