Mysore tatayya image

Articles about Thathayya

1. The Greatest Patriot of Modern Mysore - Dr. D V Gundappa

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If it be proper to regard the spiritual value of a thing as higher than all its other values, it should be no exaggeration to describe Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya as the greatest among the patriots of modern Mysore. For it is he, more than any one else, that conceived and expounded the ideal of Mysore as a State—of Mysore as an object worthy of the especial love and service of all Mysoreans. He created this ideal for himself at the re-birth of the State-nearly half a century ago-and preached it through foul weather, as through fair, from the press and from the platform, in the school-room and in the council-hall. He watched over the safety and the honour of Mysore as though he were a sentinel appointed for that one purpose by the gods-so unslumberingly, so unweariedly. Dewan after Dewan had come and gone ; but this patriarch remained ever there, without resting, without wavering, keeping up a cry that was long ridiculed, long ignored, long defied.

Fearless and Loyal

There have undoubtedly been far cleverer men among us, men better endowed in intellect and scholarship and the arts of practical success. But another man as zealous, as steadfast, and as fearless in loyalty to the State-ideal, we have scarcely known yet. True it is that the late Sri H. V. Nanjundayya was a great Mysorean ; true also that Sir M. Visvesvaraya is the very sun of our heavens. But they were only the translators of his ideal. They, according to their opportu¬nities, fulfilled it in a manner that was beyond his powers; but the central inspiration of their policy was his. They came into the field long after him, and left it years ago, while he still continued there as ever. Government after Government recognized his voice and reckon¬ed with him, some times accepting, some times protesting. Batch after batch of popular repre¬sentatives had looked up to him for leadership, for encouragement, for protection in times of trial. Such a one cannot escape the first niche in the temple of the nation's history.

Lone Fighter

To subscribe to this estimate of him, one need not have approved of all the mutations of Sri Venkatakrishnayya's politics. They are details of only secondary importance. It was not Sri Venkatakrishnayya's good fortune to find a sufficiency of true public spirit and political judgement around him, so as to have his policy refined and perfected by the wisdom of fellow labourers in the field. This absence of compa¬nions in labour is nowhere such a misfortune as in the cheerless and infertile regions of public life in our country. A publicist here has to rely entirely upon his own unaided instinct for guidance. We have no political parties, with well-defined principles and well-kept loyalties. Those who take their public duties with any degree of seriousness are few indeed among us; and those who put themselves to any trouble to acquire the necessary information and insight are naturally fewer. As for purity and steadfast¬ness of purpose, one has to search as laboriously as for oases in Sahara. In such a country, a public man has got to be his own critic as well as encourager. Added to this is the fact that the Government, in its very composition, is one that cannot be depended upon either for unwavering friendliness towards non-official public workers or for consistency in its own ideals and policies; the publicist's sense of helplessness then becomes complete. Is there not some excuse for the publicist if, so circumstanced, he cannot always exhibit himself as the most amiable of mortals? Is there not something to be said for the man who compelled by a defiant Government to eat the bread of chagrin and by an unappreciative public to drink the potion of disappointment, could not help crying out in disturbing tones the bitterness of his anguish? Poor mortal, he should toil, starve, agonise, and be rediculed too!

The soundness of all our functioning—the soundness and efficiency, therefore, of our public press and public institutions—depends upon the soundness of our environment. Our civic sense, our patriotism, our concern for public weal, our readiness to support public causes, monetarily as well as morally—these make the atmosphere for the healthy growth of newspapers and public associations. With these forthcoming, Venkatakrishnayya would have been a hundred times happier and a thousand times more sought after man. In other countries, men with his record would not have been allowed remain without help and without following as he was. He did as much for Mysore as no one else had ever striven to do. What has Mysore done in return?

Sri Venkatakrishnayya filled many high roles—as educationist, social reformer, rationa-list, civic servant, philanthropist, litterateur. But his dominant note had always been that of teacher; not merely the teacher of this special subject or that, but the teacher of the ideals of life and conduct. It was given to him to supply the main inspiration of life to many generations of students; and it had also been given to him to hold aloft the torch of love of the State for generations of citizens. The school-room and the printing press had but been complementary, each to the other, in his hands, for the service of one great object-the progress and prestige of Mysore.

2. A TRUE HUMANITARIAN - N. Madhava Rau ex-Dewan of Mysore

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It was some 55 years ago when I went to Mysore as a junior officer of the civil service that I made the acquaintance of Mr. M. Venkatakrishnayya. He was already a leading figure in public life. Professionally and by personal predilection, he was an educationist, a journa¬list and a social worker, but it was his political activities that had brought him into State-wide prominence. By his opposition to some of the policies and administrative measures of Dewan Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, he had become the spokes¬man of a large section of intelligentsia of the State.

Sir K. Seshadri Iyer had, besides appointing a few non-Mysoreans to hold high official posts, instituted a Civil Service which was recruited, in part, on the results of a competitive examina¬tion open to the graduates of all Indian Univer¬sities. It happened that the candidates who obtained the top ranks in these examinations were, with few exceptions, non-Mysoreans. This system of recruitment was therefore resented in educated Mysorean circles as being unfair to "the children of the soil." The slogan 'Mysore for Mysoreans' had been sometimes raised even in the days of the British Commission in Mysore; it now became the watch-word of a political agitation.

The competitive examinations were suspended for sometime, but when Mr. V. P. Madhva Rao came back to Mysore as Dewan, the system was revived and once again led to loud protest in political circles, The agitation subsided onlywhen Sir M. Visvesvaraya had the Civil Service Rules modified by providing that only persons born or domiciled in Mysore would in future be eligible for admission to the competitive exami¬nation.

Mr. Venkatakrishnaya played a leading role both in protesting against the civil service scheme in its original shape and in influencing Sir M. Visvesvaraya to modify it and conci¬liate native Mysorean sentiment.

Liberal Outlook

The group of politicians with which Mr. Venkatakrishnayya was associated held liberal views on the public questions of the day and they were often informally consulted by Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Their advice was helpful for formulating proposals for the reform of the Representative Assembly and its procedure. The separation of judicial and executive func¬tions had their whole-hearted support. And it was largely due to the influence of this group that lawyers were allowed freely to appear and plead in Revenue Courts.

During my second spell of residence in Mysore City (1924-26) as President of the City Munici¬pal Council, I had frequent occasions for meeting Mr. Venkatakrishnayya, who was then a member of that Council and of several civic bodies with which I was officially associated. The majority of members of the Municipal Council were non- Brahmins, while the Brahmin community was represented by a small but intelligent group. There was a clash between the two groups now and then; but thanks to the influence and good sense of leading members on both sides, no important decisions were taken purely on communal considerations. All the same, this alignment of the councillors on communal lines was a source of embarrass¬ment to the municipal executive.

