From our Archives

Prof S. Settar

11 December 1935 - 28 February 2020

Prof S. Settar joined the NIAS fraternity on 5th August 2002. With PhD (Karnatak, India), PhD (Cambridge, England), his most significant research contributions include efforts to bridge the widening gap between linguistic and regional differences of community and cultures. Works under his personal authorship comprise four volumes on history of art, two on religion and philosophy, one on human civilisation and four on historiography. He was Professor of History and Archaeology (1970-96), Director of the Institute of Indian Art History (1978-96) at Karnatak University, Dharwad and Chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, (1996-1999).


Prof Settar’s research was in the Humanities, spanning the fields of Indian archaeology, art-history, the history of religions and philosophy as well as classical literature. He was a prolific bi- lingual author, with a number of books in Kannada and English to his name, contributing seminal work in each of his areas of research. His books on Philosophy of Death are the only works to be found on the subject. While at NIAS, he began focusing on Kannada classics, the history of the language and script, which were not well represented in research writings. He has recovered writings in Kannada published circa 1880 and has created a dictionary to make these ancient scripts and language intelligible to a modern audience. His first book in Kannada - Sangam Tamilagam Mattu Kannada Nadu Nudi is a seminal contribution to understanding the relationship between ancient Tamil and Kannada cultures. More recently his book Prakruta Jagadvalaya is a monumental contribution to the understanding of role of Prakrit language as a unifying written language before Sanskrit assumed that role.


Prof Settar was elected as the First General President of the All India Ancient Kannada Literature Conference held during 24-26 June 2018 at Sravana Belgola, Hassan Dt., Karnataka. He was honoured with Kavichakravarti Ponna Award by the Government of Karnataka in recognition of his contributions to the Kannada Classical Studies, 25 February 2018.

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