Born twelve years before independence, S. Settar, grew up playing on the sand bed of the Thungabhadra river, and studying in the Government village school at Hampasagara in Bellary district. His school education was completed in the Municipal high school at Hospete, and early college education at Bellary. His post-graduate education was completed in the Maharaja’s college, Mysore, and the Doctoral Researches in Karnataka University, and Cambridge University.
After teaching History, Art-history and Archaeology in Karnataka University at Dharwad for over thirty five years (1960-1996), he held the Chair of the Indian Council of Historical Research at New Delhi for three years (1997-2000), and since 2002, he has been a senior faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.
A bi-lingual writer, he has published about thirty books in Kannada and English, covering Art-history, Archaeology, History of Religions, History of Classical Kannada Language. His pioneering works are The Hoysala Temples in two volumes, Inviting Death and Pursuing Death in English language, and two volumes on the Ancient Kannada Script and Language. His ten volume series on the ancient writings of Kannada Language and Script is due for release in the coming November. His Sangham Tamilagham, a study of early Tamil and Kannada writings which has seen ten edition, and also received Central Sahitya Academy award, is believed to have contributed substantially for claiming Classical Status to Kannada Language.