Welcome To Kannada University
Kannada University is located near Hampi, an historical place. The very name HAMPI evokes mythological and historical memories. People lived here since the Stone-age as it is evident in the cave paintings left here by the Stone-age people for posterity.

Historically this place has been the abode of many religions – Buddhism, Jainism, Virashaivism, Vaishnavism, Islam and many popular religious cults like Huligemma cult, Galemma cult, Mylaralinga cult, Balabasava cult which exist to this day. This has been an important place for many kingdoms like Hoysalas, Sindhs, Kapilas, not to speak of the Vijayanagara kingdom which originated here and reigned over most part of South India for more than three centuries. Vijayanagara Kingdom has also been the icon of Kannada identity and has inspired the Karnataka unification movement, symbolically representing unified Karnataka. Hampi has also been the abode of many a well-known Kannada poets like Harihara, Raghavanka, Kumaravyasa and Purandaradasa. Hampi is the treasure house of Indian architecture and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Center.

About Kannada University

The Government of Karnataka through the Kannada University Act 1991 established Kannada University, Hampi, in 1991.

The demand for such a University was there in Karnataka since the mid 1980s. The Government of Karnataka established a commission under the chairmanship of Sadashiva Wodeyar to look into the demand. This Committee after consulting various intellectuals, education experts, political thinkers, social activists, literary personalities and representatives of people came out with a report and recommended the establishment of the much-needed Kannada University.

Kannada University is located near Hampi, an historical place. The very name HAMPI evokes mythological and historical memories. People lived here since the Stone-age as it is evident in the cave paintings left here by the Stone-age people for posterity.

Historically this place has been the abode of many religions – Buddhism, Jainism, Virashaivism, Vaishnavism, Islam and many popular religious cults like Huligemma cult, Galemma cult, Mylaralinga cult, Balabasava cult which exist to this day. This has been an important place for many kingdoms like Hoysalas, Sindhs, Kapilas, not to speak of the Vijayanagara kingdom which originated here and reigned over most part of South India for more than three centuries. Vijayanagara Kingdom has also been the icon of Kannada identity and has inspired the Karnataka unification movement, symbolically representing unified Karnataka. Hampi has also been the abode of many a well-known Kannada poets like Harihara, Raghavanka, Kumaravyasa and Purandaradasa. Hampi is the treasure house of Indian architecture and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Center.

The University moved from the stonemantapas of Hampi, where it was located initially to the present campus, Vidyaranya, in 1994. It also now has two more satellite campuses: one in Badami, an historical place, where the Department of Sculpture and Visual Arts is located; and the other at Kuppalli, the birth place of the poet Kuvepmu, where the Kuvempu Research Centre is located.

The present campus of Kannada University spans a hilly terrain of 700 acres situated amidst a natural forest and beautiful lake. A small brook runs through the campus. The campus is named Vidyaranya after the ‘founder-Guru’ of Vijayanagara Empire. It also means the forest of knowledge. The newly constructed buildings of Kannada University blends into the ambience of the architecture of Hampi historical structures.

Akshara (Labrary)

(The Letter – etymologically, that which cannot be erased) is the name of the library building.

Sarvagna

(The One Who Knows Everything) is another library building that has come up with the aid of UGC. This building houses the exclusive library for Karnataka studies named

Sirigannada

(The Bounteous Kannada)

Kriyashakthi

(The Power of Action), another important guru in the history of Vijayanagara Empire, is the name of administrative building.

Bhuvana Vijaya

(The abode of Victory) is the indoor auditorium for academic and cultural activities.

Pampa Sabhangana

(The Pampa Seminar Hall) named after the Poet of the first available epic of 10 th century in Kannada Literature. Pampa Sabhangana is the place where intellectual deliberations on various issues happen, as it witnesses seminars/ conferences/ workshops/ special lectures all through the year.

Navaranga

(Nine colours / stage) is an open-air auditorium resembling Greek theatre situated on the banks of the lake.

Girisime (Tribal Village)

Is a mini campus, which houses the department of Tribal studies. The buildings, or rather hut-like structures in this mini-campus, are modeled on the houses of different tribes of Karnataka.

Best Practices
  • Objectives of the Practice:
  • To sustain university has a research oriented University than as a teaching University
  • To produce all knowledge in Kannada and to produce knowledge about Karnataka
  • To address the socio-economic and cultural problems faced by the linguistic area in which it is located.
  • To create a standard research community in Kannada that is capable of producing knowledge at the international level.

Context:

Due to colonial context, in India the knowledge about India gets produced only in English. It sounds ironical that nearly 95% of the population are not conversant in English. There is a mismatch between the language of the knowledge and the language of the people of this land. The concepts generated by the social sciences are the product of their study in Europe and we try to comprehend our reality through these alien concepts. Research in Indian language means using our own appropriate categories to generate knowledge about ourselves- our polity, economy, society and culture.

The Practice:

University doesn’t receive any special grants from the Government specially earmarked for carrying out research. From the development grant given to the University by the Government, a specified earmarked budget is created to fund the research activities of the faculty members. The research is carried out at two levels: 1. Departmental Research- a large collaborative research project where the entire department gets involved and 2. Individual projects, where each faculty member takes up a project every year. The university after ensuring the quality of research it gets published by the publication wing of the University.

