From a half-burnt hut in Waravatti village on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border to the office of the All India Congress Committee on Akbar Road in New Delhi, Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge has come a long way. And from organising headload workers in the MSK Mill in Kalaburagi to being the trouble-shooter that the party high command relies on during internal fights in various Pradesh Congress units, he has seen it all.
Mr. Kharge was an infant when his hut in Waravatti was burnt in a riot in 1947. His father Mapanna Kharge relocated to Kalaburagi, then Gulbarga, after his house was set afire in a riot. Mapanna worked as a labourer in MSK mill and strove hard to educate his children. Former national-level hockey player of the erstwhile Nizam government, Mr. Kharge suffered a knee injury that still haunts him.
Mr. Kharge is man who knows many languages and his accent is distinctly Dakhani. He has won fans for his adage-laced speeches in the Lok Sabha. In one of his recent remarks he had said, “Bakrid mein Bachenge to Muharram mein nachenge” to make the point that his primary focus now was to put the party in order to face the general elections and not worry about the Congress internal power struggles if the party came to power.
A Buddhist by inclination, he had said in 2008 during the inauguration of the renovated Buddha Vihara in Bengaluru in 2008, “I don’t understand much of Buddhist philosophy. I only understand one thing. Buddha said that whatever you do comes back to you. If you do good things, good things will happen to you and if you do bad things, you will face the consequences. I have tried to live by this simple understanding of Buddha’s ideas.’‘