Masti’s life was extremely organized; his work was meticulous, immaculate, and accurate; he kept a track of all his activities and an account of all his expenses. Once I happened to meet him in the bank and we got talking. He told me, “You know what, in the last forty years, I have spent —lakh and —thousand rupees for printing books. Until now, I have received —lakh and —thousand rupees from sales. I am left with books worth —lakhs.” Even his intake of food was temperate.
Upon completing my first year of high school (Fourth Form) at Mysore, I moved to Kolar for the second year (Fifth Form). After initial hardships in matters of boarding and lodging, I was able to set up boarding arrangement at one Venkataramayya’s residence, which was made possible by Ramadasappa’s munificence.
“There is a dire need for the rejuvenation of connoisseurship. The number of connoisseurs in the society must increase. The tastes and opinions of people need to be more cultured.” Rāḻḻapalli Ananthakrishna Sarma had expressed this concern during his presidential speech at the Āndhra Nāṭaka Kalāpariṣat at Nellore in 1938. To this day, after the passage of so many decades, his opinion is relevant, perhaps even more so.
Once again rumours flew thick and fast about Mirza Ismail when the Crown Prince died in Bombay (11 March 1940). Some people spread rumours that Mirza harboured contempt towards the crown prince and hence he didn’t show his respect during the funeral.
The people who resorted to such mischief gained nothing from such tales except that it caused deep agony to Mirza.
Poetry in Hosagannaḍa
Masti, who was inspired by the Hoysaḷa sculptures, wrote his early poems in Hosagannaḍa. Upon seeing this, T S Venkannayya remarked, “It has been more than three hundred years since something this original has been composed in Kannada.”
Not Bookish Scholarship
Mirza didn’t think of himself as an erudite scholar in polity. He was not too interested in the science of politics nor just theory. What he wanted was peace and contentment of the common people. He left the bookish knowledge to others.
Mirza Ismail opined that in every town or Hobli, a factory, a trading unit, or some other business should be established. He encouraged prominent people (to set up industries) by promising adequate support from the government. The opportunities thus provided were used by some; they were also misused by some.