The Brahmin group was generally helpful to the executive but there was one occasion, I remem¬ber, when they joined the other side and supported a charge of having made false bills against the Municipal Engineer. When the facts had been ascertained and it was found that nothing irregular had occurred and that the Engineer was perfectly blameless, the charge against him was quietly dropped at the next meeting. The councillors who had been loudest in attacking the Engineer looked shamefaced but it was Mr. Venkatakrishnayya alone who had the courage and the grace to apologise for having been misled and said harsh things about an innocent officer. In our public life such candour is all too rare.

Compassion for Underdog

The work of an elected Municipal Councillor is not ordinarily confined to participation in formal meetings in the Council Hall and Com¬mittee Room. He is often approached by his constituents to intercede on their behalf when they have some request or complaint to make to the Municipal executive. Mr. Venkatakrishnayya’s compassion for the underdog being well-known, his good offices were often sought and, in proper cases, readily given.

There is nothing wrong or unusual in an elected representative of the people in a Civic(or Legislative) body playing the role of an un-official Ombudsman ; but unless he is a man of principle and sound judgment, he may do more harm than good.

As stated already, Mr. Venkatakrishnayya's" main interests lay in educational and humani¬tarian work. The welfare of Mysore youth was his principal concern. It was an interesting sight to see him working in his house or walking along the road surrounded by a number of people, most of whom were his students or ex-students or proteges. To them, he was not only guide, philosoper and friend but also a kind of foster parent. The company brought to one's mind the concept of an old world ashram in which the Guru and Sishyas moved like the patriarch and members of a family.

One Would wish that in every university and important educational institution there were a number of teachers who (like Mr. Venkata¬krishnayya, though not at his level) earned the confidence and respect of their students by dint of their human sympathy and understanding of the adolescent mind. Their influence and example would go far to raise the tone of academic life and counteract the factors which are making student indiscipline a serious social problem.

The Anathalaya at Mysore is a standing monument to the memory of a man who devoted his life to the amelioration of young people, handicapped by poverty. To many such the Anathalaya offered a home and the opportunity to pursue their studies and make a decent start in life. It is pleasing to find that the founder's work is being carried on by the present mana¬gers of the institution with undiminished zeal and efficiency.


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The very mention of his name conjures up a vista of intense patriotic and political views and feelings which characterised the noble and humana Grand Old Man of Mysore. My contact with him goes back to the year 1885 when he was the Head Master of Marimallappa's Middle School located in the storied building in the Old Santhepet, a business centre, about a 100 yards from the present Devaraja Market. He had a number of devoted lieutenants who assisted him in his work. He was a man of indomitable courage of conviction and always ready to make any sacrifice, if it tended to the public good. Sri Venkatakrishnayya lived in his own house, "Padmalaya", right opposite to Sir Seshadri Iyer's house, and his journal was printed there. "That remarkable man" Lord as Curzon describ¬ed him, Sir Seshadri Iyer, once asked : "What does the local thunderer say?” They differed widely but yet each knew and appreciated the other's virtues.

Sri Venkatakrishnayya had a close and intimate knowledge of the British parliamentary system of government. He keenly felt that it would do India a lot of good if our country adopted it with such modifications which Indian conditions warranted.

Friend of Rangacharlu

He was an admirer of the late Sri Ranga¬charlu, the first Dewan of Mysore after the Rendition in 1881. Mr. Rangacharlu was a dynamic personality and he brought good many reforms in the state. Two of the many out¬standing instances are the setting up of a sound financial position and the establishment of the Representative Asssembly, the first representative institution in the whole of India. These two very important reforms were entirely after Sri Venkatakrishnayya's heart. The Repre¬sentative Assembly was characterised as a body of Mysoreans elected by the constituencies on sole grounds of merit, ability and trust-worthi¬ness. This institution gave Sri Venkatakrishna¬yya great satisfaction, as it was an instrument for solving public questions in the interest of the state, and opportunity was thus created for representatives of Government and the represen¬tatives of the people to meet as members of a family. A writer on political science said : "The state is a family writ large". They discussed freely and frankly all questions, whether they concerned the whole state or particular localities classifying them as major and minor problems facing the country. Sri Venkatakrishnayya was "the observed of all observers", as he played his role with telling effect.

Political Guru to Many

Sri Venktakrishnayya was a political guru to many budding young patriots. Many of them, in after years, distinguished themselves remarkab¬ly well as Lawyers, Judges, Politicians, Doctors, Journalists and Teachers. He thus laid a foundation for the study of public questions; needless to say, that this is an asset to any country and bound to survive long.

On account of many pre-occupations, he could not find sufficient time to look after the Marimallappa's High School which he started years ago. The Trustees of Marimallapa's charity, with his concurrence, requested the Government to lend the services of an educa¬tional officer to be the Head Master of the High School. The Government were pleased to order my deputation for a period of three years. Dur¬ing my Head Mastership, I tried to do what I could and after a few months Sri Venkatakrishnayya paid a visit to the school at my request and went round the school and expressed great satisfaction with what I had done and fixed the seal of his approval of the condition of the school.

He was a great friend of Sir P. N. Krishna Murthy, the Dewan, and Sri M. Shama Rao, Inspector General of Education. He gave valua¬ble suggestions and advice to both and did not hesitate to criticise when he deemed such criticism was quite necessary.

Maharaja's Solicitude

H. H.the late Maharaja Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar had great regard for Sri Venkatakrishnayya. On one occasion he learnt that Sri Abbas Khan, member of the Assembly, spoke roughly about Sri Venkatakrishnayya and that the Presi¬dent of the Assembly did not take serious notice of it. H.H. the Maharaja sent for Sir Mirza and expressed his feeling of disappointment at Sir Mirza's failure in not pulling up Sri Abbas Khan. Sri Venkatakrishnayya was invited by sending his car to bring him and apologised for the inci¬dent.

As a personal assistant and relative to Sir Krishna Murthy, I used to request Sri Venkata-krishnayya to dine with Sir Krishna Murthy. At dinner they discussed various questions that were important and thoroughly enjoyed the discussions. As a special officer for compulsory education for the whole state, I used to consult him and receive valuable guidance and was greatly profited by it. I close this brief sketch of one aspect of his multifarious services to humanity by quoting a sloka of special significance:
‘Yadyadaacharati shrestaa tattadevetare janaa|
Sayatpramaanam kurute lokastadanuvartate||

4. A Great Architect of Young Minds - D. LAKSHMANAIYA, M.A., BL.

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"Up-bringing and training at home are of as much importance as the education at school" was the grand old head-master's saying. Late Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya himself put this principle into practice wherever possible.

Both late Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya and my father, the late Sri D. Subbaiya, toiled in the field of education. My father worked in the Mysore Government Education Department as Head¬master in various places, as Inspector of Schools and as Deputy Director of Public Instruction. The Government lent his services to the Mysore Palace, where he was Tutor to Their Highnesses and the Princesses in the Zenana Girls' School, and he died in the middle of his service on 31-5-1898 without drawing any pension. At that time I was an infant-in-arms and my brother, the late Sri D. Ramaiya, a boy of ten. Our house is adjacethent to headmaster's house and to the west of it (called West End Cottage).

