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  • Basava Divine Center, Austin, USA

Poojyashree Allamaprabhu Swamiji

A scholar in Basava Philosophy, Poojyashree Allamaprabhu Swamiji is an accomplished practitioner and researcher of Basava Yoga, the tradition taught by Guru Basavanna and Sharanas. Poojya Swamiji is dedicated to the cause of researching and propagating the percepts and practices depicted in Sharanas' Vachanas. He is the driving force behind Basava Yoga Trust in Bangalore and Basava Divine Center, a nonprofit organization in Austin, Texas. Poojya Swamiji is well versed in various systems of Indian philosophy and mystic traditions. An accomplished yogi, he is an expert in different forms of yoga. With a logical and scientific bend of mind, he was drawn by the thought provoking percepts in Vachanas. He took his Jangama Deekshe in the tradition of Guru Basavanna. Eventually, his drive toward spiritual practices and burning desire to plunge into the implementation of the lifestyle described in Vachanas prompted him to relinquish his post as the head of a prestigious Peeta in Karnataka, India. Poojya Swamiji has undertaken extensive research on Vachanas and intense Sadhana in the tradition of Guru Basavanna. Known for his simple lifestyle and calm personality, he has embodied the percept of samate (equanimity), a key concept of Sharanas that ensues serenity into life. In Sharana tradition, he performs his kayaka of delivering illuminating pravachanas and effectively guiding spiritual aspirants. Poojya Swamiji has authored several books on Vachanas and Sharanas. He is also the editor of Basava Kirana, a monthly magazine. He conducts camps and workshops in India and USA to bring home the messages of Guru Basavanna. His elucidating teachings target all classes of society and have won acclaim from people from various walks of life.

  • University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA

Dr. Sajjan Shiva

Dr. Sajjan Shiva is a Professor and Chairman of the Computer Science Department at the University of Memphis, Tennessee. He is a Fellow of IEEE and has been a teacher, researcher and consultant since 1975. He is an author of 100+ articles in software engineering, cyber security and computer architecture. He has authored four books which have seen 9 editions and are used by 120+ universities across the world. Through his weekly blog http://vachanaaweek.blogspot.com he has translated and written commentaries on 200+ Vachanas so far. It has reached audience in USA and India and 8 other countries with a total read count of 60000. He has served as the chairman of the VSNA BOR and has been a life member since 1990. He is a co-founder and currently President of Siddaganga Humanitarian Mission - USA to support the educational activities of Siddaganga Gurukula in Tumkur. He hails from Akki Rampura in Tumkur District of Karnataka.

  • Tumkur, India

Dr. Shri Shivananda Shivacharya Swamiji

Dr. Shri Shivananda Shivacharya Swamiji, is the Chief Pontiff of Tumkur Hiremath. He is a very learned individual with academic degrees in multiple fields - Arts (M.A), Doctorate (Sanskrit Literature) and Law (LLB). He has done extensive religious studies in Sanskit at the esteemed Sampurnanda Sanskrit Univeristy in Banaras. Poojya Swamiji is an excellent writer; he is the editor of “Shivadunduhi”: a Religious Monthly Magazine, published by the Hiremath, Tumkur; he is a popular columnist for several daily magazines that include- “Samyuktha Karnataka” and “Hosa Digantha” which are very popular in Karnataka. Poojya Swamiji has authored several books on philosophy and religion, some his popular works include: Sphatika, Patheya, Namma Ganapati Heego, Saraswatavarshini, Shabdapata, Vicharamanas, Nudi-Sampada, Shivananda Uvacha, etc. Swamiji has traveled extensively across USA and Europe and has been a key-note speaker on several occasions. As a service to the elderly, Poojya Swamiji conducts religious tours every year to Kashi, Kedar, Badri, Rameshwara, Kudalasangama, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Saurashtra, etc. Poojya Swamiji’s service to humanity is boundless; he is constantly serving for the betterment of society. He is actively involved in several Religious, Social and Educational activities such as: Summer Camps for kids, Moral education workshops for Youth, Vedapatha & Parayana Camps for Women. Swamiji is committed to providing education to the underprivileged - he runs a Kindergarten and a Primary school in Karnataka for the economically poor families. Poojya Swamiji is very well known for his remarkable and apt slogans that are relevant in our daily lives; some of which are: a) If Life is a Boon, then our Youth is a Bonus; b) One should work like a Machine and the Work should be like a Mission c) Don't be a `Most Wanted Person’. Try to be a `Must Wanted Person’.

