This two-part tribute was published in December 1970 and January 1971 on the pages of Public Affairs, a monthly journal published by the Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs. —Editors
He had a reasonable awareness of astrology; he had belief too in it; so he examined his horoscope and used to say that the time was a cruel phase for him. But nobody believed it was this cruel.
One day, I quoted the following verse by poet Bhavabhūti to him.
बहिः सर्वाकारप्रगुणरमणीयं व्यवहरन्
पराभ्यूहस्थानान्यपि तनुतराणि स्थगयति
जनं विद्वानेकः सकलमभिसन्धाय कपटैः
तटस्थः स्वानर्थान्घटयति च मैौनं च भजते
[A “genius” indulges in every activity while making his adversaries unaware of even the minute flaws in his plans, he misleads others to think as though he is indifferent of the outcomes but gets the results in his favour, keeps himself silent too.]
सन्तोषं जनयेत् प्राज्ञः तदेवेश्वरपूजनम्
[The eminent should create joy for others, that is the same as the worship of Īśvara]
Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar attained fame in Kannada literature by his creative nonfiction writings and hundreds of stories that have humour as their mainstay. Among those writers whom the readers specifically identified as humorists, Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar and Na. Kasturi were the foremost. The characters that Gorur created several decades ago have remained enshrined in the hearts of readers even today; this bears testimony to the emotional richness in his writing.
Mirza never raised his voice in an argument. He did not use big words. He used to indicate his opinion in a single sentence. If the opponent did not accept his views, he would stop the debate, for he felt that it was pointless to continue.
Mirza became the Dewan in 1926. Many people had anticipated that appointment. Although I had not anticipated it, it came as no surprise to me. I wrote him a congratulatory letter. At the start of the letter I wrote, “Dear and Respected Sir.” Since he was now in a higher position, I had my reservations and doubts about maintaining the same leniencies as before.
I cannot say that Mirza Ismail was a gifted public speaker. He used to write down what he intended to convey at a gathering and read it out.
However, the style of his written English was beautiful; the kind that was in harmony with the conventions of the English language. Sentences used to be short and lucid. He chose words that were delicate and aesthetic. The letters he wrote to his friends would have light humour in them.
He used to correct drafts prepared by others in English and beautify them.
ಶಿಶಿರರ್ತುವನ್ನು ವರ್ಣಿಸುವ ಮುಂದಿನ ಪದ್ಯ ತನ್ನ ಚಮತ್ಕಾರದಿಂದ ಚೆಲುವೆನಿಸಿದೆ:
ಆನಂದಾದಿವ ರೋಮಹರ್ಷಣಮಯೋ ಭೀತ್ಯೇವ ಚೋದ್ವೇಪಥುಃ
ಕ್ರೋಧಾವೇಶವಶಾದ್ವಿಘೃಷ್ಟರದನಃ ಶೋಕೇನ ನಮ್ರಾನನಃ |
ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯೇಣ ಹಹೇತಿ ಜಲ್ಪಿತಪರಶ್ಚಾಯಂ ಜುಗುಪ್ಸಾವಶಾ-
ನ್ನಾಸಾಬದ್ಧಕರೋ ವಿಭಾತಿ ಶಿಶಿರಶ್ಚಾರಿತ್ರ್ಯವೈಚಿತ್ರ್ಯಭಾಕ್ || (ಕಾವ್ಯೋದ್ಯಾನಮ್, ಪು. ೧೩೦)