The generous headmaster lost no time in trying to dispel the gloom in our home and to bring courage and hope into the mind of my widowed mother and filling joy into the mind of my elder brother who had already become the headmaster's student. Of course, as soon as I was able to walk about, I too became the student of the headmaster. The headmaster now and then came to our house and in order to create a comfortable atmosphere at home he recommended my mother's (late Srimathi D. Lakshmamma's) case to the Palace and saw that she got a modest life pension from the Mysore Palace.

The principles of living infused by the head¬master into our minds bore good and lasting fruit. My brother became a B.A., LL,B and I am M.A.,B,L. But for the headmaster, our life-careers wouldhave been different. The headmaster always used to draw examples from the lives of illustrious persons and make us follow them. This worked in my mind and I took up English language and literature for my M.A. degree when the Mysore University was started.

Headmaster late Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya was a great architect; hi building materials were young and plastic minds.

5. A Many Dimensional Persinality - Prof K B Madhava

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I will put down a few remini¬scences which may serve to illustrate the range and earnestness of this hero, who filled and thrilled the public life of our country during the early years of this century.

Though familiarly known as the Grand Old Man of Mysore, the initials might well include Madras State also. Long before I entered Mysore University service, I had come to know of this great educationist, organiser, philan¬thropist and "vigilance commissioner", through men like Rev. Sawday, Dr. H. V. Nanjundiah, Mr. Karpur Shrinivas Rao and others, who were frequent visitors to Madras City and on whom I invariably called. I think too he was present in 1914 at the Madras Harbour when his sambandhi, Dr. C. B. Rama Rao, took charge of the Hospital ship, "Madras", during the First World War; but, it was in 1918 that I was formally introduced to him by "holeya" Gopala-swami at the Dusserah Tennis Tournament that was then being played in B. R. Krishnamachari's compound in Lakshmipuram, which was to be my house sometime later. The significance of this function is that it shows that this great man's interest in sports was no less keen than his more publicized activities in political, social and civic life.

A short time later, I was pushed on to the platform on an International Co-operators' Day by my friends, C. Narasimhiah, A. Krishna Rao and others and/as president of the meeting, Mr. Venkatakrishniah took special note of me, and desired me to serve on the Anathalaya Com¬mittee. He generously complimented me on our selection of candidates as in due course they turned out to be very good bets, to wit, S. L. N. Simha.

When the project of providing coaching classes to failed students was developed at the Sarada Vilas School, then housed in Landsdowne Bazaar, I offered to handle classes in sundry subjects including Telugu and French. The con¬tact with the Sarada Vilas School thus started, developed, so far as I was concerned, even into the inner circle with the "Old Man" calling me to check the building accounts as the new building at the edge of Weavers Lines was coming up under the supervision of my friends, Ayodhya Ramaswami Aiyar and Gargeswari Narayana Rao. This contact continued also into the next generation with my son, Srikrishna, now Assistant Commissioner for Milk with the Madras Government, insisting on studying at that School.

I cannot close this homage without confid¬ing that the last thing with which I used to close my every day's work during my stay in Mysore city was to read through his interesting daily news-sheet, which, indeed, served as theState's conscience cleanser.

6. A Pioneer and A Path-Finder - Smt. Kameswaramma Kuppuswamy

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The life of a reformer is not a bed of roses. It is full of hurdles and he has to struggle hard to realise his ideals. His greatness is realised in many cases only after his death and we pay our homage by erecting statues.

Till 1947 the country was under the yoke of the British who ruled for over two hundred years. A slave nation with no freedom whatsoever, denied of all political rights, could not assert itself. The masses were steeped in ignorance and poverty. At that time men like Sri Venkatakrishnayya devoted their lives to ameliorate the condi¬tion of the people and worked for the eradication of some of the prevailing social evils. In Andhra Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu, who is known as the Father of the Andhra Renaissance, was a great reformer who lived at the same time and died in 1919. Through his writings and by example all through his life, he worked for the eradication of social evils like caste system, idol worship, untouchability and fought for the education of girls and for the remarriage of widows. It was a horrible custom to have little girls married and many had to lead the lives of widows with shaven heads and treated as in-auspecious persons after their husbands died. Veeresalingam started a widows' home in Rajahmundry and started the widow remarriage move¬ment.

Our Tatayya was like that in Mysore. He was an embodiment of affection and tenderness towards those in suffering—widows and orphans. My marriage was not a traditional one. It was a reform marriage. Tatayya heard about us and would visit us as a father, to show his happiness over our boldness to be able to defy orthodoxy, Before I could know more of Venkatakrishnayya, he passed away. But the work he did is a living monument to the younger generation. I was connected with the Vocational Institute at Mysore which was started by Tatayya as a widows' home. The educational institutions he started and the journalistic field in which he worked have been a source of inspiration and they have grown as public enterprises.

Still we have so many problems even after Independence. Women's education is still lagg-ing behind in rural areas. Child marriages are still being performed in very backward commu-nities. We need more orphanages and homes for the disabled, the destitute and the old. The Government, which is committed to give protec¬tion to all and provide equal opportunities for education, employment, etc., have started the Social Welfare Department, Social Welfare Boards etc. But till people also realise their responsibilities and till voluntary effort comes forth, many of these social evils will remain unsolved The country needs countless dedicated workers to rebuild it.

Let us follow the path shown by reformers like Venkatakrishnayya and shed light wherever there is darkness.

7. A GREAT HEAD- MASTER - K T Ramaswamiengar

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Those words were put by Shakespeare into the mouth of a king who had to rule a country. The problems of governing a country are difficult. So too are the problems of a school. While the king is the lord of his subjects grown into man¬hood, the head-master is the lord of urchins, who grow to be the citizens of tomorrow. Overlordship has suffered with the growth of democracy. The actions of the head of a state are nowadays questioned. So too are those of a teacher. With the pupils none too obedient, with assistants who raise innumerable problems, with a society highly critical of the omissions and commissions of a head-master and with officers trying to prick holes in the administration rather than giving helpful guidance, the headmastership of a school is far from pleasant. At any rate, it is not a bed of roses. However, it is an important job which calls for courage, wisdom and honesty of pur-pose. It is a noble task, though a sorry trade. To be in it requires contentment, a conviction of its noble purpose, a strength of mind which is pre¬pared to make sacrifices in the interests of the country, and a great vision of building a new order of society, a new nation which pursues the path of truth and ahimsa. however difficult it may be. Every country has had at least a few head-masters of that outstanding aim, grit and integrity. And some have carved a place for themselves in the hearts of the people by their unstinted devotion to work, without fear or favour.

A bright star in the galaxy of headmasters, Dr. Arnold of Rugby, earned fame as a disciplinarian. Who has not heard of that famous book "Tom Brown's School Days" ? There one gets the interesting picture of the life of students in a residential school: a set of boisterous boys, so full of life, so mischievous, yet so obedient to their headmaster, who governed them with firm¬ness and love, and often converted clay into gold with the magic of his magnetism. The pupils liked their headmaster and revered him. One may be feared but to be revered one has to have admirable qualities of the head and heart. Dr. Arnold of Rugby had them in abundance. And the boys trained by such headmasters were the props of Great Britain in its efforts to administer a great and far-flung empire. Enough if it is said that such headmasters develop in their pupils a sense of courage and leadership. And these pupils inspired by these greatmen surely bring glory to their school and country.

