An attempt is made below to present briefly the Life-Sketch, educational career and the contributions of Dr.K.Puttaswamaiah. It is difficult to present ones-own Life.Yet, a succinct summary of Life and the contributions, the main ones at least are given. He had a distinguished academic career followed by intense research in various spheres of Economics – both in its theory and applied aspects. Life of Dr. Puttaswamaiah is given with care and caution to ensure utmost brevity and to enable concentration on academic achievements. Many friends in the area of economics, as well as well-wishers have been pressing him to provide briefly his career and contributions.
A BRIEF EARLY LIFE SKETCH :- He was born in a village, at ‘Kondajji’, Turuvekere Taluk, Tumkur District, Karnataka State, India, which was a ‘Jodi’ village with four hamlets, on October 15, 1933. His father Sri. Karigiriappa (the word ‘Karigiri’ is a ‘Shketra’ in which Lord ‘Nrushimha’ is installed centuries ago who is his home diety. There are two temples – ‘Yoganrushimha’ and ‘Bhoganrushimha’ supposed to be installed on the hills by one of the seven scared sages viz: ‘Viswamitra’, as detailed in the Indian mythology. One has to pass through seven hills to reach the two hills where these two temples are situated. It is a recognized hill station which is around 4000 ft. high above the sea level and is in the midst of a thick forest. His mother’s name is ‘Konamma’. His father, when Dr. K.Puttaswamaiah was doing his primary schooling, use to wake him up to 4.00 AM everyday and made him learn “AMARA KOSHA” (Encyclopaedia of Sanskrit words in stanzas) in the “Three Khandas” (volumes). All Sanskrit words are found in this “AMARA KOSHA”. Though he lost his father at the age of 12 (just completed 11 years), his help in learning “Amara Kosha” laid the foundation for his learning Sanskrit later cannot be forgotten. His second language was Sanskrit and his reading and learning “Classics in Sanskrit” of many poets helped him to translate into Kannada works like ‘Value and Capital’ and author a few original works
of Economics in Kannada language. It enabled him to win a Mysore University Award for “Economics in Kannada Language”. The above village had only a primary school and his schooling upto 4th standard was completed there. They were four brothers and three sisters and he was the last son to his parents. One brother passed away when he was schooling there. It was his misfortune that he lost his father when he had just stepped into eighth standard, which
was the first public examination called “Lower Secondary Examination”. When he completed the primary schooling in the native village, in that summer, the marriage of his third sister took place in the same village and he had to be shifted to Mysore, the capital city of the then Royal State where one of his sisters was living and his sister’s husband was a very learned Sanskrit Scholar having passed ‘Three Vidwaths’ (a Vidwath is a Sanskrit highest degree) – in three areas – Sanskrit Literature (Sahitya), Science of Logic (Tarka Shastra) and Philosophy (Meemamsa). The, then Maharaja of Mysore had recognized him as “Asthana Vidwan” (‘Asthana’ means the Royal Hall of Audience in Maharaja’s Palace) and had also appointed him as the Professor of Sanskrit in the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College, Mysore. Dr. Puttaswamaiah and his love to Sanskrit induced him to take Sanskrit as his Second Language throughout his career and enabled him to study with ‘Vidwan’ some major works of well-known poets in Sanskrit. When he stepped into eighth standard, he was unfortunate that his father passed away in the year 1945, and the first public examination took place in March 1946. However, his mother lived and passed away in 1973. He completed his S.S.L.C. (Matriculation) in 1949 and the Intermediate Examination in 1951 at Tumkur, one of the District Head Quarters in the Old Maharaja’s State. He passed those examinations with quite very high percentage of marks.