  • Lambeth, UK

Dr. Neeraj Patil

Dr Neeraj Patil, a Kannadiga, and NRI from Karnataka was the First Mayor of Asian origin in the London Borough of Lambeth from 2010-2011. He is a consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine who completed his fellowship from the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was first elected as a Labour Councillor for the Larkhall ward in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Hailing from the Indian state of Karnataka, he was born in Gulbarga district's Kamalapura town and is now settled in the United Kingdom. He was awarded the highest civilian award by the Government of Karnataka - "The Rajyotsava Award" in the year 2008 for promoting accountable democracy in India. Dr. Patil has taken the initiative of installing the statue of the 12th century philosopher and founder of Indian Democracy, Lord Basavanna at the Albert Embankment Gardens in the London borough of Lambeth, South London.

  • Hassan, India

I. M. Vittala Murthy, IAS

Personal and Educational Information:

I. M. Vittala Murthy was born on 2nd August 1951 in Iravally, a village near Belur in Karnataka’s Hassan District. His father IP Malle Gowda was a school teacher and a coffee planter while his mother Saganama was a housewife. After finishing his schooling in Belur he moved to Bangalore for his college studies and completed his Master’s Degree in Economics from Central College in 1974. He taught Economics at VV Puram college before joining administrative service as Assistant Commissioner in 1977. He married HA Lalitha in 1979 and they have two children. Daughter Sri Gouri works as a market analyst in Dallas and son, Sriram is a freelance journalist and photographer based out of Bangalore.

Professional Career:

Mr Vittala Murthy, after working as a probationer in Dharwad and Belgaum districts was posted as Assistant Commissioner Gadag. He later worked in various capacities in Coorg, Hassan, Shimoga and Mangalore districts. He also served as a Director of Kannada and Culture for two terms and led a delegation of leading literary and cultural personalities from Karnataka to the Vishwa Kannada Sammelana held in Manchester in 1988. After being appointed to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1986 he served as Deputy Commissioner Bijapur as well as Tumkur districts. He also worked as CEO of Zilla Panchayat, Bellary and Bangalore Rural districts. Other important assignments held by him are:

  • Managing Director, MSIL[State Government PSU]
  • Commissioner of Tourism & Managing Director, KSTDC
  • Commissioner for Transport, Transport Department
  • Managing Director, KSIIDC [State Government PSU]
  • Secretary, Kannada, Culture, Information & Tourism Department
  • Principal Secretary, Medical Education

During his tenure as Managing Director, MSIL, Mr Vittala Murthy organized two major National Art camps at Chikmagalur and Hampi. He also help promote Kannada poetry as well as rural talent through Nityotsava, a singing contest on Doordarshan. As Commissioner of Tourism, he promoted Karnataka’s tourist destinations at various international travel marts and was instrumental in Karnataka getting its own luxury train, The Golden Chariot. Apart from this, in his private capacity, Mr Vittala Murthy has been a Consulting Producer for three award winning Kannada Feature Films: Kanooru Heggadithi, Mathadana and Hasina. Kanooru Heggadithi based on a novel by the Gnanapeeta Award Winner Kuvempu was directed by another Gnanapeeta Award Winner Mr Girish Karnad. Mathadana based on a novel by the well known writer Mr S.L.Byrappa was directed by Mr T.N.Seetharam. Hasina based on a novel by Ms. Banu Mustaq was directed by Mr Girish Kasaravalli. In his final assignment before retiring from service, Mr Vittala Murthy worked as Special Officer for Vishwa Kannada Sammelana, 2011 held at Belgaum. After his retirement from service in 2011, Mr Vittala Murthy has returned to his roots and is now a full time coffee planter. Apart from this he also writes a fortnightly column for the leading Kannada daily, Prajavani.

