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Maasthi Venkatesa Iyengar
Venkatesh Iyengar.jpg
Born (1891-06-06)6 June 1891
Hongenahalli, Malur taluk, Kolar district, Mysore State, British India
Died 6 June 1986(1986-06-06) (aged 95)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Pen name Srinivasa, Maasti
Occupation District Commissioner, Professor, Writer
Nationality India
Genres Fiction
Subjects Kannada literature
Literary movement Kannada literature Navodaya (New birth)Navodaya

Maasthi Venkatesa Iyengar (June 6, 1891 - June 6, 1986) was a well known writer in Kannada language. He was the fourth person among eight recipients[1] of Jnanpith Award for Kannada the highest literary honour conferred in India.[2] He was popularly referred to as Maasti Kannadada Aasti which means Maasti is Kannada's Treasure. He is most renowned for his short stories. He wrote under the pen name Srinivasa. He was honored with the title Rajasevasakta by then Maharaja of Mysore Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadeyar.

Early life and education[edit]

Maasti was born in 1891, at Hosahalli in Kolar district of Karnataka in a Tamil speaking Sri Vaishnavaite family. He spent his early childhood in Maasti village. He obtained a master's degree in English literature (Arts) in 1914 from Madras University.[3] After joining the Indian Civil Service (Known as the Mysore Civil Service in the days of the Maharaja of Mysore), he held various positions of responsibility in different parts of Karnataka, rising to the rank of District Commissioner. After 26 years of service, he resigned in 1943, as a protest when he did not get the post equalant to a Minister, which he deserved and a junior was promoted ahead of him.[3] He wrote some pieces in English and then switched over to write in Kannada language.[3]He used pen name Srinivasa to write short stories and novels in Kannada.[4]


He published his first work Rangana Maduve in 1910 and his last work is Maatugara Ramanna (1985).[4] His Kelavu Sanna Kategalu (Some Short Stories) was the first noted work in the modern Kannada literature. Maasti also crafted a number poems on various philosophic, aesthetic and social themes. He composed and translated several important plays. He was the editor of monthly journal Jivana (Life) from 1944 to 1965.

A prolific writer, he wrote more than 123 books in Kannada[4] and 17 in English, for over seventy years. He won the Jnanpith Award in 1983 for his novel Chikkavira Rajendra. The story was about the last Raja of Kodagu.

He died on his 95th birthday in 1986.[citation needed] Since 1993, an award in his name, "Masti Venkatesha Iyangar Award" is awarded to well-known writers of Karnataka.[5] His house located in Basavanagudi area, Bangalore is converted as a museum and maintained by Masti Venkatesha Iyangar Jeevana Karyalaya Trust.[6] His house located in Maasti village, Malur Taluk (Kolar District) is converted as library and maintained by Departments of Government of Karnataka.[7] Masti Residential School was started in memory of Masti Venkatesha Iyangar during 2006-07, at Masti village, Malur Taluk by Government of Karnataka.[8]



  • Shri Rama Pattabisheka (Coronation of Shri Ram)


Stories and Anthologies

  • Kelavu Sanna Kathegalu (Some Short Stories)
  • Dombara Chenni
  • Kaagegalu (Crows)
  • Rangana Maduve (Ranga's Marriage)



  • Bhaava


  • Subbanna (1928)
  • Sheshamma (1976)
  • Shanta (1923)
  • Talikoti (1929)
  • Yashodhara(1933)
  • Kannadad Seve(1930)
  • Arun (1924)
  • Tavare(1930)
  • Sankranti (1969)


  1. ^ "Jnanapeeth Awards". Ekavi. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  2. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. 
  3. ^ a b c Ramachandra Sharama Ed., Masti Venkatesha Iyengar (2004). Masti. New Delhi: Katha. ISBN 9788187649502. 
  4. ^ a b c "Man of letters". The Hindu. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Masti Venkatesh Iyengar Award presented to Nisar Ahmed". The Hindu. 26 June 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Garbage doesn’t spare even Masti’s house". The Hindu. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Jnanpith writer Masti's house made into a library". Deccan Herald. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Masti school bereft of building, staff". Deccan Herald. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 

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2 news items

Bangalore Mirror
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Instituting an award is the best way of paying tribute, because readers get back to the author with a fresh outlook. Such is the case of Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, the grand old man of short stories in Kannada. The adage Masti Kannadada Aasthi (Masti ...
Times of India
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:25:04 -0700

The select stories include Karthika (UR Ananthamurthy), Ondu Dahanada Kathe (Devanur Mahadeva), Aata (Yashwant Chittal), Jogathi Kallu (Ananda Kanda), Venkatigana Hendathi (Masti Venkatesha Iyengar) and Ganda Satha Mele (Shanthinatha Desai).

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