Evidence of Success:

Each one of the faculty members of the University is an established scholar in their area  of specialization as evident in their publications both books and articles. The publication wing is a leading publisher in Kannada which has published more than 1000 books so far. It also publishes several journals in Kannada to sustain the research community that has been created by the University. Many of our Departments are also involved in policy intervention and evaluation of various Government ministries. Many of our publications and the faculty members have been recognized by various bodies through the awards and prizes.

Problems Encountered and Resource Required:

At present the University is sustaining this practice by setting aside funds from the development grant, which adversely affects the development aspects of the University. If the Government allocates research grant which is recurring every year then this problem would get solved.

2. Shilpa Vana (Sculpture Park)

Objectives:

  • To develop a school focussing on traditional art and sculpture
  • To attract national and international sculptors and scholars of art
  • Use it as a lab for the Sculpture students
  • To add to the aesthetics of the campus

Context:

University lays emphasis on traditional knowledge systems and integrating it with modern knowledge systems. University is located in a hilly terrain.  Shilpa Vana is created with the intention of projecting a model of education where the art/work blends culture with nature

 The Practice:

Using the naturally available stones, hillocks and without much disturbing their position the artists/ students conceptualize their art and implement it. It becomes part of their practical training. Apart from students, when international and national workshops are organized, the national and international repute sculptures too have participated in this practice. These creative works are serving as models to the students of arts. Sculptures are created in three medias. They are natural stone, installed stones and cement media. Modern, traditional and folk sculptures are created in the Shilpa Vana. The whole hill area is covered with more than 180 sculptures.

  Evidence of Success:

Shilpa Vana has now become one of the tourist attractions, which attracts not only common people but also eminent artists. Many reputed institutions working in the area of Art have collaborated with the University in organizing these open-field/hill workshops such as Shilpa Kala Academy of Government of Karnataka, Central Lalita Kala Academy of Government of India and Department of Kannada and Culture, Government of Karnataka and also private institutions like Jindal Foundation.

3. Problems Encountered and Resources Required:

It is challenging to sculpt the naturally available stone as it is very hard. For certain sculptures we need soft stones, which have to be purchased from Mysore or Badami. Getting soft stones from distant places involves heavy investment for transportation which university finds difficult to meet. In addition to the problem of distance; banning of mining by the government has also affected stone supply.

Kannada University – A Unique Research University

Unique University

  • It is unique in terms of language, in terms of definition of knowledge, in terms of jurisdiction and in terms of purpose
  • Other universities produce and impart knowledge in English and this has created a gap between universities and society. In order to bridge this gap university initially produced knowledge in Kannada
  • However later on University understood that it is not simply a problem of language; rather it is much more complex issue involving theories, methods, concepts and research communities.
  • In the process now we do not confine our definition of knowledge to the definition given by science but we expand it to take into account the non-science definition and understanding of knowledge found in our own and other cultures
  • University doesn’t have a regional and disciplinary jurisdiction unlike other universities. Its research programs break the disciplinary boundaries to create new grounds in knowledge production.
  • The primary objective of the University is to conduct multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on various aspects of Karnataka and Kannada. The University also encourages comparative studies with other regions and languages.

PATH DEVIATION

  • Initially Kannada was the main language of research and dissemination of knowledge. Later on we made changes, especially after hearing the comments of NAAC team. The Peer Committee of  NAAC made the following observations –

‘We as a Peer Team, face a peculiar kind of dilemma when we come to assess and accredit such a monolingual, regionally focused, and research-oriented University. Here is an institution, where the regular norms of NAAC evaluation cannot be applied mechanically, and have to be suitably adjusted to the distinctive nature of the institution’.

  • Now ours is not a monolingual university. We have made deliberate attempts to move beyond Kannada. Now we are publishing books and journals in English. Also a number of theses have been produced in English. Not only English, even other Indian languages are taken care of.
  • Since its inception the University has focused mainly on research and publication. But now, it is slowly moving into the areas of policy research, teaching and consultancy. The departments actively participate in extension services and consultancy activities. In some departments integrated MA Ph.D., courses have been started and we also plan to begin some post graduation short-term and long term courses

OBJECTIVES CLARIFIED

  • This being a research University a few words on the nature, facility and spread of research are called for.
  • University has been consciously creating an enabling environment for promoting research. Maximum facilities are provided to the researchers. The University earmarks adequate funds for research and provides the required physical and human infrastructure.
  • Our outreach programs, by and large, go in the direction of reaching the un-reached and under reached people. The outreach activities include training, workshops, focus group discussion, health check-up campus, educating rural women on reproductive health, people’s representative of local bodies and grassroots development administrators.

We have been working in collaboration with other institutions and centers of higher learning. Let me name some of them –  Indian Council for Social Science Research, National Manuscript Mission, Human Resources Department, Kannada Development Authority, Dravidian University, Kuppam University, Central Institute of Indian Languages, Kannada Sahitya Academy, Karnataka Janapada Academy, Lalita Kala Academy, Planning Department, State Institute of Rural Development and Karnataka Gazetteer Department.

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