  • Bangalore, India

Madhu Nataraj - Kathak

Madhu Nataraj is a performer, choreographer, educator and arts entrepreneur. Madhu was chosen as one of India’s 50 young achiever’s by ' India Today’. She has received several awards, recent amongst which are the 'Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar' from the central Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Mohan Khokar Award for excellence in dance. She has also studied various movement disciplines like, Kalari Payattu, Thaang ta, Iyengar Yoga, Pedagogy, Body mind centering, and Folk Dances of India. Presented by prestigious organizations, such as the Sangeet Natak Akademi, zonal centers of the Government of India, ICCR (as a performing member of the Natya institute of Kathak & Choreography), Madhu has performed at various cultural centres at National and International dance festivals around India, UK, UAE, Eu-rope and USA. Apart from being on the panel of important Design and Academic institutions, she has been invited on many occasions to design programmes and Choreographic works for prestigious cultural organizations like the Arts council of Britain, Indian Cultural Heritage center, Dallas, London Arts, Shrishti school of Art, design & technology, Crafts council of India, IIT, to name a few. Her Kathak and contemporary Indian Dance performances have won her accolades from audiences and the media. Madhu also did her post graduation in Journalism from the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.

  • Bangalore, India

Akanksha Badami - Devotional and Classical Singer

Started learning at the age of 3 from her mother Vidushi Bina Badami.Hindusthani classical music from Vidushi Sneha Hampiholi. Light music and Playback singing trained by Playback singer Manjula Gururaj at Sadhana Music School.She has sung for various Devotional Cd’s, Bhaavageethe albums. Has sung in Vachana cassettes and CDs in many styles such as Qawali, Classical, and vachanas in Kannada, Hindi, English, San-skrit and French composed by Vidushi Bina Badami. Won the hearts of many as a Finalist in the famous musical reality show in SUVARNA channel’s CONFIDENT STAR SINGER where she was popularly called as “ROCK STAR”. Finalist of Garuda Mall’s VOICE OF BANGALORE Season-3.

  • India

Pt. Dr. Mruthunjay G. Shetter - Renowned Vocalist

Internationaly renowed vocalist Pt. Dr. Mruthunjay G. Shetter trained and shaped by Dr. Mallikarjun Mansur, Dr. Basavaraj Rajguru, Pt. Sangameshwar Gurav, Dr. Rajshekhar Mansur, Dr. B.D. Pathak, Dr. V.R. Athavale, Smt. Janki lyer, Pt. Prabhudev Sardar, Pt. K.G. Ghide, Prof. (Smt.) Sharada Hangal, Pt. Panchakshri Swaml Mattigatti. Blessed with a gifted sonorous and melodious voice, Dr. Shetter with his keen and visionary imagination and innovative bent of mind has mastered the Raagas. A gold medalist both at the graduate and post graduate examinations in Vocal, Dr. Shetter is a dedicated achiever and a very thorough performer. Many art circles organizations, institutions, associations, national and international clubs have felicitated him. Many honours and awards have been conferred on Dr. Mruthunjay Shetter. To name the few “Rastriya Gaurav award” New Delhi, “Sangeet Ratnakar” Chennai, “Swar Shree”, “Swar Sagar”, “Gaan Gandharav”, “Swar Bhaskar”, Sarang Dhareshwar”, “Apoorava Ninaadshree”, “Naad Ninaad”, “Raag Raja”, “Swar Shringar”, “Naad Tarang”, “Madhurswar”, “Sangeet Sudhakar”, “Gaan Kala Bhushan”, “Pandit Samman”, “Sarav Shreshta Puraskar”, etc. Press and media have appreciated him as “Really Talented” and “Versatile Genius”.

