Nijalingappa, Ramakrishna Hegde, Deve Gowda
Savitri Devi, P.Lankesh, Rajiv Tharanath
Ravi Kirloskar, T.A.Pai, Sunder Ram Shetty, Shankar Hegde, Narayanamurty
There is in Bangalore a core group of people who would do anything in their power to care for the old Bangalore and its ethos. Bangalore evokes such a deeply-felt nostalgia. There are so many reasons, historical, cultural and the finely woven fabric of a cosmopolitan air that nurtures diverse talents and finely-honed Bangalorean personality. Whoever comes to live in Bangalore gets drawn into this metamorphosis!
So, whenever I read about the old or the new Bangalore I get a bit excited also a bit emotional. The desire for the old heritage Bangalore sites take us back into a fine history of a region of India that is unique in its culture. The new Bangalore we all live here to witness is emerges into a powerful metropolis that is becoming the most discussed and talked about city inside and outside India. So, when I read the Chief Minister Dharam Singh’s comprehensive plan for Bangalore for the next 10 years it is exhilarating. The CM says the green belt of Bangalore, a prized asset no other city of India can boast about. It would shrink from 742 sq km to 474 now as “inevitable”, I felt sad. But then we have to be optimistic about the present and the future. Bangalore is capable of giving that optimism. That is the unique feature of this garden city of India. The city is growing in a roaring fashion! By 2010 the population of the city would touch 88 lakhs.
It is outgrowing the planned growth limits. Yet the plan provides to protect the natural valleys, water bodies, forests and national parks in its vicinity even if the comprehensive plan is put into action. That is good news.
Also I often read about the old Bangalore. In 1892, Bangalore was an unbelievably a backward town. In that year a plot of land measuring 30 ft. by 108 ft. was sold community-wise for rates from Rs.25 to Rs.50! Today you convert the figures into crores! So also the names of the many city wards and new towns that were coming up were named after the then Maharajas and the British residents and dewans of Mysore. So, we have cubbon Park, Russell market etc. So too the occupation-wise wards, upparapet, sale merchants, Cottonpet etc. Any way the old and the new Bangalore co-exist at many points and at many levels of society. I have become rather faster in my absorbing the Bangalorean ethos and I am for all practical purposes in my outlook an urban Bangalorean.
Bangalore and entrepreneurship
In fact, I am an incorrigible Bangalorean now! This might surprise my friends, inside and outside Bangalore!
Those who know me for years would imagine I am a typical Coimbatorean and I am! I have this Coimbatore trait, the native courage for entrepreneurship against all odds. The critical phrase is “against all odds”. Yes, in Coimbatore (CBE) we can see all sorts of entrepreneurial success stories! They would all make for a new type of entrepreneurial mythology! How can you find another G.D.Naidu? Or, one more remarkable man, the late R.Venkatasamay Naidu, the creator of South Indian Viscose and Madras Aluminium Company. I knew him so well, I became so close to him at one point of time and our friendship endured for so many years till he passed away. He, in my opinion, constituted all that makes for a quintessential Coimbatore entrepreneur! Courage, daring and a certain don’t-care ego! I was often dazzled by his sense of outrages and his raw courage to do things, if I can use the word, in a devilish way! I was young and inexperienced in the world of entrepreneurship and of course I had my own ego but when I met Naidu (in an ironical way, it was at the prompting of another man of great ego and a certain vision, the great barrister-turned-political activist and Indira Gandhi loyalist, the late Rajno Patel in Mumbai). One day Rajni Patel asked me when I met him in Mumbai for some other thing, whether I knew RVS (as Naidu was called by friends and the local public). I said yes, though at that point of time I hadn’t personally met him. So, the first thing when I returned to CBE the first thing I did was to call on Naidu. We fell in love, so to say, in the very first meeting. The rest, as we say, is history!
Now, why this much of preliminary for my nostalgia for the old Bangalore? Yes, Bangalore in a mythical way (that you have to wait to read my full autobiography!) shaped my own evolution into an entrepreneur and much more remarkable how I had fit into the transformation of Bangalore as an IT capital. Into the Silicon Valley of India. All my attempts to become an entrepreneur are, in a surprising way, tied to what I did whenever I visited Bangalore!