Concern for the Poor

Now let us turn to our own country. Among the headmasters of old, one who was a great patriot and did something mighty to his school and country, is the Grand-Old-Man of Mysore, late Sri Venkatakrishnaiah. A tall, majestic man, who looked as if born to rule, was he. With a closecollared coat, a white pant, a white turban and bespectacled, he was for many years dominant figure of Mysore. He was the head¬master of a midddle school which later was converted into a high school and became known as the Marimallappa's High School. The school has a majestic and imposing building in the heart of the city. Venkatakrishnaiah was its first headmaster and taught English to sixth form now known as the tenth standard. His poetry teach-ing, it is said, was full of force and emotion and during those lessons he tried to put great thoughts into the mind of the pupils and inspire them. Those were days of 1910-1920, when the cost of living was cheap, incredibly cheap, only one over twenty of what it is today. Yet people were poor and could not afford to pay for the education of their children. Kind-hearted as Venkatakrishna¬iah was, he encouraged the poor and deserving boys to get admitted to the school and gave them free-ships, half-freeships and got for them scholar¬ships too. His sympathy for the poor was such that he started an Anathalaya in the Narayana Sastry Road and that is a monumental work which is perpetuating his name. Its motto is "Service to humanity is service to God". Poor and deserving boys are given food and shelter during their period of study.

Venkatakrishnaiah was stern too. If sever in aught, the love he bore to learning, the love he bore to a disciplined life, was in fault. Many a truant and mischief-monger had learnt to trace disasters in his face when caught red-handed, for they knew they would get a good drubbing. But the rascals never minded that, for the headmaster, the mercifulman that he was, would regret and pity the fellows in his heart of hearts and send them away with a packet of sweets and a warning, "do not repeat that again".

Encouragement to Sportsmen

Venkatakrishnaiah believed in sports and encouraged it in his pupils. Many a sportsman, who was extraordinarily good in sports, but not very good in studies, was attracted with conces-sions by the then headmasters, so that their institution might do well in sports. Venkata¬krishnaiah was no exception to the temptation. In fact his school was the strong-hold of talented sportsmen who minded sportsmanship and victory in the games much more than victory in the examinations,with the result that Marimallappa's School held its head high in sports.

The prestige of a teacher gets enhanced when besides being a teacher he is a speaker, writer, sportsman, a philanthropist, etecetra. In one word he must be a man of many parts. The Grand Old Man was versatile. He was a pioneer in the field of journalism and edited two Kannada papers and one English, namely ‘Samdabyudaya’, ‘Sadhvi’ and Wealth of Mysore. For trenchant views and interesting news, these papers were famous. Burning topics of the day relating to policies of the government and the local bodies would come in for his searching criticism. Educational policies of Dr. C. R. Reddy, who was then the Inspector General of Education, were severely criticised by him. Dr. Reddy, the charitable man that he was, never-theless had a great sense of regard for the old man.

Invariably Venkatakrishnaiah would preside over public-meetings, where he had an oppor¬tunity to display how much he knew. He often talked of two people, he two Dewans of Mysore, Rangacharlu and Seshadri Iyer. Our townhall it may be recalled, was built in memory of Rangacharlu who introduced beneficial reforms in administration. He criticised the policies of Seshadri Iyer as they were not in the interests of Mysoreans. Above all Venkatakrishnaiah was one who loved his pupils, loved his fellowmen, and loved his country. His patriotism was trans-parent in all that he said and did. It is no wonder that important persons who paid a visit to Mysore fixed up engagements with this fearless old man, to see him and discuss with him many a problem connected with Mysore. It was lucky that such a one ruled in a school, over the destinies of youngsters, who in their tender and impressiona¬ble age, had a model to adore in their head-master, who was in fact the model of Mysore. He was to them a guide, philosopher and friend. What more can we expect of a headmaster ?

Training for Leadership

One of the aims of Secondary Education is to train pupils for leadership. That is why the school must provide opportunities to the pupils to live life, to learn co-operation and decision-making. The environment to develop the head, heart and body must be provided in the school. How often have we not heard it said that "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the fields of Eton."? It means in other words that the pupils get the necessary experience in the school and on the playground, which helps them a great deal in later years when engaged in the battle of life India, which is now free, in order to preserve freedom, requires youngmen who have courage to shoulder the great responsibility They must be men of character, ability swift decision. They must be prepared to sacrifices without expectation of rewards even as India did during the days of non-cooperation under the great leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, The old man of Mysore did his mite in this direction by his great example and teaching to those pupils that came under his influence. His pupils adored him. Many in later life adorned important places in society with distinction. If today a monument has been raised opposite to the Lansdowne Buildings to the memory of this versatile man, an ocean of kindness, a maker of Mysore and affectionately called Tatiah, who during his life lived for Mysore, moved in Mysore and had his being in Mysore it is a fitting tribute to the memory of this greatman. It is a noble monument, so much like him. And in the words of Wordsworth. "Dull would he be of soul who could pass by a sight so touching in its majesty."

8. A Great Soul - Dr. M V KRISHNA RAO

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Long before I came to the Marimallappa's School at the tender age of eight, Tatayya was teaching in all the classes of the school. He appeared to my tender eyes a man of great learning, intrinsic greatness and generosity of character. Punctually at 11 a.m. he would come out of the room accompanied by his trusted ser¬vant, Bora, and sometimes by his office manager, Sri Rama Rao, and instruct them to supply the classes with chalk pieces and insist on prompt collection of fees and fines from students imposed for misbehaviour. The Head Master would take IV, V or Sixth form classes and would teach usually poetry and occasionally prose. As a student of VI form in 1913, I recall how Tatayya introduced us to the world of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Tennyson and explained to us the nuances of English idioms and words both through the medium of English and Kannada. In the class his absorption in the subject was contagious and students held to marvel at his trenchant insight and a well-balanced memory and intelligence which would neatly sift the essentials from the non-essentials and from the most controversial economic and political problems that faced the country. He had the occult faculty of historical divination of seeing historical objects in darkness and he could make a complete picture of separate fragments and show where the posts were missing. There were rapid digressions from poetry to biography, history and to problems of contemporory present; accordingly, he would not disect events as an anatomist disects bodies, for to him, culture was an organism and not a soulless body. He would give a wide sweep over centuries and discover useful clues for the benefit of the students so that history might be an introduction to the study of contemporary present.

Tatayya's faculty for remote inferences and for detecting implications in a statement, marvellous diction and fine presentation elicited the admira¬tion of the school. The inducements he offered to students to develop memory and other faculties were many. Once he fixed the time limit of 15 days for competitors to memorise Milton's "Paradise Lost" and the whole text was committed to memory within that short time and a few of us nearly succeeded in repeat¬ing the whole text and were amply and admir¬ingly rewarded by the Head Master and the staff for this feat of memory.