  • Hubli, India

Pt. Satish Hampiholi - Renowned Percussionist and Music Composer

For more than three decades, Pandit Satish Hampiholi has been a well-recognised table in the Hindustani music field. A musician-par-excellence with strong organizing skills, Pt.Satish Hampiholi is a familiar name in the cultural area. His simplicity and sincerity have endeared him to all music-lovers and admirers. Born in 1965 to sri Dattatreya and Smt. Shanta Bai at Hubli, Pt. Satish Hampiholi learnt tabla from the young age of eight under the guidance Pt. M.N.Kasturi. Later on Pt. Satish Hampiholi completed his graduation and obtained “VISHARAD” degree under the tutelage of Pandit Basavraj Bendigere. He was the Gold medalist in “VIDVAT” exams. Pandit Satish Hampiholi is A grade artist in AIR and Dooradarshan. He has provided able accompaniment on tabla to many senior and eminent artist. Pandit Satish Hampiholi was adjudged the “BEST TABLA PLAYER” at the annual music conference held at Bangalore Gayana Samaj in 1998. An artist of international repute, Pandit Satish Hampiholi established “SADGURU MUSIC ACADEMY” along with his vocalist wife Vidhushi Sneha Hampiholi and the gifted couple have been rendering yeoman service in their own way by encouraging and tutoring building artistes. They have mentored more than 150 students and trained them in vocal and instrumental music. In addition, Sadguru Music Acadamy under the leadership of Pandit Satish Hampiholi and Vidhushi Sneha Hampiholi, has been organizing 12-hours musical event like “Vachana Nirantara” and “Dasa Nirantara” every year. Pandit Satish Hampiholi is the recipient of several prestigious awards like “Sir M.Visveshwaraiah Navaratna” (2001), “Ranga Kalashree” (2006), “Ajanta Swarna Dampati” (2009), “Tabla Naada Sadaka” (2009), “Swara Kala Gourava” (2010).

  • Connecticut, USA

Malli Sannapanavar - Comedy, Drama

Malli Sannappanavar hails from place called kadaramandalagi (Near Byadagi/Ranebennur) in the south Indian state of Karnataka. Having grown up and studied in heavily Kannada speaking Davangere city, He is attracted to kannada cul-tural activities, kannada wrtings and kannada dramas. Malli is Computer Engineering graduate from Kuvempu university. Malli works as Director for the leading financial company in lower Manhattan New York City. Malli lives in Hamden CT with his 4 year old son Manav and 2 year old daughter Mansi and his wife Madhu. Some of his videos are being telecasted on popular TV Channels in karnataka. His latest videos includes "Internet Paramthma" and "Jailnalli paramathma" , "Yeddiyurappa too bittatte" , "Karnataka King Maker","Nithyananda Mahatmey" . Recently he released DVD of all his cartoons "Kannadamalli Masala Mix".

  • Texas, USA

Narasimha Kikkeri - Violin Player

Narasimha Kikkeri, inspired and encouraged by his parents Smt: Sathyavathi and Sri K.N. Rajarao began his violin training in carnatic music at an early age from Sri Srinivasa murthy and later pursued training from S Mahadevappa and MS Govindaswamy. Over the years Narasimha has been a frequent performer on All India Radio & TV stations and several academy concerts and represented India at the festival of India held in London and Russia. He has accompanied leading Indian artists T.N. Sheshagopalan, Dr T. Viswanathan, Dr Chitti Babu, N Ravikiran, Trichur V Ramachandran, R.K. Srikantan, Dr N Ramani to name a few. He has accompanied with Hindustani singer Rashid Khan during US tour along with CD releases. Kikkeri is well adapt playing with Western and JAZZ players and performed across USA and several universities. He has performed solo concerts frequently at several leading universities including Bloomington Indiana, Berkeley Boston, Cornel ,Oxford Miami, Cincinnati conservatory, UNT to name a few. In addition he has played several fusion concerts with Peter Van Matre, Glen Velez to name a few. He currently lives in Dallas with his family.

  • Texas, USA

Chi. Thirumalai Krishna

Krishna is a student of Vidwan Sri Poovalur Sriji. For his Arangetram in July 2013, he accompanied Vidwan Sri Saketharaman. Since then, he has been playing for numerous Aradhanas, concerts, and other music programs on a regular basis. During the 2013 December music festival, he played for many vidwans in India. Krishna is entering Jasper High School this fall. He also plays the Alto Saxophone and has earned numerous awards. He has been in the middle school All-Region Band’s top symphony for two years straight, organized by the prestigious TMEA.