N for Nobody: An Academic Autobiography

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Basavaraj Naikar


In this article I have discussed Professor C.D. Narasimhaiah's N for Nobody as an academic autobiography, in which he has recorded his gradual growth from humble beginnings to the stature of an internationally recognized scholar, teacher and critic. I have highlighted how Professor CDN combined in himself the elements of merit and good luck in rising higher and higher in his academic life and how he did a great service to Indian Universities by introducing American Literature and Commonwealth Literatures thereby extending the vista of Indian academic learning from the parochial British Literature to the international Commonwealth Literature. Likewise I have discussed how he made use of his academic contact with the famous scholars of Britain, America and Australia among others both in teaching and learning new disciplines. I have also shown how his autobiographical writing is intertwined with his critical appreciation of the modern literary giants and how he being a member of several research bodies like ASRC and others helped several young scholars to get Fulbright fellowships to study in the US, a fact which holds mirror to his enormous encouragement to the younger scholars of India. I have highlighted how his academic dream has been realized in his establishment of a research centre like Dhvanyaloka, which is equal to ASRC in quality, if not in quantity and which acts a source of information and inspiration to young Indian scholars to pursue their research. I have also shown how he did not care and condescend to become a Vice-Chancellor of any Indian University (unlike many empty-headed professors), which is a political appointment rather than an academic one and stayed miles away from the dirty politicians due to his pure academic pursuits. Finally I have shown the vices of his virtue in not recording the cultural details of British and American life in his autobiography, unlike other contemporaries like Dr. K.Iswaran.

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