Ganjam Venkatasubbiah
Born(1913-08-23)23 August 1913
Ganjam, Srirangapatna[1]
Died19 April 2021(2021-04-19) (aged 107)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
OccupationWriter, researcher, teacher
Period20th century
SubjectLexicography, Kannada Grammar, Editorship
Notable awardsPadma Shri
Sahitya Akademi Award
Pampa Award
G. Venkatasubbiah

Ganjam Venkatasubbiah[2] (23 August 1913 – 19 April 2021), also known as G. V., was a Kannada writer, grammarian, editor, lexicographer, and critic who compiled over eight dictionaries, authored four seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada, edited over sixty books, and published several papers. Recipient of the Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award and the Pampa Award, Venkatasubbiah's contribution to the world of Kannada Lexicography is vast. His work Igo Kannada is a socio-linguistic dictionary which encompasses an eclectic mix of Kannada phrases, usages, idioms, and serves as a reference for linguists and sociologists alike.

Venkatasubbiah is best known for his work on Kannada dictionary science titled Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya.[3] This came out exactly one hundred years after a Kannada-English dictionary was authored by the German priest and Indologist Reverend Ferdinand Kittel in 1894. This work became an addition to a tradition of dictionary writing in Kannada known for at least thousand years starting with first available Rannakanda.[4][5]

Early life and education

B. A. Honours II Year Maharaja College Group Photo showing B. M. Srikantaiah, S. Srikanta Sastri and G. Venkatasubbiah

Venkatasubbiah was born on 23 August 1913.[6] His father Ganjam Thimmanniah was a renowned Kannada and Sanskrit scholar. He was instrumental in inspiring in Venkatasubbiah a love for old Kannada. His primary schooling was spread out across the towns of Bannur and Madhugiri in the south Indian state of Karnataka. The second child in a family of eight, Venkatasubbiah had to follow his father from town to town as he frequently kept getting transferred in his Government job. By the early 1930s, Venkatasubbiah's family relocated to city of Mysore where he joined Yuvaraja college for his intermediate course where he came under the influence of K. V. Puttappa (Kuvempu). Venkatasubbiah then joined the Maharaja College at Mysore to pursue his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree. His chosen subjects included Ancient History, Sanskrit and old Kannada among others. Here he came under the tutelage of T. S. Venkannayya who taught Pampa Bharata, D. L. Narasimhachar who taught Editorial Science, T. N. Srikantaiah who taught Kavyamimamse and S. Srikanta Sastri who taught Karnataka History.[7] Venkatasubbiah completed his M. A. between 1936–38 and was recipient of the University Gold Medal.


Venkatasubbiah taught English at Municipal High School, Mandya and Bangalore High School, Bangalore before joining Vijaya College as faculty in the Kannada department. During these years, Venkatasubbiah inspired his friend and colleague Ramachandra Sharma to publish his collection of Kannada poetry in a book form. This was brought out under the title of Hrudayageethe with a preface by Gopalakrishna Adiga and S. R. Ekkundi. At Vijaya College, he is remembered for starting the student magazine Utsaha. He served at that college as a Lecturer, Professor and Principal before retiring. He was actively involved in the Mysore University Academic Council and Private College Teachers' Association during these years.

Literary contributions

Venkatasubbiah has compiled more than 10 dictionaries, including an eight-volume Kannada-Kannada Nighantu (Dictionary). This dictionary has also been translated to the Braille language by the Braille Transcription Centre of the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society.[8] He has been writing the column, Igo Kannada for over a decade in the Kannada daily Prajavani. The articles published in Igo Kannada[9] have been compiled into a book in four volumes.[10] It is a social dictionary which encompasses an eclectic mix of Kannada phrases, usages, idioms and phrases. He has also authored a dictionary entitled Klishtapada Kosha (a dictionary of complex Kannada words) which was released to mark the Suvarna Karnataka (Silver Jubilee of the formation of Karnataka).[11] It is the first of its kind in Kannada language which covers different language specifications such as derivation, punctuation, phoneme and morphological patterns of Kannada language as the language has evolved over the centuries.[11]