He first time I visited Bangalore was, I think, in the year in 1962. In those days ,Coimbatore was the destination for many Mysore university graduates, more so the English language graduates and they call came to Coimbatore and Tamil Nadu in search of teaching jobs in the English departments. Readers should not be shocked and surprised at what I am going to say about some of the great stars today. Mr.Narayanamurthy, the Infosys boss also had a Coimbatore link. One of the Mysore graduates who was teaching in Coimbatore was my long-time friend Prof.D.S.Gururaja Rao. Guru is none other than Narayanamurthy’s father’s sister’s son! Along with Guru was ,the late Prof.Sundar Raj who was teaching at the PSG college. Another ,now famous, name then was Prof.Rajiv Tharanath, the ….. mastero. He was teaching at Trichy. One more friend was the US-settled J.Dayanand. He was teaching at the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya. The founder of the Vidyalayala was none other than the first Education Minister of the independent India’s Madras Presidency, the late T.S.Avinashilingam Chettiar. In fact, there were too many old Mysore people in CBE, there is one long street in R.S.Puram populated only by Mysoreans. I knew so many of them!
In fact, Mr.Narayanamurthy himself, I remember vaguely I had met in Guru’s house where I was the most frequent visitor in those days. I think the year must be somewhere in the mid-Sixties when my school project was in its initial glory and I was already a known name in the Coimbatore society, more so in the education world. CBE, outsiders must know, then and less now, I would say, had some of the biggest industrial houses in South India and all of them had educational establishments. So, when I founded a high school, out of the blue, so to say, with no resources, except the landed property I donated, and I was just barely 27 and put vis a vis against mill owners and leaders like Avinashilingam Chettiar who knew Mahatama Gandhi so closely and was political very influential, everyone was surprised at my audacity to found a school in a record six months!
So, modesty forbids me to claim that I was a young hero in the midst of big industrial houses and the powerful political personalities! Coimbatore at one time had the largest number of Mercedes Benz cars and the big American ugly limousines! Here I am (though unusually educated at Santiniketan and Oxford) an young man with only lots of ambitions but outwardly nothing to stand apart!
I often trace the many troubles I underwent later in my life for having dared to do things against the current! So, one thing led to the other and my long life had been one of long struggle against so many mental and physical blocks I faced in the prevailing Indian ethos. With all our talk of spiritualism, morals etc. we, Indians are a very backward people, our minds are yet to be liberated from the many mental hang-ups, we worship authority in whatever form, we worship power, material wealth and we care very little for the precious human values, we have no sense of history and thus, we just see the surface of reality. Thus, I had from day one to do things in my way.
My friend Dayanand
Now, This Dayanad met me one day in Vidyalaya and we became friends and we used to spend days together in CBE whenever opportunities came our way. Once there was a marriage in his family and he invited me to Bangalore and that was how I first visited Bangalore. I was so impressed and the then very quiet Bangalore, more so the Cantonment area impressed me as if I was again in England! I enjoyed walking along the MG Road and enjoyed everything about the city. It was on this visit one day I chanced to enter an old book shop that is now famous as the Select Book Shop! So, one of my first gains was to get to know the founder of the shop, K.B.K.Rao. As Mr.K.K.S.Murthy, the present owner is now a friend for so many years and as I had already written about him, I leave the story at that.
Dayanand took me to so many places, I was put up at the Y.M.C.A, and we visited the cafes and the bars and some of the famous restaurants. I am sure we became acquainted with the Indian Coffee House and MTR and other established names. The Metro Bar, on MG Road was a famous landmark and I used to remember the first thing any outside visitor would do in Bangalore was to head to this Bar. We also did! There was the Blue Fox restaurant and many other names and company name plates. All gone and only memories remain. One day when I was standing in front of the tile-roofed Spencer Company premises, V.P.Menon (of the integration of states fame) drove in his large car and parked it on the opposite side! Today! The very buzzle and traffic congestion would make it hard to imagine those quiet and balmy atmosphere!
The next visit was when Guru and me became very thick friends and I was already a Member of the Madras Legislative Council (from the graduates constituency) and whenever Guru came to Bangalore I used to come along with him. It was sometime at this time Mr.Narayanamurthy had visited CBE and stayed with his aunt who was none other than my friend Guru Raja Rao’s mother! That small house in R.S.Puram on the Lokamanya Tilak East Road! How many years Guru had lived there! And how many days I had spent in that little house where I had spent some of my happiest moments in the cosy company of the most typical of the old Mysore etiquette and manners displayed by that family! Narayanamurthy had stayed in that humble dwelling for days, Guru recollects. It was said he too came for a job at the PSG college of technology! Now, Mr.Narayanamurthy is so famous and that is why I had brought these old memories in print! How history had changed! How the world had changed! PSG is still stuck in its grove. Infosys is now a giant of a name! That is how technological revolutions have been changing our lives.
