B.D. Jatti birth centenary on Monday

B.D. Jatti (right) with Sir M. Visvesvaraya— File Photo  

Basappa Danappa Jatti, the fifth Vice-President of India and Acting President of India from February 11, 1977, to July 25, 1977, began his political career as a municipality member.

Born on September 10, 1912 in a Lingayat Banajiga family at Savalgi in Jamkhandi taluk of Bijapur district, Jatti entered politics in 1940 and was eventually elected to the Jamakhandi State Legislature.

To mark the birth centenary of B.D. Jatti, a programme has been organised at Basava Bhavan in Bangalore on Sunday.

His grandchildren Shekar Jatti and Shambhavi R. Jatti spoke to The Hindu about the time they spent with him.

Shekar Jatti, one of the grandsons of Mr. B.D. Jatti, described him as an “outstanding statesman”. “He was a man of simplicity and honesty. He did not get a single black mark during his political career. His discipline and punctuality greatly inspired me and we have tried to inculcate these good habits,” he told The Hindu on Saturday.

Pointing out that his grandfather sent them to Delhi Kannada School and not to any elite school, Mr. Shekar said: “This was to ensure that the children did not suffer from any delusion of being part of the privileged class.” “However, we were provided one luxury all through. We were dropped and picked up from the school in an ambassador car. Our pocket money used to be modest 50 paise a week”.

Recalling an incident, he said: “There were times when our inability to distinguish between guests created embarrassing situations. On one such occasion, I made a visitor wait in the portico for a long time as my grandfather was performing puja. It was only after my grandfather emerged from the puja room and asked me to apologise to the visitor that I realised the person who was kept waiting was none other than the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

His great granddaughter Shambhavi R. Jatti said she learnt about the struggles that her grandfather went through after reading his autobiography I Am My Own Model .

Recalling the time she spent with her great grandfather, Ms Shambhavi said: “He passed away in 2002 when I was seven. I remember the days when people dressed in white visited him with flowers, bouquets and sweets. The men dressed in white were none other than noted personalities like S.M. Krishna, L.K. Advani and H.D. Deve Gowda among others. My cousin Rajeev and I spent golden moments with my great grandparents and I truly cherish them.”