A 1,144-page dictionary on folklore has been released

A long-cherished dream of folklorist and litterateur Go. Ru. Channabasappa to bring out a Kannada Janapada Nighantu (Kannada folklore dictionary) has finally been realised.

From the day he assumed charge as chairman of the Karnataka Janapada Academy (KJA), Mr. Channabasappa directed his efforts towards bringing out the dictionary, and accomplished, with his team, what he described as “mission impossible”.

A team of 20 folklore experts and linguists, including G. Venkatasubbaiah, M.M. Kalburgi, H.J. Lakkappa Gowda, N. Basavaradhya, D. Lingaiah and C. Veeranna, relentlessly worked on the project, supported by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), for nearly one-and-a-half years.

The result is the 1,144-page dictionary in three volumes.

Ambalike Hiriyanna, Vice-Chancellor of the Karnataka Folklore University, said KJA's “unique” initiative to develop a folklore dictionary was the first of its kind in the country.

There were various dictionaries on Kannada, but their focus was on refined literary words, although folklore was the basis for those words, he said.

Mr. Channabasappa sent a proposal on preparing the dictionary to the KDA in June 2010. KDA chairperson Mukhyamantri Chandru released Rs. 70 lakh for the project. “Of this, we have returned Rs. 28 lakh,” Mr. Channabasappa said. Over 430 reference books were consulted, and as many as 14 field editors and 34 field assistants visited every corner of the State. They collected over two lakh words from folklore and finally, the editorial team narrowed it down to around 50,000 words, which they defined.


Describing the dictionary as an invaluable contribution to the cultural spectrum of Karnataka, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who released the dictionary recently, said the endeavour would go a long way in preserving the culture of the land.

The dictionary would reach people through all libraries in the State, Mr. Gowda said and added that the project would be transferred to the Karnataka Janapada University for further revision and re-editing in the future.