Now, during this visit I had more friends in Bangalore. I met them in various ways and situations. Some were in humble jobs working in engineering companies and others in civil services. My own Santiniketan friend R.Jaganathan was an IPS officer. Some friends put me in my mind the idea of starting a precision engineering venture and in fact I went to register a name! Though the venture didn’t take off.
Again in the year 1974, my entrepreneurship idea took some definite shape. I wanted to put up a foundry unit (why I chose?) May be the SIPCOT people in Chennai put that idea in me and in Hosur I wanted to start thing unit. Hosur was also my favourite area as I polled almost 100 per cent votes in the then Salem part of my four-district constituency. So, I came to Bangalore to meet the late Ravi Kirloskar, then a big name in the industry circles and he was kind enough to spend time with me and as his own group’s Kirloskar Consultancy Services was my consultants he was particularly interested to see the venture went on stream smoothly. But the venture didn’t take off.
My next visit to Bangalore was sometime in 1978. This was the darkest period in my life! The enemies for me consisted of so many elements. Political enmities I cultivated as an independent-minded youngster on the Opposition bench, (the DMK under Mr.Karunanidhi was in its fresh upswing with Annadurai gone) saw me in full flush of enthusiasm! To change the world? I don’t know now!
Jealousies from my rural backwaters composed of so many strands of sociological curiosities!
Anyway, one day I arrived in Bangalore by train. I got down. I was holding a small bag. More than my outward appearance ,my inner mood was a troubled one. So, in this no-purpose-no-light ahead fashion I asked the auto rickshaw man to take me to the office of the Inspector General of Police! He was taken aback and he turned backward and had a look at me. Because I mentioned IG of Police he didn’t dare to take a second look and he drove away and dutifully dropped me at the outside. I asked him to drive into the compound. He flatly refused. Not only that. As soon as he got the money he drove past so furiously!
I went inside and enquired if there is Mr.R.Jagannathan I.P.S. I was under the impression he was already an IG. Yes, he was but he was somewhere else posted. But as soon as I mentioned his name, one person in full suit and coat caught me in a friendly gesture and he wanted to cultivate my friendship immediately! He was later to become my Bangalore companion whenever I was in the city. He was one Chikka Veeriah, that time a PRO in the Karnataka Agro-Industries Corporation. Now, I have lost touch with him. Somehow one curious thought : IPS officers in Karnataka have some reasons to feel happy that they become either famous or notorious! And the Tamil Nadu men attached to the Karnataka cadre excel in this! I hope I needn’t take the names here!
Very soon after my friend’s car came and took me from the place and I spent the night at my friend’s home as his guest. As I had mentioned I was in my low spirits and what we talked were old things, our Santiniketan days ,not his or my present preoccupations. In fact, I was also not clear about the purpose of my visit and I was unclear in my mind owing to some local troubles over my village school and other things.
The next day my friend asked me my plans and simply said I wanted to meet some of my old friends. He said: “Please take this car. It is at your disposal, use it as you want and come for dinner”. I thanked him and drove away in the police car with the red light on its hood and I felt as if I was in a different world I am not accustomed to. This friend is a no nonsense idealist to the core and he had no pretensions whatever. He didn’t care a hoot for the official pretensions. A very typical of a Santiniketanite and I found myself in such an elevated company of kindred spirits. So I drove to one friend located in the then distant Bannergatta Road to meet my friend, one Ananth. He was the brother of Prof.Sundar Raj who lived in Coimbatore and Ananth was surprised I drove into his compound in a police car! He called all his friends to show he was in a very different league! Ananath, where are you?
Sunder Ram Shetty
The next I visited the Vijaya Bank chairman in his office on the Residency Road. What was the purpose? How I knew him? There was a vague recollection that when the late Sundarram Shetty ,the founder and chairman of the bank was close to C.Subramaniam, the then Finance Minister and as I was also known to CS I had recommended tow Shetty girls who were living in CBE for jobs in the bank by prodding them to mention CS’s name! They did and succeeded. So, I had this vague feeling that he would be friendly to a CBE man and that too from CS community! In fact, all my assumptions were not based on any ground except my unclear mind that took me to Shetty. When I knocked at Shetty he was pleasantly surprised to see me in my khadi outfit, dhoti, kurta and ,as he might have noticed, not a typical client for him! Anyway, he gave me a pleasant smile and asked me about my work and he can do for me. I instinctly pulled out my modest few pages of the School Newsletter I was publishing for my school. He gave a look at the pages and asked me whether I wanted advertisements for the magazine. Yes, I said! He just pressed a bell and asked for Mayura, his personal secretary. A good looking girl appeared before him. He simply gave the magazine and said: “Give two pages of advertisement. Mayura went inside and after a few pauses Shetty called her again and wanted to see the tariff. Then, without a word he sent her away and saw me and gave me a friendly smile and said I was welcome to see him whenever I was in Bangalore!
