ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Portrait of a Scholar–Teacher

Giraddi Govindaraj (1939–2018)

A tribute to Giraddi Govindaraj explores the interconnections between the profession of teaching and literary cultures.

Giraddi Govindaraj (1939–2018), scholar–teacher, creative and critical writer, passed away in Dharwad on 12 May. An episode in the history of Kannada letters has thus come to an end. The Kannada intelligentsia is mourning the demise of one of the leading exponents of the Navya movement, the modernist literary movement in Kannada. The tributes to Giraddi, either in the form of writing or in public speech, amply underscore his achievements as a writer and, more emphatically, as an astute critic and organiser of the Dharwad Sahitya Sambhrama. However, what is absent from these narratives is the picture of Giraddi as an unusual scholar–teacher.

My tribute to Giraddi, who taught me at Karnatak University, is also an attempt to understand the interface between the teaching profession and a writing career. Giraddi, whose writings are the result of his academic life, often used to tell us during occasional conversations that he, as a littérateur, owed much to his occupation as a teacher. Giraddi’s public life, like that of many of his contemporaries, is an illustration of what it means to be a teacher and a writer at the same time. This model, I think, is capable of offering some lessons to the newer generations in the teaching community about the interconnections between the profession of teaching and literary cultures.

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