RASHTRARATHNA KENGAL HANUMANTHAIYA: D. Lingaiah; Godhooli Prakashana, No. 35, ‘Godhooli', 5th B cross, Syndicate Bank layout, Tunganagara, Bangalore-560091. Price: Rs.300.
The book attempts to record, with passion, the life and achievements of Kengal Hanumanthaiya, the legendary Chief Minister of what is now the State of Karnataka and the “architect” of the stunning marble edifice in Bangalore, the ‘Vidhana Soudha'.
Lingaiah has drawn heavily from Hanumanthaiya's personal diary, statements and general observations for his source material. The book begins with an account of Kengal's poverty-hit rural family background and his early education, and goes on to trace the trajectory of his rise in public life, gaining in stature in contemporary politics, both at the State and national levels.
The kind of influence national leaders had on Hanumanthaiya during the freedom struggle, his remarkable role as an administrator and, above all, his courage to speak out what he felt (witness: his remark “Jawaharlal Nehru is neither inevitable nor ultimate to the country's democracy”) are brought out effectively. The vicissitudes of his personal and political life also find due mention.
Lingaiah's writing style, characterised by a penchant for expressing his own sense of history, repeated special pleadings, and a fondness for rhetoric, has a dampening effect on his stated objective of presenting a “complete life history” of Hanumanthaiya. All this notwithstanding, the book contains a wealth of biographical information on one of Karnataka's illustrious political leaders that would be useful to students of history.