|Shaswathi is a symbol of the cultural heritage of our country. It enshrines within its timelessness, poignant reminders of moments in time. Paint and glass, brass and wood, grain and scroll, parchment and lace, stone and straw, pay rich tributes to the joys of creativity of unsung lives of women who were caught up in toil or in the pain of sacrifice.
Shaswathi is the culmination of a vision to present to the world the intrinsic qualities and achievements of Indian women. The most significant aspect of Shaswathi is that it foregrounds the virtue of those women who are either not recognized or considered seriously by mainstream anthropologists, sociologists ,historians, art critics and museum curators who , generally speaking, pre- occupy themselves only within certain class and kind of individuals.
Shaswathi is the sanskrit name suggestive of an eternal spirit. It also happens to be one of the names of Parvathi who is the consort of Shiva, one of the main deities of the Hindu trinity. The name also helps us travel back in time and space by shaping a meeting between us and the great women philosopher of the vedic times, Shaswathi, the Brahmavadini. The simultaneity of consciousness established between the past and the present helps in dissolving many prejudices about the past. Shaswathi was established in 1974
THE LINEAGE OF INSPIRATION
Buried in the darkness of the past and the blinded by the dazzle of the present was Nanjanagudu Thirumalamba ,a child widow who fought all traditional biases and conflicts to emerge as the first woman writer, journalist, and social worker of Karnataka of the twentieth century. Thirumalamba was confined to oblivion until the second half of the century and her discovery there after was absolutely serendipitous. Shaswathi was conceived of as a tribute to the glorious achievements of Nanjanagudu Thirumalamba and the countless number of women who have been consigned to obscurity.
The emblem of Shaswathi is a peace of rare rose wood craft depicting the kamadhenu, venerated in Indian mythology as a divine cow with the wings of a bird and face of a woman. The wings symbolise her divine origin and the face is representative of motherly love and affection. Kamadhenu is the eternal mother, creator and preserver. The emblem of the museum personifies the essence of womenhood.
Shaswathi has the patronage of the Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust, established in 1942, widely known for its boundless generosity. The museum is located centrally in the campus and is supported by the trust that is headed by eminent educationists, industrialist and entrepreneurs of diverse hues.
Shaswathi exhibits include old Mysore- style paintings, dolls, photographs, household utensils, crochet works, cradles, needle machines, Pots and Ponds, Sewing Machines, Books, Manuscripts, Models, Garments, period Furniture Clocks, Paintings, Art and Craft pieces, Gramophone records, Sati Stones, Spinning Wheels and many other artefacts. There are several motives representing various social and religious movements given by the artists themselves.
Management and college instituted awards under the aegis of the Shashwathi museum:
Nanjanagudu Thirumalamba Award- For best Woman writer in any of the Indian languages including English. An Icon of Kamadhenu and cash prize is awarded.Sadoditha Award- For Woman Litterateur and activist. A citation and cash prize is awarded.
Karnataka Kalpavalli Award – For a woman social activist of Karnataka citation and cash prize is awarded.Gargi Award – For the Best Woman Teacher in Karnataka. A citation and cash prize is awarded.