ENTRY INTO THE B.A. (Honours) Degree in ECONOMICS :- In those days, the Maharaja’s College in Mysore was the only College in the State where “Honours” and “Masters Degree” courses were available. Admission to “Economics Honours” was quite prestigious and tuff. The then Professor and Head of the Department of the Economics of the University of Mysore was quite rigid like J.R.Hicks and the admission was only by merit. The Professor used to get the applicants for the admission to the Honours course listed in the order of merit and got the first fifteen only selected every year. With a score of 82% in Economics in the Intermediate Examination, he was worried till the admission was made. He met the Professor at his official quarters to request for a seat in Economics. Professor V.L.D’souza was meeting people everyday in the mornings. He was quite systematic in calling the visitors who were waiting in the Lounge of his residence. He use to come out to the Lounge at sharp 8.00 AM and complete the interviews by 8.30 AM, to enable him to go to the college at 9.00 AM. He was giving priority to the students and Teachers were called later. He use to call one by one and take him or her one round in the compound, complete the discussion and see them off. Puttaswamaiah was called when his turn came and was asked about his problem. He told him that he had gone to request him for a seat in ‘Economics Honours’. He asked his percentage of marks in Economics in the Intermediate examination and he was too happy about his achievement. He told him that: “If you do not get a seat in Economics Honours, can I recommend to any other subject?” and opined that “82% is quite a high percentage ofcourse”. Puttaswamaiah immediately told him that he ‘had gone to see Professor D’Souza to seek a seat in Economics Honours and not request for any other subject”. Professor’s face became bright and said that: “If you are that determined to study Economics (Honours) only, you are bound to get it”. He thanked him and left. After admission, he did prove well and also became a “Subject scholar too”. He got into Economics (Honours) and studied for three years from 1951 to 1954. He passed B.A. (Hons.) in First class and Distinction in 1954. Professor D’Souza was very proud of him as he was the only First Class in Economics (Hons.) after four years, the year in which Professor was retiring. He told him that “you not only passed in First Class. But also secured a Clearout First Class”, meaning that in all the sixteen valuations (eight papers in the final year with double valuation make sixteen valuations)
he had obtained more than the level required for the First Class in all valuations about which, the Professor was too happy, as he had not seen first classes in the past four years and those earlier ones were also by average marks in different subjects even for the second class. For the “DISTINCTION”, he was awarded THE N.S. SUBBARAO PRIZE.N.S.Subba Rao was the First Professor who started the Department of Economics in the University of Mysore, the oldest University in India. The terms of Award by the University are as follows :
“The prize shall be awarded at the annual convocation to the candidate for the B.A (Hons.) Degree with Economics as the major subject, who shall have obtained at the final examination the highest number of Marks in Economics, in
the eight papers that comprise the “Major Group”, provided …. And shall have qualified for the degree at the First attempt”. He was also Awarded a ‘Gold Medal’ called the “BALAMANI
GOLD MEDAL”. The terms of award were:
“It shall be awarded to the candidate who obtains the highest number of marks (which shall be not be less than 60% of total maximum) in General Economics, consisting of the papers on “Economic Principles” and “Money Credit and prices” in B.A. (Hons.) and B.Sc. (Hons.) Examinations”. The Convocation for awarding the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree and the above prize and the Medal was held on 9th day of October, 1954. After the Convocation, Prof. V.L.D’souza, who was by then the Vice Chancellor, called his wife and showed the prize and the Medal to her and said:“Puttaswamaiah had met me to request for a seat in Economics (Hons.) in 1951. He has now received the
Distinction, the Prize and the Medal. I could see in him in 1951 when he first met me the determination not only to study Economics but also to get the Prize and the Medal”.
