Mysuru: A two-day international seminar on "Transfer of Power in Princely South India" began at Rani Bahadur auditorium here on Friday. The event was held to mark the launch of the year-long centenary celebrations of the life and works of Prof. Achuta Rao, a former historian and professor at Mysore University’s History Department.
Achuta Rao was a very popular teacher, father, a nationalist and a bold historian. The Social and Administrative Book would not have found the light of day but for the eminent scholars at Mysore, Manipal and Bangalore who had worked over a year to bring to students, researchers and public the works of Prof. Achuta Rao. The early period of the Wadiyar rule has remained a lean period of Karnataka history. Achuta Rao explored the records hitherto unknown and he also evolved distinct methods to make meaning of them.
The event was also marked by the release of two books based on the life and works of Prof Achuta Rao. The two books released by Yaduveer Krishna Chamaraja Wadiyar and Trishikadevi Wadiyar were the "Social and Administrative History of Mysore" and "History of Mysore before 1800 CE." The second book is a collection of his research papers. These were published 50-75 years ago. Echanur Kumar greatly helped in locating them.
The launch of the books was followed by a specially commissioned Bharatanatyam tribute to the cultural legacy of Mysore, choreographed and presented by well-known Bharatanatyam exponent Lakshmi Gopalaswamy. The conference was also marked by an exhibition on the life and works of Prof. Achuta Rao, designed by his granddaughter Surabhi Gurukar. The launch of the centenary celebrations also saw the presence of fourteen eminent historians from universities in Oxford, Cambridge, Tokyo, New York, New Delhi, and Mysore.
Expressing his delight, D A Prasanna, son of Prof. Achuta Rao said, "History scholars now have access to the aspects of Wadiyar history Prof. Achuta Rao worked on. DSA History Series will bring scholarly publication on Indian heritage and culture to public."
Prof D S Achuta Rao was a professor of history in the post-graduate department, at the University of Mysore from 1960 to 1965 who unravelled the social and administrative history of Mysore. His scholarship focused primarily on the history of Early-Modern and Princely Mysore State, and culminated in his seminal work: Social and Administrative History of Mysore under the Wadiyars, 1600-1900.