Tatayya was not a conformist and creature of the syllabus and the students had no idea of the subject on which he would talk any day. His main object was to stimulate interest in and capacity for original thinking. He believed in the expulsive power of ideas and encouraged love of knowledge and wide reading. Anandale Dictionary was freely used by the students on his advice and many of us had known almost the whole of that vocabulary before we left the school for the college. He was grave and impressive without becoming pompous or ponderous, and his very shadow filled the class room atmosphere with awe and reverence and his very word was like a small projectile hitting home.

Tatayya taught the High School classes as late as 1922 when he was seventyfive years of age and inspired respect for authority and discipline while maintaining his hold on their affection by his kindness and generosity. Students are more in need of models than critics and Tatayya furnished the model, and formed the manners, opinions and lives of the students. He lived with his pupils and his pupils lived with him imbibing lessons from him on the conduct of life.

Tatayya's deep, sweet, and childlike nature, his simple, unassuming and devastatingiy frank manner, his warm and unaffected friendship, his capacity to forgive generously, unquestioned personal integrity and high noble purpose have given him an honoured place in Mysore and outside.

Democrat at heart

Tata's mind never became rigid in the pursuit of doctrinaire teachings. He was at heart a democrat and hated all forms of domination and often used to say that nothing was more humiliating than the people of superior culture to serve their inferiors. He did not care for labels. He was fundamentally an honest man, plain, blunt and outspoken. His frankness was apt to be discon¬certing on occasions, for he rarely-masked his feelings under forms of conventions. His laughter from the brain and tears rippled from his heart, rang but occasionally his temper manifested itself in intolerance of the slow and the heavy footed resulting in heavy caning of the students, young and old, for he detested slackness, in¬efficiency and dilateriness.

Teaching in the school was regular and he never missed his classes inspite of heavy commit-merits in public life, in the municipal administration offices, and in the Legislatures of the country, and above all, in running his popular dailies, Wealth of Mysore and others. He was very much in demand by the associations literary and medical, and the people of Mysore and he spoke on various subjects in different institutions and was listened to lovingly and with admiration by the hearers. He spoke with the accent of great teachers and on such occasions he appealed to our younger eyes as the spirit which had once looked on truth, in the wake of some divinity in the ideal world, now seeking on earth the awakening intelligence most apt to follow; and thus to fashion such young lives to greatness after the likeness of their own titular diety. A strain of beauty and tenderness seemed to float the wind away when he was going out of the hall after a great and fighting speech.

No Littleness of Soul

His relationships with the officers of Govern¬ment were usually cordial, though he never spared them for their slackness, inefficiency and dilatoriness. His papers, 'Sampadabhyudaya,' and 'Sadhvi', fearlessly exposed the ineptitudes of bureaucracy, the bitter taunts and insults of office, law delays, pedantry and the waste of energy that belongs to the frictions of Govern-ment duties. He had not that littleness of soul which cannot see beyond a certain point and if it does not occupy the whole space feel itself excluded. He was never accused by the public of sneering at others, that infallible sign of an innate vulgarity of spirit that waits only for an opportunity to do that which will render it despicable.

For the sake of pleasant social relations there is usually too much of forswearing of independent thought but Tatayya never made any compro¬mises for the sake of advantage or social ease, and was his own undiluted self in all sorroundings. He Compelled high regard from Dewans like Sir Seshadri Iyer, Sir Ananda Rao, Sir M Visvesvaraya and Sir M. Kantharaja Urs, without any surrender in exchange of anything which he deemed precious. He did not agree on policy and procedure of Government on many points with either the bureaucracy or the Dewan. He had cultivated the great art of agreeing to differ. He had a lot of admirers drawn from dissimilar camps.

The habits of bureaucracy die hard, and their complacency of egoism is quite alien to a habit of mind of the order of people like Tatayya who had to build up with strenuous strains a resolute virtue, what Plato calls, "an iron sense of truth and of right" to which others, by effort might attain. A selfish or a timid man might shrink from such a responsibility as this, a vain man might degrade it by supporting mere favourites and advocating mere crotechets of his own.

Service at any Cost

Tatayya's one great anxiety was to serve the school and other institutions he built up, and by serving them to endeavour and to prompt within them a vitality which should secure the institu¬tions as a great shelter for men of talent drawn from among very different traditions of thought and belief who could become concious of original power and who could learn from the institutions the spirit of thoroughness, disdain of all preten¬sions, and develop respect for conscious effort.

The coniman man in Mysore, like his brothren in the rest of India, has never so much politically advanced as to be able to form his own inde¬pendent opinion on any great question. Accord¬ingly the responsibility of the press was, very great for moulding public opinion. The agitation for freedom had to be encouraged ; people had to be continually reminded of their rights; public enthusiasm had to be kept up and their spirit aroused in any just cause; at the same time the editor, who was the Socratic midwife was required to be vigilant about the proper course that it would take and be very wary with regard to any excesses or lapses that occurred which he had to condemn in unequivocal language and at the same time counsel moderation. He was always on the side of what he believed to be right and just and fearlessly opposed wrong or injustice, wherever he found them.

With a Government not always sympathetic with a public artificially divided for political purposes into different sections, a great national movement for freedom would have been a tough course, likewise a paper devoted to the national cause. A free press is a natural concomitant of free institutions and accordingly from its very nature antagonistic to despotic rule and above all to foreign domination. The motto of several papers of the day was liberty of the press as the palladium of civil, political and religious rights of the Indian; the criticism of the administration was the cardinal feature of the papers whose method of examination of Governmental measures was highly commended by enlightened servants of Government and non-official public. The editors by frank comments and criticism of Government policy gradually built a pattern of public opinion which was to fortify the national demand for self-government later.

Tatayya was a born fighter for the freedom of the country from foreign domination and the release of the individual from trammels of autho¬rity. As a member of the Representative Assembly, as early as 1893 in its October session, Tatayya raised certain very important points which referr¬ed to property qualifications of the members; and he demanded that property qualifications should be lowered; the different interests such as commer¬cial, manufacturing and other interests should also be adequately represented; the Government servants should be allowed to vote in the election of members for the Assembly ; more time should be allowed for discussion of subjects; the Assembly should be consulted in all cases before laws and regulations were passed; the Assembly should vote on the subjects discussed so that the sense of the Assembly might be ascertained on subjects of general interest at least; and His Highness should preside at the meeting of the Council. In Tatayya's opinion the Council as was constituted and worked then was almost exe¬cutive and it would be better if it were 'adminis¬trative', and he quoted Dewan Rangacharlu's address of 1882 in support of his proposal.

