Scholar Kalyanaraman was given the society’s centenary honour on Sunday

A century of cultural calling


3 May 2009, 2349 hrs IST, TNN


Bangalore: The beautiful colonial piece of architecture on Nrupatunga Road has donned a new look. The Mythic Society, the premier institute of Indology and path-breaking studies, has just completed 100 years. The three-day valedictory celebrations were inaugurated on Sunday. 

Formed in 1909 to study the culture of Mysore state, it has now evolved into a national organization that nurtures anthropology, epigraphy, numismatics, folklore, linguistics, south Indian history, archaeology, ethnology, mythology and religion. 

It's birth 

The Mythic Society was founded by the then collector of Bangalore F J Richards, chief architect of Mysore government G H Krumbriel, professor at Central College S Krishnaswamy Iyengar and many others. 

"British officers wanted to know more about Mysore state, our culture, language and architecture. Seventeen members of the founding group were Britishers while only two were Indians. Later their interest encompassed whole of India and its culture," explains managing committee member and centenary celebrations convener V Nagaraj, who has been with the society for over 30 years now. 

Rare library 

Mythic Society has one of the best libraries in the world with over 40,000 books. These include some of the rarest books on Indology that are over 100 years old. The library also has reports on Indian life and culture, written by eminent British officers and scholars. 

Distinguished speakers 

Many renowned personalities have been associated with the society. Scientist C V Raman used to be the president of the society; in 1919, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore delivered lectures on the influence of art on the Indian mind. In 1927 Mahatma Gandhi delivered a talk on `Harijan uddhara' or liberating lower castes. 

Seminars a treat 

The society is also known for its seminars and sessions, like the one in 1983 on the scientific heritage of India. Many international speakers from all over the world attended and debated the contribution of ancient India to modern science. Sessions on the Aryan problem, whether it is a myth or a reality, also opened up new areas of study. 

A few years back, a seminar on the date of the Mahabharata war based on astronomical calculations generated a lot of interest. "The Mahabharata has more than 600 astronomical details. Scholar Dr Narahari Acharya brought a planetarium software developed by Nasa, using which sky configurations of 5000 years ago from Kurukshetra can be seen. All the configurations tallied. "It was one of the most interesting seminars that saw a response from all over the world," adds Nagaraj. Seminars on Indian heritage, right from the Harappa Mohenjodaro period, Indian culture and women and Indian culture and agriculture were held recently as part of the centenary celebrations. Currently a seminar on the socio-religious movements in India is being held. 

The celebrations 

On Sunday, the centenary honour was awarded to scholar Kalyanaraman, who is known for his work on tracing the mythical river Saraswati and the science behind Rama Setu. CM B S Yeddyurappa inaugurated the ceremony and honoured Kalyanaraman who narrated his journey as an officer for the Asian Development Bank to finding the reality of river Saraswati, that has been referred in the Vedas innumerable times. He also spoke about how he managed to get the right judgment on the Rama Setu issue after it was under the threat of being demolished. 

The chief minister said, "Indian culture and religion have international interest and appeal. Scholars like Arya Bhatta have been born on this soil. The Mythic Society over the years has played a very important role in upholding our culture and preserving it for future generations." He announced a fund of Rs 1 crore for the maintenance of the building and the ongoing celebrations. 

Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana H R Nagendra; president of Mythic Society M K L N Sastry and home minister V S Acharya were also present.



Mythic Society

Śatamānotsava felicitation citation to Dr. S. Kalyanaraman (3 May 2009)

River Sarasvati is adored in Rgveda as ‘ambitame, naditame, devitame’. From generation to generation, over a long span of time of over 5 millennia the collective memory of the people of India has cherished the faith that the all pervading Hindu culture took birth on her banks and nourished by her sacred waters. The world wondered whether the river Sarasvati was mythical or ground truth.                              

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman by his single minded dedication and extensive research has presented the ground truth – bhumi satyam of the river Sarasvati in all her splendour. 

Kalyanaraman born on 20th October 1939 to Sri S. Srinivasan and Smt. Rajammal, graduated in Economics and Statistics from the Annamalai Universiy and followed it up with Post Graduation and Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines. He is a multi-lingual talent well versed in Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, English and French languages. 

He was the Chief Controller of Accounts in Karnataka Electricity Board, member of Indian Railway Accounts Service and Financial Advisor to Railways. Dr. Kalyanaraman joined the Asian Development Bank as a senior executive and became an icon of multi-lateral banking expertise. 

When Dr. Kalyanaraman was at the peak of his career, a model of the Harappan seal presented to him disturbed his mind. It urged and stimulated him to dive deep, to unravel the mystery of the legendary river Sarasvati. He tool voluntary retirement and returned to India. He plunged deep into research on this Vedic river and possibility of its revival as part of national network of rivers. 

His epoch making scholarly work on the Vedic River Sarasvati has brought a paradigm shift in the studies related to ancient India. 

His website provides about 40,000 files including a lexicon on 25 ancitnt Indian languages, Rgveda text and translations. His dedication and devotion to our ancient heritage has resulted in a scholarly work on Ramasetu with irrefutable scientific evidences. 

The   Managing Committee of the Mythic Society is pleased to present its Śatamānotsava praŚasti 2008-09 to Dr. S. Kalyanaraman. May Goddess Sarasvati fulfil all his noble endeavours. 

Presented at the inauguration of the Valedcitory of the Centenary Celebrations. 

The Managing Committee

3rd May 2009

Mythic Society celebrates centenary

By Team Mangalorean Bangalore

Bangalore, May 3: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today sanctioned Rs One crore to Mythic Society for conducting centenary celebrations and repairs of the heritage structure devoted to study of Indology in the city.

He said the State Government would preserve cultural and traditional heritage of India by giving impetus to ancient Indian sciences like ayurveda, yoga and study of Indology. The Chief Minister was speaking after unveiling a three-day centenary celebrations of the Society.

Mr Yeddyurappa recalled the yeoman contribution made by the Society, started by Britishers ten decades ago and carried on by Indian researchers in Indology "by making the whole of western world knew about the rich Indian heritage''.

Founded in 1909, the Society has a pride of place among the classical institutions of India. Though at its inception, the Society was limited to Indian and Western classical studies, but later the interest veered around Indological studies, he added.

The Chief Minister bestowed the centenary honour to Dr Kalyanaraman for his research on Saraswati river.