Venkatasubbaiah is remembered for his work on Kannada dictionary science titled Kannada Nighantu Shastra Parichaya which came out exactly one hundred years after the first Kannada dictionary was authored by the German priest and Indologist Reverend Ferdinand Kittel in 1894.[3][12] Between 1964 - 1969, while at the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (Kannada Literary Centre), he had the distinction of being its youngest president. As President, he was instrumental in increasing the society's financial grants from the Government. He was chief editor of the 'Kannada - Kannada Dictionary' project. He was involved in Kannada Encyclopaedia Project, Sahitya Sammelana (Literary Fest) at Karwar and Shravanabelagola and as the Editor of Kannada Sahitya Parishat's monthly magazine Kannada Nudi. He has served as the vice-president of the Lexicographical Association of India for 17 years.[10] In 1998, he was appointed an advisor to the multilingual dictionary project of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai, which comprises Japanese, Kannada, English and Tamil.[10] He was also appointed a consultative committee member in the Telugu lexicon project initiated by the Telugu Academy of the Government of Andhra Pradesh. He was the First President of Bidar District 1st Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Kannada Literary Festival) held in the year 1974. He was honoured with the Presidency of 77th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (All India Kannada Literary Meet) held at Bangalore on 2011.


Literary criticism and history of Kannada literature

Editorial work


Children's books

Late life and recognition

Numerous felicitation volumes have been brought forth in honour of Venkatasubbiah's contribution to the world of Kannada literature and lexicography. In addition to these, various awards have been bestowed upon him. On his 60th birthday, a felicitation volume titled Sahityajeevi was presented to him. Similarly, in his ninetieth year, Shabdasagara was brought forth. In 2011, he was presented with a felicitation volume Vidvajeevita which was a collection of articles authored by writers from South Canara region of Karnataka and edited by Dr. Padekallu Vishnubhatta. To mark his centenary, another felicitation volume titled Shatanamana was presented to him at a gala function at Bangalore. Venkatasubbiah at the age of 102 years was the presiding guest of honour at the book launch of Srikanthayana Archived 12 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine - collection of writings in English on subjects related to History, Indology and Archaeology by his teacher S. Srikanta Sastri in 2016.

List of awards

G. Venkatasubbiah being felicitated by L. K. Advani at Bangalore - 2012


Prof. G Venkatasubbaiah passed away on 19 April 2021 in Bangalore.[35] He was 107.[36]



