Dr. Siddalingaiah: A stellar student and a dedicated activist
“What we shared was more than a teacher-student relationship. We were partners in social activism and took part in many movements through the 1970s and 1980s. And Siddalingaiah’s flair for language — be it poetry or prose — came to the fore during many of the agitations,” recalled Kalegowda Nagavar, who taught Dr. Siddalingaiah when the latter was an M.A. student at Bangalore University.
Describing Dr. Siddalingaiah as a good debater, Kalegowda Nagavar mentioned he first got here involved with him within the early Seventies in the course of the “Boosa Chalavali” and they remained in contact throughout subsequent years. His expertise for language and description of the residing circumstances of the downtrodden was such that the gathering of poems Holemadigara Haadu was printed when Siddalingaiah was nonetheless a student of Dr. Nagavar.
Among the various occasions that influenced Dr. Siddalingaiah was his interplay with the legendary Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, who was in Bengaluru a few months earlier than his dying in 1973. “But Siddalingaiah was among those beaten up by the right-wing activists of the day who were opposed to Ramaswamy,” recalled Dr. Nagavar, who together with the late author Poornachandra Tejaswi and different activists had taken the lead in inviting Ramaswamy to Bengaluru.
In subsequent years, the federal government was eager to nominate Tejaswi to the Upper House of legislature. But Tejaswi turned it down, and as did one other Dalit author and activist, Devanur Mahadeva. But Mr. Mahadeva instructed Dr. Siddalingaiah’s identify, saying his expertise for debate would turn out to be useful throughout discussions within the Council, and this was accepted by all, recalled Dr. Nagavar.