Liberty: Its Scope

As a great admirer of Gladstone and his liberalism, Tatayya had two things in mind when he talked of liberty: the first as concerned always with concrete issues and the attainment of concrete rights, viz., 'freedom to study classic lite¬rature in opposition to religious obscurantism,' right of private interpretation of sacred literature as opposed to the existing hierarchy and immu-nities of the subject in opposition to the aggrandisement of authority and personal despotism; the second meaning of liberty as referring to a 'state of human happiness,' as an escape from the burdens and artificialities of civilisation. Liberty is not only a gift of nature, but a human achievement, not a mere freedom from restraint but an outcome of culture and means to culture, a method of expression of personality and rising in the hierarchy of values in society. Tatayya always spoke on public plat¬forms and wrote in the daily newspapers empha¬sising the importance of a general philosophy of life and of the psychological and historical facts that formed the background of national liberty.

Liberty to him was not dull legalistic, discuss¬ed or slapsodical accounts of heroic battles for freedom, nor as something existing as a thing in itself in a sort of vacuum or that an innocent and a pressed humanity knowing well what liberty meant has progressively emancipate itself from unjustifiable tyranny. It is not romantic notion as a natural right, but is a rational achievement. Tatayya was a liberal who believed in evolution rather than in short cuts'or revolution and in that sense only reconciled democratic way of life with liberty. He used to make clear the incompatible presuppositions which lay behind the traditional uses of the terms liberty and democracy and used to show that liberty had certain necessary relations to a definite and growing type of culture.

No Opportunist

Tatayya used to talk in the class rooms and on platforms of the lives of Gladstone, Mazzini, Garibaldi and other great philosophers and statesmen. The lofty disinterestedness and freedom from every personal ambition that characterised Mazzini, characterised the old man also whose message to the world was a life separated from all self-seeking and dedication to duty. He was no opportunist and at no time did he make an appeal to the base in man; great ideas create great peoples, enlarge the horizon of the people, liberate their conscience from the materialism by which it is weighed down, set a vast mission before them, rebaptise them. Tata¬yya believed that the people would respond to the most exalted apostolate of ideas, and to the preaching of a message, not of rights but of duties. Analysis must give place to synthesis, individualism to the idea of humanity.

Tatayya was an uncompromising enemy of arbitrary rule, and of tyranny be that of an individual or of Government. He breathed fire through the columns of the daily 'Sampad Abhyudaya'; and letters from the Residency, (September, 1923) contemplated prosecution under section 124 A, I.P.C., indicating that the object of the recent series of articles was to hold up the present government in India to hatred and contempt.

Follower of Gandhi

Tatayya was an great admirer and follower of Mahatma Gandhi. His writings during the years 1918 to 1924 were provocative, inflammatory and seditious. He dipped his pen in acid and not in ink and greatly suffered at the hands of the Residency. Mr. Barton and Mr. Cater were keen on punishing him because the aim of Sampad Abhyudaya was throughout to slander the imperial government and bring it into contempt. India is quite conscious of the bless¬ings of British connection, but she is also conscious of the wrongs heaped upon her sons by the British Empire. India is disarmed, is impoverished ; India is reduced to the condition of helpless mendicancy. Is she to kiss the boots that kick her ? Writing in Mysore Patriot on the Malabar Riots and the Indian Reforms Act he stated that 'a humane autocrat is far preferable to a heartless democrat'. Tatayya wrote very strong articles on Medical Education in India, Indian Students in England, Indian National Congress, recruitment to administrative services, Prince of Wales' visit to India and on a number of subjects which challenge popular attention. 'The Jingo rulers in India are now unparalleled antocrats ; they have driven the people to become unparalleled extremists'. A Residency letter dated 22nd February 1922 informed that the Durbar should withdraw the Palace pension of the Editor on the ground of violent criticism of government, and it noted that "a small group of the State, mostly Brahmins, irritated by the Miller Report, are preparing the soil for revolu¬tion in Mysore. That is the ultimate object and there is no blinking the fact."

Tatayya's reaction on the withdrawal of the Palace pension is significant and requires quoting in full. "Loyalty and gratitude do not consist in silly, stupid and implicit obedience to orders given without any foresight. The defects of those whom we love should be pointed out and every effort should be made to get wrongs nearly 50 years I served the State and loyally. I see that I can no longer do so. 1 see the hand of the Residency in this uncomfortable situation. If the Government of Mysore and Mr.Barton, the Resident, their friend, philosopher and guide, are bent upon a policy of unjustice and unfair pinpricks, I shall retire from the field of governing the policy of the papers arid bid you and the Mysore Government good bye."

Tatayya's was uncompromising in his survey and scrutiny of public activities and the iniquity of governmental policy. Sir Lesley Miller, C. R, Reddy, Lord and Lady Willingdon, the evil do¬ings of Christian missionaries, Sri Mirza Ismail and his administration, communal representation, Abbas Khan and Ganapati episode, Visvesvataya Committee did not escape the searhing analysis without bitterness, of Tatayya during the last years of his life. Prajamitra, Lokahitaishi, the Mysore Patriot and Sampad Abhyudaya and Sadvi papers were the foremost in the State giving accounts of social and political activities of Mysore and larger India and a fair criticism of administrative acts in the interest of the State.

Always For Peace

Tatayya had a syncretic vision, an absolute consciousness of personality, creative boldness and a real political wisdom in the service of Mysore, India and mankind. He aspired always for peace and goodwill and always sought to widen the horizons of human freedom. Pursued and prosecuted, freed or threatened with im¬prisonment alone and in full exercise of his power, his life was an example of confidence, rectitude and rigoruous discipline. There was in him the combination of force with prudence and national pride for a great country and its culture with the personal humanity of a single man.

Tatayya over a period of sixty years was the builder of the State of Mysore along with Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the fountain of its idealism, the exemplar of its magnanimity and the preserve of its internal unity. He was born great and he did not struggle up to his heights from humble and unlovely beginnings. His racial inheritances and cultural opportunities were as strong and and fine as any educated Brahmin could have, nothing is known of his early years, but there surrounds his career a legend of mature culture an impression of pursuing a steadfast aim in rea-lms of thought not included in the curriculum and an air of self-reliance untouched by eccentrisity or exclusiveness. He had a way of moving amid the things of the mind as if they had always been friends of his, and he knew where he was going with them. He reflected how to get things done after the fashion of his dreaming. He nurtured enthusiasm for mankind and saw himself as their servant. He thought that faith in man and freedom, was life's most substantial heroism and man should live on principles and act for immortality and not live by the way and act for expediency.

As a liberal, he fought for freedom of the individual, for education of woman, for restora-tion of rights, for redemption of the untoucha¬bles, amelioration of the suffering of widows, for employment of defectives, for starting of orphanages, for establishment of handicrafts institutes and a host of others besides. He was born to fight for the goodness which is at the heart of things and this ideal quickly grew into an objective of freedom social, economic and political.

Tatayya was a writter and had the impulse to write and talk. He was one of the formative forces of Kannada revival and desired to place knowledge of the world within the reach of the common man. His library was immense contain¬ing books in several European languages, and one wondered when he found time to read them. The temper of science influenced Tatayya's politics, for the spirit of science is necessarily liberal and undogmatic, and the habit of mind nourished by it is a vital element in the culture which is essential to liberty, for it is experimental rather than authoritarian and it communicates itself by reason rather than by coercion.