I walked out of his office a bit enthused at this pleasant encounter with a man whom I knew as one who grew up from nothing to build and business empire! From then on Mr.Shetty became one of my heroes and I used to speak of him as one who came into my life at a particularly low spirit!
The next port of call was Mr. Shankar Hegde of “Hegde and Golay” watch company. I had heard about him before and in fact when I thought of meeting him I had heard that the Tatas were planning to enter the watch market and they thought of entering into the joint venture with him. This news was revealed to make by my Oxford friend Mr.Xerxes Desai who was then working with the Tata Press where I used to meet him whenever I was in Mumbai. That was quite frequent in those days! In fact, the deasi couple were both at Oxford and both were my good friends. And what I head about Hegde from my Bangalore friends too made me curious to meet this rather maverick and an old Socialist -turned industrialist. In those days Hegde was making lot of news and he was in a way seen as a new breed of Kannada entrepreneur. When I met him he at once caught hold of me and we went into a long discussion about our respective Socialist beliefs. Then, only I learnt he was a dare-devil type of a man who ventured to enter into a new territory, that of watch making which was till then a Swiss monopoly. In fact he picked up this skill when he was in Switzerland and he told me many of his adventures. He said he was a Socialist and did many things. This now sounds like what Narayanamurthy of Infosys says about his being a Socialist turned an entrepreneur!
I find too many prominent persons in Bangalore often proclaim themselves as Socialists! I don’t know why!
The point is Shankar Hegde became very friendly towards me and when I took leave of him he wont allow me to travel in the police car. He said: “I would drop me in my Benz, come on!”. So I went with him and he dropped me at my destination. From then on I used to call on him and we became a sort of kindred spirits! So, when I wanted to purchase a watch for my epope at home I insisted it has to be Hegde and Golay brand, come what may! So, Hegde and Golay watch I propagated! It was after many such encounters I came to know that Hegde was in trouble. He went through so many trials and tribulations! In fact, the Tatas also tied up with him and for some time there was this Hegde, Golay and Tata watch company! It was only years later the Tatas promoted the Titan watches and my friend, Xerxes Desai became its pointsman!
Once I met Hegde when I was waiting to call on the then Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde in his Vidhan Soudha office. He was also there, obviously to sort out his problems. This time also he insisted I travel in his Mercedes Benz! The last time I met him was by chance in Coimbatore town! Here too he insisted I travel with him in his Benz and he wanted to eat in a good restaurant. So, we went. This time he had brought his daughter along with him and he said he wanted her to study Kathakali dance and whether I knew any friends in Kerala. Of course he was pleasantly surprised to find that I was well-familiar with the Kerala Kalamandalam and I gave him all the references to my friends there. He was so pleased and after bidding goodbye they drove off towards Kerala!It was only later I found out all his troubles.
I met Ramakrishna Hegde for the first time, I think, in 1977 or 78 in New Delhi. Though I had heard of him earlier whenever I visited Bangalore I had not met him. Though I had already met the great S.Nijalingappa in Coimbatore in the house of the industrialist N.Mahalingam when he gave a dinner in his honour. I was invited to this dinner for the obvious fact that I was an MLC and also because Mr.Mahalingam knew that I had worked earlier under Kamajaraj in Delhi at the Jantar Mantar Road AICC office when the great leader was the undisputed Congress boss! Everyone who wanted to have some favour with Kamaraj used to approach me, more so those from the South, in particular from Tamil Nadu. Readers can guess or imagine those heady days of the Indian National Congress Party. Every Congress leader then was a leader in his own right! I was rubbing shoulders, so to say, with such giants of men like Atulya Ghosh( who first spotted me and gave me the assignment as the Party treasurer when the treasurer had real money, funds laboriously collected and accounted for!), Sadiq Ali (the Congress General Secretary), Morarji Desai (with whom I used to give company whenever he came to attend the Congress Working Committee meetings!) and others like the late Biren De who succeeded the great Biju Patnaik and many others (so many names to lits here) and more than Kamaraj (he would keep himself to his house for most of the time) it was Ghosh who lorded over the AICC affairs. It was also Ghosh everyone would come calling for so many favours. Those who wanted anything done with Kamaraj would approach me (imagining I was his pointsman in the AICC) and I used to visit Kamaraj every evening and it was the time I could get his ear!
