[INDOLOGY] Biography of epigraphist V. Venkayya

Tieken, H.J.H. H.J.H.Tieken at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Fri Feb 12 19:45:49 UTC 2021

Dear List members,
A few weeks ago I received a copy of a biography of the South Indian epigraphist V. Venkayya (1864-1912), written by his great-granddaughter Sunitha Madhavan.

Life and Works of Rai Bahadur V. Venkayya.

The book is published by the Tamil Arts Academy, No. 11, 22nd Cross Street, Besant Nagar Chennai-600090. Tamilnadu, India.
(For information email: urnagaswamy at gmail.com)

It provides a detailed description of Venkayya’s life and work, as Officiating Epigraphist of the Government of Madras and later as Chief Epigraphist to the Imperial Government of India. Much attention is paid to his collaboration with Eugen Hultzsch, whom he eventually succeeded.
The author also quotes frequently from Venkayya’s dairies, which were given to her by her father, together with letters, and coins from Venkayya’s collection. To give just one example from the diaries, here the report written in 1912 of a visit paid by my countryman Jean Philippe Vogel:

“Vogel came to my office and was talking quite familiarly for about an hour. What a strange contrast to the man when he was D.G. In every drop of his blood he must have felt at the time that he was a big personage. He has now come down to the level of an ordinary human being. I never thought that Europeans were capable of such affectation. Vogel is however a Dutchman and I do not know much about the ways of Hollanders. He is going to stay here until September when he goes on leave. I must study the man very closely and see if he is at least honest and straightforward, He promised to contribute articles for Epigraphia Indica and said it would be splendid if I would undertake to publish the inscriptions of the Lahore Museum. Let me see if the man really meant what he said. There is plenty of time.”

As far as I know Vogel did not keep his promise, but Venkayya did not live long enough to be disappointed.

Kind regards, Herman

Herman Tieken
Stationsweg 58
2515 BP Den Haag
The Netherlands
00 31 (0)70 2208127
website: hermantieken.com<http://hermantieken.com/>

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