In his personal life there was a happy blend of many qualities not usually found in association-a rare social charm, quiet disgnity that matched an unaffected simplicity, graciousness and affability. Music had a command over his soul and wrapped him up in sweetness and light, He was destined by Nature like the cuckoo to have no sorrow in his song and no winter in his years but fate willed otherwise. He was not one man but a procession of men.

The contemplation of his career awakens in us a certain sadness; in grim integrity and resolute independence of his character, in the austerity and rigid industry of his life, in his friends and many enmities, there was some thing pathetic. There is a ring of sadness in the letter he wrote to His Highness in June 1929: 'I humbly assure Your Highness that in the conduct of the newspapers I shall ever abide by accepted standard of Journalism with a desire to promote public good and without ill will against any one. I respectfully beg to inform Your Highness that during the last sixty years I sold my lands, my house and everything that I had for the press and the papers'. There was no resting place in his life, and apparently no childhood or boyhood. One is reminded of Charles Bronte's lines:

When I am dead my dearest
Sing no song for me,
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady cypress tree
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dew drops wet
If thou wilt remember
If thou wilt forget

Tatayya survives in the hearts of his students in the growing knowledge of their children and in the affection of the good throughout the country. Stalwarts of his stature are fast becoming rare. the supreme sacrifice is the dedication of the individual to the service of humanity, to spirutualise the ineradicable instinct which draws man to man and makes society not a convention but a necessity; to transform the world into an equalitarian society, based on the sense of spiritual union, and gather together the scattered forces into a communion wide as human as and as deep as human need.

Disappointments and sufferings gave his life its consecration, and it unfolded itself like a tragedy in which in the end, the gloom was lightened by the mild radiance which shone forth from the nobility of suffering. To Tatayya life was a synthesis wherein differences lay concealed, and an analysis wherein differences were brought to life and ended with a deeper synthesis wherein the differences were unified.

9. A TRIBUTE - Sir Mirza Ismail

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If the name of Mr. Marimallappa is for ever identified with this School, another name is also closely associated with it. For a long period Mr. M. Venkatakrishnayya, "the Grand Old Man of Mysore", as he was affectionately known, ruled over this institution with silken reins, and to be near the place of his life's work, built himself a house on the opposite side of the road. For many years his familiar figure could be seen each day walking across the road to the school. We all know the very considerable part Mr. Venkatakrishnayya played for about half a century in the life of the State in more than one department. Today, I invite you to pay the tribute of respect and gratitude that is justly due to his memory as a headmaster who so closely associated himself with the school that it is impossible to think of it without recalling his name. It is true that in his later years he transferr¬ed his affections to the Benjamin of his old age, the Sharada Vilasa High School, and he was largely responsible for its existence and its high level of efficiency and its recognition at the hands of Government. But perhaps 'transfer' is too strong a word, for Marimallappa's School always retained an important place in his affections, and although his direct connection with the school was severed in the latter years of his life, his interest in its welfare was as strong as when he was its headmaster. There must be thousands scattered all over the State who will recall with feelings of affection and gratitude his relations with them when they were pupils in his institution, how he could readily combine discipline with liniency, deep affection with a capacity to rebuke and scold the delinquents.

(From speech delivered by Sir Mirza M. Ismail at the Founder's Day celebrations of the Marimallappa's School, Mysore, on Dec. 20, 1938),

10. An Intense Lover of Mysore - H V CHANDRASEKHARAYYA

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It is more than 48 years since my father Sri H. V, Nanjundayya died and at that time I was yet a student and hence I am not in a position to narrate any striking events depicting the works and relationships of these great men. But I know personally that Sri Venkatakrishnayya was our family friend and wellwisher and there was deep affection and love subsisting between him and my father, as also between them and Messrs. D. Venkataramayya, M. Shama Rao, M. S. Puttanna and Dr. T. V. Armugam Mudaliar and all these persons had an intense love of Mysore; when there was the cry Mysore for Mysoreans, these were all staunch supporters of that view. It is seen that sometime after 1909 when my father was elevated to the Executive Council of His Highness, when Sir T. Ananda Rao was the Dewan, I remember it was at the instance of Messrs. M. Venkata¬krishnayya and D. Venkataramayya that Sir M. Visvesvaraya was brought to the service of Mysore from Bombay service and I have a faint recollection, as it is more than 60 years back, that Sri Venkatakrishnayya wrote to my father at that time, to get back this distinguished Mysorean, who was serving abroad, to the service of Mysore. Again when the Mysore University was started and my father was the first Vice Chancellor, M. Venkatakrishnayya who was anxious to get back the distinguished Mysoreans who were serving abroad, has written a letter to my father, dated 30-12-1917 and therein he has recommended the case of one, Sri R. Tata, M.A, L.T., and in the letter he has stated, "It is not possible to find such combination in the Oriental Scholars of the present day. In addition to all these, he is a native of Mysore and I had the honour of owning him as a student in his younger days. The services of such eminent scholars should not be lost to the Province. I commend him to you and trust that you will kindly do all you can to secure his services to the Mysore University''.

Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya was not only the famous Headmaster of the famous Marimallappa's High School but was also a journalist of repute and was the proprietor of the English paper, "The Mysore Herald" and the Kannada paper "Vrittanta Chintamani". He was a fearless journalist and his out-spoken and frank criticism of the Government at that time was the direct cause of the passing of the Mysore Newspaper Regulation in 1908 and this fact is admitted by the Dewan in his submission note dated 29-3-1909 for he stated "..................the proposal was to revive a paper (Mysore Herald) the conduct of which under its former proprietors was one of the causes for the passing of the press Regulations". Sri Venkatakrishnayya, my father and Messrs. C. Srinivasa Rao and Shama Rao realised early the difficulties which the poorer members of the Brahmin community were experiencing in providing education for their children and to give relief to them, they organised and brought into existence, "The Brahmana Vidya Sahaya Sangha" which has done some good work.

11. An Unique Personality - H. SUBBA RAO

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Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya was born of poor parents, and all his life he was a poor man and yet Mysoreans honour him as they honour their Maharajas. While the Maharajas ruled our state, Tatayya ruled our hearts. Tatayya was an ordinary matriculate and in life he was an ordinary Head Master of a High School. But he had an extraordinary reputation. Hence everything about him is unique. In fact no other word in the English language comes to one's mind, when one thinks of the life and work of our dear Tatayya.

What then, is the secret of his greatness ? He had a heart that would melt at the sight of pain and poverty, but a heart that would rebel against injustice. For more than seventy years there was not a person in Mysore who did not approach him with a just grievance and which was not remedied through Tatayya's intervention. All his life, he was a journalist and his papers, both in English and Kannada, championed the cause of the oppressed and the underdog. He spoke through a thousand platforms pleading the case of the underdog. Long before the days when the National Congress of British India, as it was then called, was started, Tatayya had sown the seeds of freedom in the minds of the young men whom he taught. One of his great heroes was Garibaldi and his old students who sat at his feet, sixty years ago, cannot forget the impassioned plea that Tatayya so eloquently put forth for liberation of our country. Though Telugu was his mother-tongue he had written many books in Kannada, the language of our state. He was responsible for the spread of education of women at a time when it was considered a revolution in our society to send our girls to school. To him caste distiniction did not exist and in fact he was saying that there were two distinct castes—the rich and the poor.

