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Mysore English Professor is no more

Veteran English Professor CDN is no more. He died of heart attack in his sleep at his daughter’s house in J.P.Nagar, Bangalore, in the early hours of April 10. He was 84.

Prof. C.D.Narasimhaiah, who became popular as Principal of the Maharaja’s College and for his book“ The Rediscovery of India” which brought him laurels and awards and after his retirement from the Maharaja’s College as Founder-Director of Dhvanyaloka literary centre, is survived by his son, Prof. C.N.Srinath and a daughter. His wife, Ramalakshamma, had predeceased him in July, 2002.

CDN, as he was popularly known, had left Mysore for Bangalore by car with his daughter on April 9 for renewing his passport to visit Sri Lanka on an invitation to deliver a lecture. His body was brought to Mysore and the last rites took place later in the day at Dhvanyaloka campus. A large number of students, teachers, admirers, and friends paid their last respects.

Born as a son of a small town shopkeeper, Closepet Dasappa Narasimhaiah, had learnt english from a village accountant, obtained
education at the University of Mysore, Cambridge and Princeton to become the doyen of English literature. He was a Professor of English at Maharaja's College from 1950 to 1979 and its Principal from 1957 to 1962.

CDN was a great admirer of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He had condensed the magnum opus of Nehru, “The Discovery of India” with the title “the Rediscovery of India” and it was a textbook for B.A. students in the Mysore University.

CDN was a Fullbright Visiting Professor at the Yale University during 1958-59 and Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 1963. He held the prestigious Rockefeller Fellowship at Princeton University, USA, for a term. After his retirement from the Maharaja’s College, he had founded the ‘Dhvanyaloka’ on Bogadi Road in 1979 as the Literary Criterion Centre for English and Indigenous Arts.

The other Fellowships held by CDN included: Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (1968); Leeds University, UK (1971-72); Texas University, USA (1972-73 and 1975-76); Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka (1979); Flinders University, Australia (1980).

He was a Resident Scholar, International Research Centre, Pellagio, Italy (1988). He was also Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters, Switzerland (1970); Fellow of Leonardo da Vina Centre, Rome; Fellow of Wisconsis University, USA (1971). He
was consultant to the East-West Centre, Hawaii (1974-75 and 1987).

He had delivered the following Endowment Lecturers: 1. Jawaharlal National Lectures and Gandhi Memorial National Lectures in various Universities. 2. Tagore Endowment Lectures at Annamalai and Gujarat Universities. 3. UGC National Lecture (1973-74). 4. Visiting Lecturer in South Asian countries, sponsored by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (1974-75). 5. Laxminarasappa Endowment Lecture, Sri Venkateswara University (1986). 6. K. Hanumanthaiah Endowment Lecture, Bangalore University (1987). 7. Kesari Balakrishna Endowment Lecture, Kerala University (1988). 8. Nag Memorial Lecture, Benares Hindu University (1990). 9. Prof. G.C. Banerjee Memorial Lecture, University of Bombay (1991). 10. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies' Silver Jubilee Lecture, Simla (1991). 11. D.C. Pavate Memorial Lecture, Karnatak University (1993). 12. Parikshit Memorial Lecture (in memory of Maharaja of Cochin), 1995. 13. Anne Besant Memorial Lecture, Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai (1995). 14. American Studies' Research Centre Founder's Day Lecture (1996) and 15. Fullbright Memorial Lecture (1999), US Education Foundation, Kolkata.

Prof. Narasimhaiah’s important books included 1. Jawaharlal Nehru: A Study of His Writings and Speeches (1960). 2. Writer's Gandhi (1968), 3. The Human Idioms (The art of Jawaharlal Nehru), 1969. 4. The Swan and the Eagle (1969). 5. Raja Rao: Novelist (1993). 6. Moving Frontiers of English Studies in India (1977). 7. The Function of Criticism in India (1987). 8. Indian Critical Scene: A Controversial Essay (1990). 9. 'N' for Nobody: Autobiography of an English Teacher (1991) and 10. Imagined Commonwealth (1995).

The University of Mysore (2001) and University of Bangalore (2003) had conferred honorary doctorate degrees on Prof. CDN. He was the recipient of Padma Bhushan (1990) and Karnataka Rajyotsava awards (1969).

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