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A man of many interests

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Continued from part 1

Bellave Venkatanaranappa (BeVem) was born in 1872 in Bellave of Tumakuru District. Completing early education, he came to Bengaluru and obtained B.A. in Physics from Central College in 1892. Principal John Cook, mentors like Bellave Somanathayya Nangapuram Venkatesha Iyengar, moulded his thinking process. Recognizing the innate talents of his young student, John Cook took BeVem as assistant teacher to handle classes in Physics. His sense of time, commitment to the work, innovative approach, and knowledge made him a successful lecturer and he was popularly known as ‘BeVem Meshtru’ (BeVem Sir). Stalwarts from different walks of life like B.M Srikantaih, Masti Vekatesha Iyengar, B. Puttaiah, Sir Mirza Ismail, Dr. S Subba Rao, D.K Bharadwaj and many others owe their success to their teacher, friend and philosopher BeVem Sir.

Though he taught Science and Mathematics, his interest and devotion to the regional language Kannada was immense. T.S Venkannaiah and A.R Krishna Shastry, two other luminaries of the college had started Karnataka Sangha in 1918. BeVem was made its first president. Under his stewardship, Karnataka Sangha opened its doors even to the general public to involve in promoting literary activities. A journal Prabuddha Karnataka was also started to provide a forum to the writing skills of the budding writers. Many of their books were also published. This trend of a college Kannada organization publishing books was carried forward by G.P. Rajaratnam, a household name of Kannada literature. Later, this practice crossed the border of Central College, and Chi. Srinivasa Raju published many remarkable works of young writers through his Christ College Kannada Sangha.

BeVem was warden of Central College Hostel and handled successfully the Alumni Association of the college. Yet, due to some unpleasant developments, he took voluntary retirement on February 15, 1923, four years earlier to completion of his regular service.

But it was a blessing in disguise for the city, as he involved himself in various other vocations which were beneficial to the city. He is remembered even today for laying a strong foundation for science literature in Kannada.

Dewan Sir. M. Visvesvaraya wanted the progress in science, technology and their application in industry to be made known to the general public in Kannada, as it would be easier for them to comprehend the changes that are taking place around them.

This initiative resulted in the formation of Karnataka Vijnana Pracharini Samiti in 1917, BeVem was the founder secretary and convener.

It was inaugurated by Sir. MV in a well attended function held at Doddanna Hall. near city market. A series of lectures were delivered on a few science topics by BeVem, N.Venkatesha Iyengar and Y.K Ramachandra.

Publishing articles and books on science including translations, to be useful to all age groups, organize lectures, demonstrations were some of the objectives of the Samiti.

BeVem along with Nangapuram Venkatesha Iyengar started a monthly journal called Vijnana in 1918. Perhaps that was first-of-its-kind in regional language to promote science and scientific attitude among the general public. In addition to writing a large number of articles, BeVem was taking personal care from editing the content to final publication, and even distribution of each issue.

A man of many interests

The topics in each issue were well-studied, presented in a lucid and reader-friendly language, with utmost clarity in printing of matter and illustrations. Though the magazine had won the laurels of many scholars and readers, due to poor subscriber base, the unique attempt came to an end after two years. He was sad, because the brain child of Sir MV to instill scientific temperament in general public withered away even before establishing its roots.

But BeVem’s attempt did not go waste. Slowly but steadily, science literature in Kannada did gain popularity and today it has progressed considerably well due to dedicated efforts of some scholars. Udaya Bhanu Kalasangha has brought out the compilation of all the 24 issues of BeVems Vijnana in two volumes helping the present generation to peep into the width and depth of knowledge of the writers one hundred years ago.

Jivana Vijnana is another great work of eighteen chapters on Science by BeVem brought out by Mysore University in 1935. Gunasagra, Kannada English Dictionary, Mysore University, were his other significant contributions.

BeVem’s role in nurturing Kannada Sahitya Parishat under different capacities is also remarkabale. Krishnaraja Parishanmandira, the original building of Kannada Sahitya Parishath, built in 1938 is an iconic structure of South Bengaluru. Perhaps every brick of this building reverberates the committed involvement of BeVem in the completion of the project.

Basavanagudi, formed around 1896, was a prominent part of the city with great potential to expand. The people here were well educated, noble, and held good posts. A locality that housed the elite didn’t have a common meeting area and that shortcoming caught BeVem’s attention. He decided to start one such centre. A few friends joined hands with him in his endeavour. Started in 1908, Basavanagudi Union and Service Club at Gandhi Bazar today, is one of the oldest recreation clubs in the city.

A man of many interests

He was instrumental in building the market in Basavanagudi. He played a major role in the functioning of several co-operative societies. charitable organizations, citizen groups, civic bodies and committees in the university. He was also the member of the board formed to settle Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

He was also a very good cook. DVG has written copiously about his culinary skills.

Recognizing his multifaceted talents, and yeoman service he had rendered to the society, the Maharaja of Mysore honoured him with the title Raja Sevasakta during Dasara celebrations of 1940.

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A man of many interests

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