By Smt. Samskrati Gulvady Shenoy
Santoshkumar Gulvady (1938 - 2010) was a household name in Karnataka, and made his mark as the founder editor-in-chief of ‘Taranga’ an illustrated family Kannada weekly (1982-1999). With his exceptional journalistic skills, and innovative ideas, he set a national record in the 160-year history of Kannada/Indian journalism as the fastest grown family magazine. ‘Taranga’ became the first and only weekly to cross two-lakh circulation on a national level in the first 23 months of its launch, and particularly in Kannada till date (Audit Bureau of Circulation data). The collection of his editorials ‘Antaranga Bahiranga’ in Taranga weekly brought him accolades like Karnataka State Sahitya Academy Award (1994). He was awarded with Karnataka State Government Award for excellence in journalism (1990), Sir Visveswaraya Award (1994), Veer Savarkar Award (1995), Bhargava Award (1999) and many others. Gulvady was also conferred with titles like ‘Patrika Bheeshma’ and ‘Samartha Sampadaka’.
After ‘Taranga’, he went on to become the founder editor-in-chief of ‘Nootana’ weekly and ‘Bhaavana’ monthly magazines in Kannada. A journalist par excellence, Gulvady contributed to Kannada literature also with many books like, ‘Modala Moggu’, ‘Shilabaalike’, ‘Gulvady Venkatarao – baduku, baraha’, ‘Pranava Shakti’, ‘Mahatma Gandhi maarga’, ‘Maha Patrakarta Mahatma Gandhi’ among many others; and to Konkani literature with ‘Kundya Kurkula’ a compilation of Konkani folk tales. He boosted the spirits of those undergoing heart surgeries with his Kannada book ‘Naanu Hridaya Shastra Chikitse Maadikonde’ based on his successful personal experience of an open-heart surgery way back in the 1960s. ‘Ta Ta Tingana’ the compilation of lullabies in Konkani language was a book project close to his heart, among the several other books that he wrote and edited during his lifetime. This book won him the Karnataka Government Konkani Sahitya Academy Award in 1998
Chitrapur Saraswats would be familiar with his pioneering book ‘Shri Chitrapura Rathotsava’ (written originally in Kannada,1973) on the origins, history and rituals behind the Rathotsava commenced annually at Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali since 1862(when HH Krishnashram Swamiji was the Mathadhipati). The Rathotsava ceased to be organised after 1938, and was revived in 1973, under the inspiration and leadership of HH Parijnanashram Swamiji III. With the blessings of the present Mathadhipati, H.H. Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, the book was translated into English language by Smt.Malini Madiman.
Santoshkumar was born as the elder son of Shashikala and Ratnakar Bhat Gulvady on October 2, 1938 at Udupi, on the auspicious day of Durgashtami. A commerce graduate from the (then) Government College, Mangaluru, his first love - writing - prompted him to pursue a post graduate diploma in journalism and advertising from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai. He began his career in the corporate sector working at Singer, Blue Star, Silk Board, etc. for a few years but eventually gave it up to engage himself in journalism which was his passion. He began as a freelance journalist and contributed to the Kannada media as their Mumbai correspondent.
With his obsession for travelling and meeting people, Santoshkumar explored the length and breadth of India apart from his overseas trips to over 20 countries. He was invited to UK, USA and Canada to deliver talks on Indian classical music, Raagamala miniature paintings, Ganjifa art, Karnataka’s Hoysala sculpture, journalism, advertising, etc. He was also an invited speaker in several Indian universities like Mysore, Dharwad, Hampi, Mangalore, and at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Even while he engrossed himself in writing, Indian classical music, literature, fine arts, theatre, folklore, sculpture, films, advertising, travelling, environment, etc., he managed to spend quality time with wife Sudeshna, daughter Samskrati and son Samarth. He led a saarthak life based on sanaatana values setting an example that although born with a congenital heart ailment, sky is the limit to pursue one’s passion.
We are grateful to Smt. Samskrati Gulvady Shenoy for introducing her father`s literary and cultural achievements to our readers. His book ‘Shri Chitrapur Rathotsava’ chronicles the iconic community festival in great detail, and adds to collective knowledge, as do his many other literary works. Smt. Samskrati Gulvady Shenoy is Astt. Professor in the Deptt. of Mass Communication at the University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Salalah (Sultanate of Oman)