So, it was in those days I remember I had seen the great Nijalingappa. Though I had never talked with him. Even when he came to Coimbatore it was a courtesy get-together and I only saw him from a distance. But I was fully aware of the Karnataka politics and I knew in particular that Ramakrishna Hegde and Veerendra Patil were his favourite younger leaders. So, for so many years when ever I was in Bangalore it was Patil I would telephone or try to contact and not Hegde whom I really didn’t know fully well.
Anyway, in the years in 1967-77, it was Chandrashekhar, the then fiery Socialist and Young Turk who was my sort of hero! More about the ex-PM elsewhere! Now, when I one day approached Chandra Shekhar when he was the Janata Party President at his 3, South Lane “kudil” he said: “Come to the office and your request (for some letter) would be done!”. So, I went. It was at the Janata Party office I met Ramakrishna Hegde face to face. In fact, when Chandrashekhar emerged out of his office along with me Hegde also came out from his office and standing in the mid-way Chandrashekhar told Hegde: “Meet my friend Mr…… He wants a letter. This is the gist… Please give him that… “Saying this Chandrashekhar went away. I don’t remember much what happened afterwards. Whether I got the letter or not. Anyway, years later, I think, in the year in the early 80s when Hegde became the Chief Minister I came from Coimbatore to see him. I met him at the “Krishna” office and in fact I was made to wait for long. Finally when I told his secretary I might come again, he prevented me to leave and made sure I saw Hegde that time. So, when I was usher in, Hegde was already standing and when he saw me he greeted me with his characteristic smile and made me at once feel at home! I had some projects. One was that I had published (Vikas) a book on a Santiniketan artist, an unknown name (C.N.Vasudevan) but this Vasudevan had some connection with the great Karnataka artist Venkatappa. In the course of my researches I found Venkatappa’s great historic role in the evolution of modern Indian art and I thought the Karnataka Government could give me support to write a separate book on Venkatappa. Also, in the book I had finished there is a role of one Karnataka lady musician, the (unknown) late Savitri Devi. This lady also played a great historic role in the evolution of Rabindra Sangeeth! Tagore spotted the then Kannada girl when she was studying at the Theosophical school or college in Chennai. To cut the story short, Tagore took her along with him and Rabindra Sangeeth has so much of Carnatic raga-based. All this was owing to Savitri Devi! So, I thought I would ask Hegde government to support me to write about her. Also I had another thought. I wanted to write a biography of Chandrashekhar! Such was my belief in him then!
I am sure I might have mentioned all these things to Hegde! I don’t now recall! Anyway, he asked me to see his secretary (Gopal Reddy). It was when I was waiting to see this Reddy I also met the already great friend of mine, the Hegde of Hegde Golay!
Nothing came out of my first encounter with Hegde! But I was keeping in touch with him. I one day met him by chance at the Mumbai airport lounge where he was also held up. That gave me a good opportunity and we conversed for some time. This time I was well-equipped about him for my Delhi friend, the late Romesh Thapar of the Seminar magazine was a great admirer of Hegde. Thapar was a long- standing friend of mine. He used to say to me in those days: “Ramakrishna Hegde is the real alternative to Rajiv Gandhi!” Such was the high standing Hegde enjoyed at one point of time! Alas! How time lets you down!
Afterwards I sent Hegde a copy of m then published English book( a semi-autobiography of my Oxford years). He was at that time the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. There was a gracious letter of thanks from him soon after. Whenever I think of Hegde the right words that come to me are: “Here was a gentleman politician!”. Is he the last gentleman politician? Or, politician as a gentleman! Such was his polish, clear vision, courtesy and refined manner!
I have lots of things to say about Nijalingappa and Hegde and also about how politics had been played so dirty! It is thousand pities that thorough gentlemen like Nijalingappa and Hegde had to endure so much mispropaganda and so much personal insults from leaders whom we have to accept also as our leaders! That is the irony and ,why, the cruelty of politics!
Those years the late Sixties and Seventies saw Indian politics or started the Indian politics on the road to immoralities as means of making politics as “success”!