  1. ^ "Karnataka: Centenarian lexicographer G Venkatasubbaiah dead". The Times of India. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Venkatasubbaiah deserves Jnanpith: Haranahalli". The Hindu. 20 January 2003. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b Arun, G. V. (2013). ಕನ್ನಡದ ಅರ್ಥವನ್ನು ತಿಳಿಸಿದ ನಾಡೋಜ ಪ್ರೊ. ಜಿ. ವೆಂಕಟಸುಬ್ಬಯ್ಯ (First ed.). Bangalore: Jwalamukhi Mudranalaya. pp. 1–64.
  4. ^ Sastri 2002, p. 356.
  5. ^ Mukherjee 1999, p. 324.
  6. ^ "Venkatasubbaiah deserves Jnanpith: Haranahalli". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 20 January 2003. Archived from the original on 28 January 2005. Retrieved 26 October 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Sastri, S. Srikanta. "G. Venkatasubbaiah – Dr S. Srikanta Sastri | Official Website". Website Administrator. Retrieved 19 July 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Braille version of dictionary". Online Edition of The Deccan Herald, dated 30 March 2007. Archived from the original on 26 July 2023. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  9. ^ a b Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1996). Igō Kannaḍa: sāmājika nighaṇṭu. Navakarnāṭaka Prakāśana. OCLC 37480829.
  10. ^ a b c d K. N. Venkatasubba Rao (25 February 2004). "Portraying the life of a lexicographer". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 25 June 2004. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  11. ^ a b K. N. Venkatasubba Rao (2 May 2007). "Expert for permanent lexicography section". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  12. ^ Venkatasubbaiah, G (2013). ಪುರಾಣ ಕಥಾವಳಿಯ ಪ೦ಡಿತ ಜಿ. ತಿಮ್ಮಣ್ಣಯ್ಯನವರು (First ed.). Bangalore: Hoysalamale Sampadaka Mandali. pp. 1–56.
  13. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G; Basavarādhya, N (1 January 1970). Kannaḍa Sāhitya Pariṣattina Kannaḍa nighaṇṭu. Kannaḍa Sāhitya Pariṣattu. OCLC 81625579.
  14. ^ Narasiṃhācār, Ḍ. L.; Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1971). Kannaḍa Sāhitya Paris attina Kannaḍa nighaṇṭu /[Di. El. Narasiṃhāchār ... et al.] (in Kannada). Kannaḍa sāhitya Pariṣattu. OCLC 22950996.
  15. ^ Venkatasubbaiah, G (1 January 1966). Nayasēna (in Kannada). Prasārāṅga, Maisūru Viśvavidyanilaya. OCLC 18244364.
  16. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1957). Anukalpane: kavi-kāvya vimarśe. Pratibhā Prakaṭaṇa Mandira. OCLC 48071561.
  17. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1978). Kannaḍa sāhitya naḍedubanda dāri (in Kannada). Aibiec Prakāṣana. OCLC 500436486.
  18. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1999). Kannaḍavannu uḷisidavaru (in Kannada). Karnāṭaka Sangha. OCLC 499894423.
  19. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 2002). Iṇuku nōṭa: hosagannaḍadalli halạgannaḍada siri (in Kannada). Vasanta Prakaśana. OCLC 498730512.
  20. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 2008). Samaya-sandarbha-sannivēśa. Sapna Buk Haus. OCLC 426067698.
  21. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 2010). Kumāravyāsana antaraṅga: yuddhapañcakadalli. OCLC 894816834.
  22. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1967). Karṇa karṇāmr̥ta. Kannaḍa Sāhitya Pariṣattu. OCLC 39993380.
  23. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, Gañjām (1 January 1987). Bhaṇḍāra. 1. Kannaḍa mattu Saṃskr̥ti Nirdēśanālaya. OCLC 750730313.
  24. ^ Veṅkaṭsubbayya, G (1 January 1987). Muddaṇa bhaṇḍāra (in Kannada). Kannaḍa mattu Saṃskr̥ti Nirdēśanālaya. OCLC 21908975.
  25. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G; Śarmā, Rāmacandra (1 January 1996). Kannaḍa kathānikala saṃkalanaṃ. Sāhitya Akādemī. OCLC 46359327.
  26. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1967). Liṇḍan jānsannara kathe. Higgin Bāthams. OCLC 699732206.
  27. ^ Mahadevan, T. M. P (1 January 1972). Śaṅkarācārya (Translation by G. V.). Nyāṣanal Buk Ṭrasṭ. OCLC 499807578.
  28. ^ Defoe, Daniel; Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G (1 January 1967). Rābinsan Krūsō. Karnāṭaka Sahakāri Prakāśana Mandira. OCLC 610176820.
  29. ^ Veṅkaṭasubbayya, G; Pant, Bhawanrao Srinivasrao (1 January 2011). Ciṇṇara citra Rāmāyaṇa: Bhavānarāva Śrīnivāsarāva ūrpha Bāḷāsāhēba Paṇḍita Pantapratinidhi, saṃthāna aundha, ivaru racisidda citragaḷōḍane. Prisam Buks. OCLC 760171744.
  30. ^ "Masti Award". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 December 2005. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  31. ^ "Nadoja Award". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 April 2005. Archived from the original on 27 April 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  32. ^ Express, New Indian (28 July 2015). "President of India felicitating G. Venkatasubbiah (2015)". News Reportage. No. Mysore. New Indian Express Editorial Team. Archived from the original on 31 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  33. ^ "Padma Awards 2017 announced".
  34. ^ [1][dead link]
  35. ^ "Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah passes away". News18 Kannada. 19 April 2021.
  36. ^ "Kannada writer Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah passes away at 107". The Indian Express. 19 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.

Works cited