It is said that greatness cannot be recognised by small minds. It is only a mountain that can catch the peaks of other mountains. Mahatma Gandhi called him Bhishmacharya as soon as he came in close contact with our Tatayya during his visit to Mysore. When Gurudev Tagore came to Mysore, he did not accept the invitation to be present at a drama enacted by Sri A. V_Varadachar, the greatest actor that Mysore ever produced. Then Tatayya intervened and Gurudev said that for the sake of Tatayya he would be present for half an hour only. To the glory of our actor, the Nobel Laurette sat for full three hours. A poor student whom Tatayya was feeding in his house passed his B.A., desired to read for law but he was absolutely too poor to study outside our state. Then Tattayya wrote a letter to Sir S. Radhakrishnan who was a professor in the Calcutta University to keep the poor boy in his house and help him in his higher education. There was prompt response from the philosopher and the student finished both his M.A. and B.L. in the three years he lived at the residence of Dr. Radhakrishnan. These are only a few of a large number of instances of the great regard and respect in which he was held by the greatest of our men in India.

The city of Mysore may be a small place in the State of Mysore which is itself a small part in India. And yet Mysore has the pride of producing a great man, whose one concern was to serve his fellowmen. May his life inspire the present and future generations to emulate the noblest example of our Dear Tattayya, whose life was one of long service and sacrifice.

12. Socrates of Mysore - G R JOSYER

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It is pleasant to be asked to write about one who holds such an unrivalled place in the history of public life in the State. It is on the other hand a somewhat hard task to do justice to the many virtues and many merits of the illustrious personage. I am perhaps the youngest friend of Mr. Venkatakrishnayya, my first formal acquaintance with him dating from somewhere in 1916, when he was seventy years old and I had just entered manhood. But long before, at the age when the personalities who play on the arena of a country's public life begin to dwell in the memory of its school-boys, his name had been registered in my juvenile mind as the ideal Headmaster and as the solitary patriot of this benighted State.

I recall my first sight of him, when one morning, my father took me while a little boy to "Padmalaya", and there I saw the moonlike Ingersoll face of the stalwart journalist, holding court with half-a-dozen interviewers who were scattered around. Later on, during the Bengal Partition agitation, when the school boys of Mysore used to hasten to Rangacharlu Hall in the evenings to hear the thundering outpourings of Mr. S. K. Nair, there was the inevitable tribune of the Mysoreans, and when the impressive Congressman designated him the 'Dadabhoy Naoroji' of Mysore, the audience used to be both pleased and charmed. Still some ten years later, when, in the closing years of under graduation, I used, despite public opinion and the dissuasion of acquaintances, to pass the evenings with Rai Bahadur A. Narasimha lyengar, Mr. Venkatakrishnayya used to drop in occasionally to talk over the Maharani's College Committee affairs. The two good men saw some merit and much demerit in each other, but they used to get on very well together when they met.

But my direct personal intercourse with Mr. Venkatakrishnayya begins, as I said, somewhere about 1916. Having said good-bye to the University, I was seated one evening with the late lamented Mr. V. N. Narasimha lyengar, at the balcony of "Anandashrama"—now no more the 'Abode of Joy' to his family—when Mr. Venkatakrishnayya and another gentleman hailed in sight and were shortly ushered in. He bore news of an interview with the Yuvaraja which he had that day, at which he had been commissioned to start a Civic and Social Activi¬ties Association, and to issue a monthly Social in his relations with them when they were pupils Magazine in that connection. He desired Mr. Narasimha lyengar to be the President, and for the Secretatyship, Mr. Narasimha lyengar sug¬gested my being paired with the Tribune of the people. henceforward for about a year we jogged along together as Joint Secretaries of the Civic and Social Progress Association and the First Mysore Civic and Social Conference, and. as co-Editors of the Mysore Social Review-Since then I have entertained great considera¬tion, sympathy and respect for the gallant old gentleman and have reason to think that the sentiments are fully requited.

Mr. Venkatakrishnayyais a singular persona¬lity in the history of contemporary Mysore. I have said above that some one had called him the Dadabhai Naoroji of Mysore. But he is not only the Dadabhai Naoroji, but also the Thomas Arnold, W. T. Stead, Lord Northcliffe, John Bull, Howard the Philanthropist, and the Socrates of Mysore! His activities in life were so varied and so full that each one of them would be enough to fill the life of an ordinary man ; and the blending of all of them in him, like the seven colours of the rainbow blending in the Sun, rendered his career extraordinarily imposing. His record as the Headmaster of a public school is unparalleled. Outside the State, work like that has been rewarded with a Rao Bahadur, as in the case of Rao Bahadur Appu Sastriar. As an Editor, he has to his credit a long and distinguished career of fifty years which is some¬thing phenomenal in the history of Journalism even in India as a whole. As a public man and the mighty exponent of the classic phrase, "Mysore for Mysoreans", he rendered yeoman service to a class of officers at one stage in administration of Mysore, and his staunch a fearless criticism of bureaucratic vandalism almost epic in its proportions. As a philanthro¬pist, who else is there in Mysore whose open heart gives its sympathy to every movement for the uplift of the poor and the downtrodden and whose active efforts make the existence of each one of them possible?

I remember hearing long ago that Mr. Venkatakrishnayya was an atheist! Perhaps God is kind to atheists! Braudlaugh and Ingersoll did not make a hash of their lives; their names have filled the world. So in Mysore, Dewans, titled men, proud aristocrats and millionaires have passed away ; but Mr. Venkatakrishnayya still reigns!

Love of work and love of country kept him young. The American poet's lines applied to him aptly :

"Call him not old whose visionary brain
Holds over the past its undivided reign ;
For him in vain envious seasons roll,
Who bears eternal summer in his soul."

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Thathayya birthday celebration and Website Launch about Thathayya at Sharadavilas Auditorium, Mysore on 11.5.2011. Read More


Mysore Thathayya Gallery

I hold a great respect in my heart for Sri Venkatakrishnayya’s efforts towards Public Service, eradication of discrimination among poor and backward classes of the Soceity. I would like to bestow upon him the title of ‘Bheeshma of Mysore’.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I am not secluded from the group of admirers who respect, appreciate Sri Venkatakrishnayya’s Patriotism, Public service and selflessness in contributing his life for the betterment of Soceity.

– Sir. M.Vishweshwarayya

Shri. Venkatakrishnayya is well known for his social activities in mysore and his dedicated life. He has done yeoman`s service for in the field of social service and education.

– Late Sri Chamaraja Odeyar, Maharaja of Mysore

If it be proper to regard the spiritual value of a thing as higher than all its other values, it should be no exaggeration to describe Sri M. Venkatakrishnayya as the greatest among the patriots of modern Mysore.

– Dr.D.V.Gundappa (DVG)
The Anathalaya website