Mirza’s Friendly Nature (Part 3)

Grasp of Subtlety

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.

When I raised a topic while giving a speech in the Legislative Council, Mirza would pay attention and speak a sentence. Immediately B K Garudachar, who was sitting beside me, used to pull the tail of my coat and make me sit by saying, “Ukkāru, ukkāru!” [“Sit! Sit!”] After asking him why, I said, “There were still points for me to convey. You stopped me!” He replied to me in Tamil, “That’s enough my boy, he has grasped your point. If you further stress on the point and speak, it might create other opinions. You made your point right? Leave it at that.” Garudachar knew well about Mirza’s sensitiveness and grasp of subtleties.

Speech should be just as much as is needed, not more. This was Mirza’s policy. Garudachar was also like that.

Open Arguments

In 1932, Mirza saheb had to visit London for the Round Table Conference. He wished to understand the opinion of the people and present the ones that he felt appropriate in the Conference; so he thought it would be valuable to organize a Representative Assembly in Bangalore. Among those who were invited to the Bangalore meeting, some of us decided to present our opinions to Mirza in written form and prepared a memorandum. It was read in the assembly by the late D S Mallappa. While he was reading that, Mirza Ismail and his colleague (co-legislator) Mathan asked questions. After Mallappa finished reading and took a seat, I stood up to speak. I started answering the questions posed by Mirza and Mathan. Mirza’s face reddened. Heated arguments started.

This has been described in The Hindu by the famous journalist Saint Nihal Singh, who was present at the gathering and was observing the proceedings.

Both Mirza and I were not happy with these open arguments.

Numerous instances such as this occurred.

The Mirza government formed a committee circa 1938 to recommend a suitable form of governance for Mysore. K R Srinivasa Iyengar was the Chairman of that committee. Rao Bahadur M C Ranga Iyengar, Smt. Rukminiyamma, S Hiriyannayya, N S Subba Rao, Mohammad Imam, and others were its members. The committee examined the matters for various months and submitted its report to the government. Although I too signed that report, I added a separate Appendix. My opinion was the following: the committee had to recommend the objective of a ‘Responsible Government’ in clear words. The government had to accept the system of ‘Responsible Government’ immediately and implement the same within ten to fifteen years.

Mirza was greatly displeased with the suggestion I offered. My suggestion was not considered.

Humanity

But there came a scenario that brought out Mirza’s pinnacle of humanity. I was suffering from disease on the day I signed the report. The very next day it was diagnosed as typhoid. I was admitted to Victoria Hospital. I was unconscious. From that time, Mirza was the first person to visit me every morning. On some days, he used to come on horseback and would inquire after my health stationed outside my ward’s window. I got this daily dose of happiness until I got discharged and came home.

~

Now I shall come to the last scene.

Mirza had retired. Mahārāja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar was about to make the announcement of the ‘Responsible Government.’

That day, a car came for me from Mirza’s residence, to take me there. It may have been around one or thirty minutes past one in the afternoon. By the time the car entered the gate of his bungalow and reached the entrance of his room, he was standing at the doorstep of his room to welcome me. As soon as I got down from the car, he came forward to shake my hand. He said with a broad smile on his face, “You must be the happiest man in the world today.”

I asked, “What’s the occasion?”

He said, “There – isn’t the radio audible? Śrīman-mahārāja is giving what you have been requesting for all these years. The ‘Responsible Government’ is here. Hasn’t that been your tapas?”

Those words appear in front of me almost every day and every second even to this day.

Concluded.

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

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