The Kasi Diaries

The Kasi Diaries

Product ID: 18122

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Author: N V Sampath
Malathi Rangaswami/N V Kasturi
Publisher: East West Books
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 377
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8188661147


In editing these diaries, Kasturi and Malathi have omitted much of their father’s writings on personal matters. I think they have also been overly sensitive in omitting some of his writings that they thought might hurt the feelings of some of the living kin of those Varadachariar mentioned rather unflatteringly. But even if these omissions are to be regretted in a book that would like to present history as it was, what appears in the three parts of this volume does indeed provide a penetrative insight into many of the events between the 1920s and the 1940s.

Written in simple language, what Varadachariar has to say is all the more effective for it. Language, style, fact and comment all contribute to make The Kasi Diaries a valuable contribution to all that looking back writing on the 1920s-40s.

Kasi was born in 1903 in Akkur, a village near Madras. His father, N V Desikachari, was a leading advocate of Coimbatore. Born in a family of Sanskrit scholars, Desikachari chose the lawyer’s profession after a stint in teaching. Born in a family of Sanskrit scholars, Desikachari chose the lawyer’s profession after a stint in teaching. Desikachari had a successful career which abruptly ended with his death at the age of 52.

Kasi was barely 7 when he lost his father. He had two brothers, both elder to him, and four sisters. He had two brothers, both elder to him, and four sisters. He had his early schooling in Tiruppur but moved to Coimbatore for his School Final. He then joined the Presidency College, Madras, for his Intermediate and B A courses. The obvious choice of career for him was Law, following his early interest in constitutional law. He completed his B L from the Madras Law College and in 1926, he enrolled as a lawyer in the Madras High Court.


I had heard of Kasi, and what I had heard made me eager to get to know him. I went to Ambiappa’s beautiful bungalow on the banks of the famous Alwaye river; and there I met the handsome, upstanding, brilliant Kasi, one of the proudest intellectual s of the country.
-T V Ramanujam, Professor of Economics and Educationist.

It was delightful to hear Kasi talk. He could talk on most subjects with knowledge and authority. The fascination of its drew many eminent people to him and his room was a miniature university in which advance research on the outstanding topics of the day was conducted vigorously without intermission.
-Khasa Subba Rao, Editor, Swatantra.

Few perhaps are aware that early in life Kasi attracted the attention of Pandit Motilal Nehru who arranged for him to be adviser and Secretary to one of the members of the Sankaran Nair Committee, parallel with the Simon Commission. Kasi was a great connoisseur of music, dancing and the fine arts.
-T T Krishnamachari, Finance Minister of India

It was a pleasure to move with Kasi. He had always something new to say; his rich imagination, supplemented by his systematic and thorough study of history, law and political theory, would draw colourful pictures of things to come.
-C K Srinivasan, History Scholar.




The Early Years-1916-1929

The Middle Years -1930-1938

The War Years-1939-1945