Mirza’s Friendly Nature (Part 1)

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.

At gatherings of friends, he would speak little. However, those few words would be immensely interesting.

He never used foul language. His body language and facial expressions were dignified. He never stooped to a pedestrian level. Even his humour was gentle and sweet, never boisterous.

Witty Nature

A member of the Representative Assembly once said in the flow of a speech, “If we do that like this and this like that, they will be ok.” Mirza asked, “What should be done for which and how?”

In 1947, when the new governments were formed in India, a friend went to Mirza’s house and said, “It appears that you’ve been given the position of the Governor. It is gladdening to know!”

At once, Mirza replied, “Yes. I am the Governor of No. 2, Ali Asker Road. ‘They’ did not give this – my father did!”

Referring to one of Mirza’s teachers, a friend once told him: “Your teacher is now practicing rituals and traditions of ancient times. He now talks about the earth being flat in stark contrast with the theory he used to teach about the earth being a sphere!”

Pat came the reply: “Yes, yes. Everyone has to search for a flat piece of land, six feet long and three feet wide, as one gets older!”

Felicitation

Several felicitation ceremonies were organized to honour Mirza Ismail. When the annual tax due from the Mysore Province to the Government of India was reduced owing to Mirza’s efforts, a few friends organized a party at a place called ‘Bamboo Island’ near the Museum.

The celebratory gathering that took place in Lal Bagh was far grander. Representatives from all parts of the Province had arrived. On that day, as soon as Chief Guest Mirza came near the entrance of Lal Bagh, the hosts welcomed him and took him on a procession. On that occasion, the British Resident [C M S] Fraser was next to him. The procession went eastward on a small road in the north flank and turned towards south in the corner. At that point, Mirza turned to me and said, “On this day, I have reached the pinnacle of my life. This is the right time for me to resign from my position. I should not desire much after I have received such appreciation from the masses. But Śrīman-mahārāja refuses to accept it. I have requested him to relieve me but he is asking me to reconsider. How can I abide by this?”

Thus he expressed his feelings. After the procession, the rest of the ceremony followed.

Love and Affection

I request your indulgence to share a personal experience of mine. When I was bed-ridden once, Mirza visited my house. My cough was severe and so I had refused to eat anything and was fasting.

Mirza sat on the edge of the bed on my cot and after enquiring about my health and learning from others that I had not eaten anything, he asked, “Is there milk at home? If so, please heat a little and bring it here.” They brought a bowl of milk from within. Mirza took it in his hands, held it near my mouth, and said, “You should drink this!”

I said, “I can’t have it. I don’t want it.”

“Unless this milk enters your stomach, I will not leave from here. You should drink this and go to sleep.”

Saying thus, he held the milk cup tightly to my lips. Such was his love towards me.

First Meeting

I got acquainted with Mirza saheb probably around 1915. Prior to that, Visvesvaraya had indicated that Mirza would be glad to meet me. But I had excused myself saying I did not have any work with him. After that, in the initial days of the opening of the Mysore University, one day Prof. B Venkatanaranappa came to my home and said, “The day before yesterday I had been to Mysore for the Senate’s session. Mirza Ismail had come there. He is also a member of Senate like me. When Mirza was a student at Central College, I was a lecturer there. Since then, he holds me in high regard. Mirza approached me and asked, ‘Do you know the chap who runs the Karnataka newspaper?’ I replied, ‘Yes, I know him very well.’ Mirza immediately said, ‘He writes well in English. It appears that he is young. I would like to meet him. Could you arrange for that?’ I assured him that I would gladly arrange for it. Now, you should help me fulfil my promise. You shouldn’t oppose this!”

I agreed and went to Mirza Ismail’s residence on the appointed day. His residence was in the Richmond Town area. It was called ‘Silver Oak Lodge.’ Silver Oak trees were in abundance both in the premises of his residence and in that street. That house was Mirza’s ancestral property.

I felt happy after that meeting. We hardly discussed anything of importance. No politics either. It was just casual talk. But the simplicity of his words, the friendly tone of his voice, the feeling of an existing intimacy, light humour – all these evoked a sense of joy in me. At that time, I never imagined that one day Mirza would go on to become the Dewan. I think he gifted me two books. Probably they were the two volumes of Modern Democracies, written by the famous political expert Lord James Bryce.

After this it became a regular practice for Mirza and me to write letters to each other once in a fortnight or once in twenty days. In those letters, we would have short discussions on topics related to polity, history, religion, art, and so forth.

When I visited Mysore, sometimes I used to meet him at his residence.

Thus grew our friendship.

To be continued...

This is the English translation of the fifteenth episode of Volume 4 (Dewans of Mysore) of the series 'Art Gallery of Memories'. 

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Shreehari has a master's degree (M.Tech) and works as an embedded software engineer in the automotive industry in Bengaluru. His interests are composing metrical verses in Kannada, literature, playing the flute, carnatic music, travelling, and sports adventure.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...

Yaugandharam

इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...

Vanitakavitotsavah

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...