Mysore University, Mysore

Departments of History


The Department of History has come a long way and it was already in existence when the University of Mysore was founded in 1916-17. Formerly as part of the Maharaja's College it had the unique distinction of having on its roll very great minds who could rub shoulders with such intellectual giants as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee, so much so that the Maharaja's College itself came to be called "History College". It had such distinguished historians as Denham, C.R. Reddy, R.K. Mukherjee, Neelakantha Sastri, M.V. Krishna Rao, Srikanta Sastri and so on.

The establishment of the Department of History almost coincided with a very significant development in the nation's march towards freedom namely the entry of the nation's struggle against colonialism on its most crucial phase of development. Humiliated and battered at the demoralising effects of colonial rule, the Indian people had to fall back upon their heritage for inspiration, solace and strength. The writings of nationalist historians served the purpose of instilling in them hope, confidence and pride in their heritage.

Radha Kumud Mukherjee who headed the Department of History at this time wrote his famous book The Hindu Polity which came to exert a tremendous amount of influence on the intellectual aristocracy of Mysore and in particular his own colleagues and students. They came to evince keen interest in unrevilling Indian antiquity. Shama Sastri's discovery of Kautilya's Arthasastra and its publication brought great name and fame and was an excellent contribution at this juncture. No less significant was the work of such dedicated scholars as R. Narasimhachar, M.H. Krishna, Neelakantha Sastri, Srikanta Sastri and M.V. Krishna Rao in building up the Department nor in strengthening the Oriental Research Institute which recently came to exhibit its rare collections. True to the tradition of Orientalist scholarship, their contribution to the study of Indian antiquity has been remarkable.


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