The chair will initiate research activities

The State government has released Rs. 1 crore to Mangalore University to set up a study chair after 16th century Jain poet Ratnakaravarni.

This was consequent to an announcement made in the State budget for 2013-14, sources in the university told The Hindu. The university, which appointed a teacher from Kannada department as the co-ordinator of the chair, is in the process of drafting a statute for establishing the chair, sources said. The main objective of establishing the chair was to study the contributions of the celebrated Kannada poet to literature and initiate research activities.

It is said that the poet was born and brought up in Moodbidri. According to a Kannada professor, the poet mentioned that he wrote ‘Trilokashataka’ in 1557 at Venupura (Moodbidri was earlier called Venupura, a town of bamboos) of ‘Taulavangadol’ (in Tulu Nadu). ‘Bharatesha Vaibhava,’ said to have been authored in 1567, is considered as the masterpiece of Ratnakaravarni. It is said Devachandra, a writer who lived between 1770 and 1841, has recorded the life of Ratnakaravarni in his work ‘Rajavali’.

Bharatesha Vaibhava, published by Kannada Sahitya Parishat, says the poet could have been born in 1532 in Moodbidri, which has now only an area named after the poet as Ratnakaravarni Nagara. His other prominent works include ‘Ratnakarashataka’ (in 1577), ‘Aparajithashataka’ (1582) and ‘Adhyatmageetha’ (1587).

While the works of Ratnakaravarni drew the attention of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, the Centre of Jain Studies at SOAS organised a special lecture on his works at Brunei gallery in London on March 17, 2011.

When D.V. Sadananda Gowda was the Chief Minister, he had announced that Rs. 1 crore would be granted to set up a Jain Vidya Peetha (a chair on Jain studies). So far, the government has not released the said amount though the university has drafted a statute relating to the establishment of the chair. This statute approved by the university is placed before the government awaiting its approval, sources added.

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