MASTERS DEGREE IN ECONOMICS (JUNE 1954 – APRIL 1955):-
Puttaswamaiah’s first thought, after he passed B.A. (Hons.) in Economics, was to work as a Lecturer in the Maharaja’s College and takeup the two-year Masters Degree for which there were a provision for the teaching staff. He went to Professor V.L.D’souza, who had by then become the “Vice-Chancellor” of the University of Mysore, to request him to appoint him as a Lecturer and allow him to take up the two-year Master’s Degree, instead of the one year regular Master’s Degree Course. The Vice-Chancellor asked him that he should complete his Master’s Degree by taking up one year course only. He, therefore, took up one-year Master’s Degree Course and completed it in 1955 with First Class and High Marks as before and received the prestigious “YELANDUR JAHAGIR SCHOLARSHIP”, also called as “DEWAN POORNAYA ENDOWMENT
RESEARCH FOR Ph.D. AND THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE :-
While working as Research Officer, NCAER, he registered his name in the
University of Mysore for the Ph.D. Research under the guidance of Prof. V.LD’souza, retired Professor and Vice-Chancellor. The subject chosen related to the ‘Employment Problems in India’. Since he was in New Delhi, working with NCAER, Prof. V.K.R. Rao, the then Director, the Delhi School of Economics, University of New Delhi was available to him for immediate consultations. He had done the initial Research and major collection of data in the libraries of the Delhi School of Economics, NCAER and the Planning Commission. He had to leave New Delhi in mid-1958 to take up his new assignment as ‘EDITOR’ of Karnataka State Gazetteers Department. The library facilities in Bangalore were British Council Library, the Government Central Library and the libraries of Government and the Legislature. Quite often, he used to visit the American Consulate Library and The National Library in Madras also where he was
staying as long as required for Library work. ‘Problems of unemployment’ was not very much known in those days, and in the First Five year Plan, it was also not indicated about this problem. Towards the end of the First Plan, i.e. 1956, there was realization that this problem may come up and get pronounced. Therefore, a token additional grant to tackle this problem was made towards the end of the First Plan. This is mentioned because, there was not much
material and data on the employment situation in India at that time. In the Second Plan, this problem was mentioned, however, as one of the objectives of the plan. It was a great difficulty to collect Data in the Planning Commission to present the empirical aspects of the problem in the “Thesis”, after theoretical aspects were presented in all its research rigour. The “Thesis” was ultimately submitted, while working as “Editor”, Karnataka Gazetteers, in 1963 under the title – “Unemployment Problems in India – Policy for Manpower”. The Ph.D. Degree was Awarded in 1963 through a University Notification. However, he received the CERTIFICATE OF AWARD in 1964 in the CONVOCATION OF THE “GOLDEN JUBILEE” year of the University as suggested by his Professor.
Getting the Ph.D. Award was not an easy task in those days. He was in his
twenty ninth year of age when he submitted his “Thesis” and many of his teachers had only Master’s Degree and were Readers or below. The University Grants Commission had made the Doctoral Degree compulsory to become a Reader or a Professor. Therefore, one could imagine his position, though he was very friendly with everyone. The only thing some one could do was listing the tough Examiners and among them only, the Examiners were to be chosen by the Syndicate of the University. When the list of Examiners was presented in the meeting of the Syndicate for selection, the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. K.M. Pannikar, well-known historian, appears to have readout the Rules Governing the appointment of the Examiners. He found that, though it was almost customary to appoint the “Guide” as “Chairman”, he was struck by the words “Guide MAY be an Examiner”. He emphasized on the word “May’ and said
that the Guide need not be in the Committee of Examiners. He selected three outside Examiners with Prof. K.N.Raj, then the Vice Chancellor, the University of New Delhi, as the Chairman. Two others were Prof. B.R.Shenoy, the then Member of the Planning Commission and I.S. Gulati, the Professor in Kerala State and also later Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of the State. All the three were known for merit and they could not be influenced by anybody. Though the declaration of the Degree took longer than what was required (as they were busy in their assignments), it was an unanimous decision of all the three to recommend for the award of Doctorate. It was considered that it was his fortune that such senior Professors who were tough, but meritoriented
were appointed and the Degree was, thus really hard-earned. It was the custom in the University to take the “Guide” as the Chairman and two other examiners to examine a “Thesis” and Degree was awarded even if two had agreed. This custom was before his submission of the “Thesis” by Dr. K.Puttaswamaiah and afterwards also. Thus, his example was a single instance to remain in that in his case, all the three were externals and the “Guide” was not in the picture and the degree was awarded unanimously. He was not knowing the above facts. It was kind of the then Vice Chancellor. Dr. K.R.Ramachandran (earlier Secretary to Government of India in the Department of Education) who told later all about the above and said that “What had appened was good for him” (Prof. Pannikar had completed his term and Dr.
K.R.Ramachandran had taken over as Vice-Chancellor).