Image and Text contributed by Arati Rao, Mumbai
According to N. Sivarama Sastry, “Prof. Hiriyanna lived a perfectly ordered and disciplined life. He often reminded me of Kant and the Philosopher’s Walk. He was simple to the verge of austerity. He dressed simply and everything about him was scrupulously neat and clean, he was correct and punctual, he promptly answered communications, kept all his engagements, and never made a promise which he could not fulfill. He was fastidious to a degree and a perfect artist in everything he did – from mending a pencil to writing a work. Though he did not spare himself, he was tolerant of those who could not come up to his exacting standards. He was in fact noted for his kindness and consideration and unfailing courtesy. He never denied help to any student or scholar. He was equally well known for his honesty and uprightness. He was exceedingly modest and his learning did not sit heavily on him. And beneath his modesty and humility he was keenly sensitive.”
Hiriyanna, by all accounts, was a philosopher par excellence. A glowing tribute to him by President S. Radhakrishnan left no room for doubt as to his regard in those circles. “When Plato said that philosophers should be Kings, he did not mean that the main task of philosophy was to make laws and solve political problems. For him the philosophical temper of mind, the exalted, calm, noble, dispassionate attitude unmoved by motives of personal gain, ambition or power is the only temper of mind which can solve these problems.
In these days of increasing specialization and party strife, when we are unable to see the wood for the trees, when the effort of genuine thinking has yielded to the acceptance of slogans, the need for philosophic reflection on life’s problems is most urgent. … It is this spirit of philosophy that Hiriyanna illustrates in his reflection and life.”
My aunt, Malathi Jaya Rao grew up around him and says – “He always emphasized physical courage; an unbending spirit; self esteem without pride; not taking things that are not ours, and created in us an enduring value: what a man is, far outweighs his wealth or intellectual attainments. An immaculately dresser, in a spotless white dhoti, cream colored close collared coat, a laceless turban, an uttariyam and pump shoes, he used to get up very early, collect flowers from the garden, have a bath and then do puja (worship the gods). He was very particular that the family joined him for the Mahamangalarathi at 6 a.m.”
It seems he would sharpen pencils exactly the same amount and use them until they wore down up to a pre-determined length. Short worn pencils were then passed on to the kids in the family. He has left us a priceless legacy in his writings on Indian philosophy – many of which are now textbooks and staples.
Some of the family still lives in the house Hiriyanna built – 962, and the descendants visit several times a year. We are now scattered across the world, seven generations and several nationalities incorporated into the gene pool. The house ‘962’ he built has not changed since 1910. Its hundred year-old stones are the ones that know him well and when I run my hand along the walls or sit on the cool red oxide floors, or enter “his room,” and read his wisdom in his own beautiful hand, I stand a little taller knowing there is a bit of this great man, somewhere in me.
Jul 04, 2011 | Categories: 1920s, Education, Friendships, Future icons from the Past, House of their dreams, Indian Politics, Karnataka, Landmarks, Mysore, Philosopher, Pre-Independence, Sanskrit, Teacher, University of Mysore | Tags: 1920s, 1962, 962, Arati Rao, Bargehalli, Education, Friendships, Future icons from the Past, House of their dreams, Indian Politics, Karnataka, Landmarks, Mahamangalarathi, Mysore, Mysore University, N. Sivarama Sastry, Philosopher, Pre Independence, President of India, Prof. M Hirayana, Prof. M Hiriyanna, Professor, S Radhakrishnan, Sanskrit, Teacher, University of Mysore, Uttariya, Village | 4 Comments »
Image and text contribution by Lt Col (Retd) Dr. G.Kameswararao, Secundarabad
This photograph is a wedding group photo of my father’s elder brother, Gadepally Suryaprakasam (also known as Surya Prakasarao). It was photographed at Kakinada, then known as Coconada, in the East Godavari District of Madras Presidency. He served the Nizam government in the Education Department. My grandmother, my father’s siblings, his paternal, maternal uncles and their children are a part of this group. The famous Telugu poet, Devulapalli Krishna Sastry is seated last on the right (on the chair). He was married to the daughter of my father’s paternal uncle. My paternal grandfather, Gadepally Venkata Sastry was in the service of Pithapuram Raja. He was a Sanskrit Scholar and a Trustee of the famous Sri Kukkuteswara Swami temple in Pithapuram, in which lies an incarnation of the lord Shiva, in form of a Kukkutam, a ‘Cock fowl’. He wrote in Sanskrit a Stotram , in praise of Kukkutam, which my mother got published in 1990. My grandfather passed away by the time this photo was taken and my grandmother is seen herein (middle, standing) as a widow, wearing the traditional white dress covering her hairless head.
– The Contributor is a financial patron of Indian Memory Project
May 19, 2010 | Categories: 1910s, Andhra Pradesh, Cock Fowl, Education, Gods, Government Jobs, Hair Styles, Head Gear, Hyderabad, Indian Clothes, Indian Clothes, Marital Status, Men, Men's Clothes, Nizam of Hyderabad, Poet, Pre-1947 Indian Regions & States, Pre-Independence, Publications, Sanskrit, Sarees, Scholar, Self Published, Shiva, Telugu, Temple, Weddings, Widow, Women, Women's Clothes | Tags: 1910s, Andhra Pradesh, Cock Fowl, Coconada, Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, Dewan, Education, Gadepally, Godavari District, Gods, Government Jobs, Group Photo, Hair Styles, Head Gear, Hyderabad, Incarnation, Indian Clothes, Kakinada, Lord Shiva, Madras Presidency, Marital Status, Men's Clothes, Nizam of Hyderabad, Pithapuram Raja, Poet, Pre Independence, Pre-1947 Indian Regions & States, Publications, Sanskrit, Sarees, Scholar, Self Publication. Self Published, Shiva, Sri Kukkuteswara Swami, Tahsildar, Telugu, Temple, Vizianagaram Sansthanam, Wedding, Weddings, Widow, Women's Clothes | 1 Comment »
Image and text Contributed by Ashok Bhandarkar, Mumbai
In this photograph, my grandfather, the Director of Education was on an inspection tour of a school in Tarana (Indore State) on February 6, 1926 with group of boy scouts (probably the entire population of the school!)
‘Ajoba’ as we called him, was a PhD in Sanskrit and Philosophy from Germany and also a staunch Brahmo Samaji.
Apr 10, 2010 | Categories: 1920s, Brahmo Samaj, Germany, Government Jobs, Head Gear, Indian Clothes, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Men, Men's Clothes, Ph.d., Philosopher, Pre-1947 Indian Regions & States, Pre-Independence, Sanskrit | Tags: 1920s, Boy Scouts, Brahmo Samaj, Education, Family Portrait, Germany, Government Jobs, Head Gear, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Men in Uniform, Ph.D., PhD, Philosopher, Pre Independence, Pre-1947 Indian Regions & States, Sanskrit, Schools, Sukhtankar, Turban | 1 Comment »