Gunda Jois remembered for making world know about Keladi dynasty

Gunda Jois’ son Dr Venkatesh Jois, Dr G V Kallapur and others are carrying forward his work.
Renowned historian and epigraphist Keladi Gunda Jois passed away on June 2.
Renowned historian and epigraphist Keladi Gunda Jois passed away on June 2.

SHIVAMOGGA: A renowned historian and epigraphist Keladi Gunda Jois passed away on June 2. He was 94. The fraternity of ancient history and epigraphy in the state said, “We have lost a legacy of a scholarly research cum resource person who informed the world about the tiny dynasty of Keladi of Shivamogga district.”

Gunda Jois of Sagar taluk, popularly known as “Keladi Gunda Jois”, earned the prefix Keladi for his dedicated research and study of the dynasty.

His passion for the dynasty’s history made him set up an exclusive museum at Keladi village of Sagar taluk in 1960. For those visiting the Sri Keladi Rameshwara temple, a peep into the museum is a must.

Gunda Jois collected historical manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, coins, arms and ammunition, copper plaques, and documents of the dynasty and displayed them at the museum. Most of these were found by him in the Malnad region.

Interestingly, he joined an MA course in Ancient History and Epigraphy when he was over 50 years old. He translated the work ‘Nrupa Vijaya’ in Halagannada (old Kannada) to Hosagannada (New Kannada) and helped historians understand the history of Keladi dynasty.

“Jois was an authority on ‘Modi lipi’ and Tigalari dialect of Havyaka Brahmins of Malnad region. He taught many of his students to study it and helped carry forward the knowledge,” said Dr SG Samak, a research student of Jois.

Also an Indologist, Jois learnt how to read palm leaf inscriptions that was in Modi dialect.

Gunda Jois’ son Dr Venkatesh Jois, Dr G V Kallapur and others are carrying forward his work.

Gunda Jois had been presented with Rajyotsava and other awards. He has written 30 historical books.

The Keladi dynasty came into existence at the end of 1499. Keladi Nayakas, who were once part of Vijayanagara empire, ruled Ikkeri and Keladi, and picked, Keladi, a small town, as their capital. Their rise started with the decline of Vijayanagara empire, whose preeminence began to erode after their loss at the Battle of Talikota in 1565.

Keladi rulers fought against the Mughal army, which had set out to capture Raja Ram -- son of the Chhatrapati Shivaji, who had taken shelter at Keladi. The dynasty was in power from 1499 to 1763. 

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