I remember Indira Gandhi years (as I was at the AICC in 1967) as the spring coming (myself and my friend Rudolf De Mello were the two Oxford-educated persons at the then AICC) and as it proved also the later Sixties when Indira Gandhi demolished Kamaraj and later Nijalingappa and split the Party, we all became thoroughly demoralised and left without any visionary purpose or ideological clarity.
In Bangalore I remember the late Gundu Rao setting his own agenda of rough and tough politics culture. It was at this time the IPS officers also played politics! So, the first thing the Ramakrishna Hegde government did was to suspend the IPS officer( D.R.Karthikeyan, a kinsman) for having played politics with Gundu Rao in the “selection” of Congress men for contesting elections through police verifying the authenticity of the Congressmen’s loyalties. I am sure this dirty trick politics was adopted to please Indira Gandhi. Or, it was Mrs.Gandhi who ,known for her paranoid suspicion of everybody who interacted with her. The subject needs a deeper study.
Anyway, the Congress split, the emergence of the Janata Party and later the Janata Dal are all milestones in the evolution of modern Indian politics. In particular the evolution of Congress politics through some dark patches. I also remember that the much-respected Veerendra Patil was also played football and how Rajiv Gandhi, in a graceless manner threw out Patil when he was convalescing from an illness. Very much like what he did to the famous “one-ana-coolie” the AP leader, Anjiah! And in contrast what Gundu Rao and his men like F.M.Khan did and how the police and other officials danced to Gundu Rao’s tunes!
This subject also needs a deeper investigation.
I remember talking to an IAS official who was also closely linked with my friend Guru. He was Secretary to Governor when the famous Congress split of 1969 took place. He was attending to Mrs.Gandhi at Raj Bhavan and he narrated how Mrs.Gandhi after she returned from the Lal Baugh Glass House meeting of the Congress Working Committee where she was out voted and Sanjeev Reddy was nominated for the President’s Office. She was restless, said this friend, and she didn’t sleep all the time and she was seen pacing her room in odd hours and she asked for some food at odd time and how this friend ran about to fulfill her wishes and early morning she caught the first flight to Delhi where she effected the famous somersault!
The outcome was a good man like Nijalingappa was made a scapegoat and much columny was heaped upon his fair name and the fair means he adopted. I am of the opinion that what Mrs.Gandhi did during those days, the unscrupulous and even crude methods she employed (one who was General Secretary and who helped to steal the Congress office file from Nijalingapp’s custody illegallly to hand over the same to Mrs.Gandhi later became the President himself! That is the irony and cruelty and sheer immoral character of power politics!
I am now jumping the years and come to 1978. This was the time when Deve Gowda became the Chief Minister. I was in Pichanur and my son was at Oxford. He was returning home and I was planning to launch my business ventures more directly from Bangalore. So, this time I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister saying that I am publishing an agriculture magazine and I like to interview him. The Brahmin secretary had told Gowda and I am an Oxford man and he wanted to meet the CM. So, an interview was granted and on the due date myself and my son presented themselves at the Belaupurie Guest House. Gowda impressed me by his directness to issues. He had the reputation of talking out openly the need for relaxing the laws so as to allow investments in new technologies like agro processing areas. That was also the time when Sharad Pawar was also the CM and he too talked in the same way. So, I thought these are the Chief Ministers India needed if we want to give the agri sector a new and a pragmatic change.
Also Gowda was magnanimous in giving my venture liberal support. So, I should say the Karnataka Government had given me the initial push to launch my agri media ventures. So, I would remain eternally grateful for what Gowda to me and to the Indian agri media sector.
It was also at this time or some time earlier I forget that I wanted to meet the late lamented highly talented writer P.Lankesh. My friend Rajeev Tharanath had then translated one novel (Kadu) into English. I read it and became interested in Kannada literature. So, here I was hearing of Lankesh for his unusual talents and his boldness to say his opinions fearlessly. So, one day I telephoned him and he called me in the evening. I met him in his Gandhi Bazaar office and we talked about many things. Alas! soon after he passed away and felt as if I lost one kindred soul. A writer must live like Lankesh, I often used to think. Girish Kaseravalli, the film maker also interested me and one day I called on him in his Rajaji Nagar residence.
Other writers: I knew Girish Karnad as soon as he returned to India and he was working as an Assistant Manager of OUP in Chennai. I was then already an MLC and a founder of education institution. Karnad invited me for dinner where he quizzed me about my activities. It was long before he blazed a new trail as a theatre person. Afterwards I lost touch with him, though I often see his appearances for various public causes. Fine!