Problems escalated when the leaders of the workers were fired on flimsy reasons. The cases went to the high court, the leaders requested Shastri to be a witness in the case. The administration didn’t budge and appointed the then famous criminal lawyer from Madras, Mr. Norton. Mr. Norton had a stellar record when it came to winning cases he argued and used to charge an exorbitant fee of ₹10000 per day. The case came under the bench headed by Singaravelu Mudaliar. Shastri was the main eyewitness who was to be cross examined.
One can hardly forget V Si.’s extraordinary oratory skills. It was a celebration just to listen to him speak – he was fluent in giving lectures both in English and Kannada. Both the subject matter of his talk and the beauty of his presentation enraptured the audience. Lucid speech, broadminded thoughts, deep and wide study – all these came together to make him an eloquent orator. Even when he was given a topic only a few minutes before he went on to the dais, he would lecture as though he was prepared to speak on the topic from a long time.
An Open Letter
Keeping the glory and successes achieved by the Mahārāja of Bikaner as a pretext, I wrote and published around ten or fifteen open letters concerning the politics of the indigenous provinces addressing them to him. (‘Problems of Indian Native States: Open Letters to His Highness The Maharaja of Bikaner’ – By A Mysorean.)
A compilation of these open letters published as a small book had been reviewed in the newspapers.
Cancellation of Sastri’s Lecture
It had been announced that V S Srinivasa Sastri—member of the Servants of India Society—who had come to Bangalore, would be delivering a lecture on the subject of ‘Education’ the very next evening (of the previous incident) or perhaps it was three days later. A thousand people came, in batches, to listen to that lecture – I was a witness to it.
Sitarama Shastri was a nominated member of the legislative assembly for a few years. He utilised that platform effectively to facilitate people-friendly measures. Only a handful could face him in a debate.
The Vampire of Doubts
V Si. had doubts at every step. “If I put it this way, this question crops up. If I say it that way, another question arises!” – This kind of uncertainty crept into his writings as well.
To this, DVG had said, “Questions keep popping up, but answers too must come up, right?”
I happen to recollect one such incident.
After V. P. Madhava Rao, Thanjavur Ananda Rao came to power as the Diwan. He was rich by birth and also possessed all the great attributes that a wealthy person should have. His father, Raja Sir. T. Madhava Rao, had been the Diwan of Baroda (Vadodara) and Travancore; He was well known as a person of remarkable intellect and competence. ‘Raja’ and ‘Sir’ were the titles conferred on him by the British Government. Sir. T. Madhava Rao served as the president of the Reception Committee at the first ever Congress session held in Madras.