You will rarely spot a vathara – a cluster of houses with a common courtyard – in the Bengaluru of today that is awash with apartments unless you are in Chamarajpete. The vatharas here have over time undergone a transformation, with one-storey tiled roof houses making way for match-box like buildings, but the central courtyards are still intact. This ability to change but not beyond recognition is, arguably, the quintessential quality of Chamarajpete, the earliest planned locality of the city which completes 125 years. Despite being the oldest locality in Bengaluru, the neighbour-hood still carries a sense of being a planned layout, a vision that has lasted over a century. Chamarajpet, built in 1892, derived its name from the then Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar and was originally named Chamarajendra Pete; later shortened to Chamarajapete. The area at one point in time was home to many luminaries, including Subodha Ramaravary. T.P.Kailasam, Honappa Bhagavatar, V.Seetharamaiah, M.R.Srinivasamurthy and Karpoora Srinivasarayaru. The great engineer and Dewan of Mysore, Sir.M.Vishveshvaraiah also lived there for a while. This constitutency has 7 wards and one of the iconic landmark of this Constituency is the Kannada Saahithya Parishath.
Kannada Saahithya Parishath (Kannada Literary Council)
Is am Indian non-profit organisation that promotes the Kannada language. Its headquarters is in the city of Bengaluru. It strives to promote Kannada language through publishing books, organizing literary seminars and promoting research projects. It also organizes an annual conference on Kannada literature called Kannada Sahithya Sammelana (Kannada Literary Meet).
Linguistically, Kannadigas were scattered under the different rulers of Mysore, Bombay, Hyderabad and Kodagu during the British Raj. Hence the Kannada language was deeply influenced by other languages and there was no standard communicable Kannada language for all Kannadigas except dialects. A lot of disparity was found in the pronunciation of Kannada. To bring a standard communicable Kannada language for the people and the government, Karnataka’s autonomous cultural body, Karnataka Sahitya Parishat was established on May 5th 1915. Later it was changed to Kannada Sahitya Parishat.
The then Dewan of Mysore State Sir. M. Visveswaraya and the Maharaja of Mysore State, Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the State officials and scholars were instrumental in establishing this literary body to reform the Kannada language and to encourage writers to bring out more works in the language.
From May 29th 1933, the Parishat was housed in its own building opposite the Akhila Karnataka Makkala Koota in Chamrajpet. The then Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail took keen interest in establishing the present Parishat building. The Parishat has a meeting hall, Sri Krishnaraja Parishat Mandira, in addition to the office building and the publishing department. It was built at a cost of about Rs 30,000. The majority of the cost of the building was borne by Mysore State and the rest came from private donations.
Since its inception, the Parishat has come a long way in the service of the Kannada language. Till now, the Parishat has held 68 state level conventions on Kannada literature. The Parishat has a full-fledged library, a section exclusively for Kannada research scholars. There is a museum where ancient historical exhibits like Panchaloha idols, coins, instruments used by folk singers, all donated by one Suryanarayana Chadaga, a philanthrophist, are displayed. Eminent scholars of the Kannada language like Dr Masthi Venkatesh Iyengar, Thirumale Thatacharya, Prof. A.N. Murthy Rao, Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah, G. Narayana, Dr Hampa Nagarajaiah, Prof. G.S. Siddalingaiah and others have served as Presidents of the Parishat. The first President of the Parishat was H.V. Nanjundaiah. Even the Maharajas of Mysore – Narasimharaja Wodeyar, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar have served as honorary presidents.
During its existence, the Parishat has contributed to the growth of Kannada language by organizing conferences and debates, publication and release of books, organizing talks by eminent writers and also by holding the annual Kannada Sahitya Sammelana..
When you are in and around Chamarajpete make it a point to visit this place as you might come across rare books.