A road is all that remains in memory of Karnad Sadashiva Rao

Karnad Sadashiva Rao  

While Deshabhakta Karnad Sadashiva Rao, the veteran freedom fighter who built the Congress in the State, used all his wealth for the cause of humanity, the town where he grew up has nothing to offer in his remembrance, except a road named after him.

The road too, is called K.S. Rao Road with majority of Mangalureans perhaps remaining unaware of the full name and its significance. The house where Rao was born and brought up, adjacent to the road named after him, has vanished. A swanky building of South Canara District Central Cooperative (SCDCC) Bank — Utkrushta Sahakari Soudha — has come up in its place.

“I had planned to convert the house of Rao as a museum, when I was the president of DCC Bank (1976-80),” recalled nonagenarian Aerya Lakshminarayana Alva. “I had celebrated his birth centenary and had planned to take forward the plan. However, I had to quit the position on some principle,” Mr. Alva told The Hindu .

Bank founder Molahalli Shiva Rao had bought the house when it came up for auction. From then it was under the possession of the bank. “It was a spacious house with ground and first floor ( maalige ). Freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu and others, used to stay in that house during their visit to Mangaluru,” Mr. Alva said.

On asked why his successors did not implement the plan, Mr. Alva said he could not answer that question. “I quit as the president not after being defeated in the election; but on my own,” he said.

District Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Pradeep Kumar Kalkura said many Mangalureans had opposed demolition of the house. However, the opposition subsided as they were apprehensive of being branded anti-development.

Senior journalist Manohar Prasad said that Mahatma Gandhi had conferred upon Mr. Rao the title ‘Deshabhakta’. To his knowledge, the house was not in a good condition before it was pulled down to make way for the new building, Mr. Prasad said.

SCDCC Bank President M.N. Rajendra Kumar told The Hindu that he was not aware of bank’s earlier decision to convert Rao’s house into a museum. The premises had to be demolished to construct the new building.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 12:00:22 PM |

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