PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI writes: A man of great integrity and sincerity, immense courage, and public concern, K. Ramdas never hesitated from speaking his mind and acting according to his conscience.
We can say that about very few men.
The media usually called Ramdas a rationalist or socialist, or an activist, depending on the occasion. Recently, the title of Professor, too, was added to his name. For me, all that was secondary.
Ramdas was simply the finest human being I knew. He was someone I wanted to be when I grew up.
Memories are many since I have known him all my life. Perhaps the earliest has to be a day I spent with him 32 years ago. I was three. We walked from Gandhi Bhavan to his house in the University quarters, holding hands and talking about everything we saw.
I remember playing with him (and his mother, Manjamma, Ajji to us all) all evening, then reading some books and talking endlessly until my father came to pick me up the next morning.
That day began a conversation and friendship, to which differences in our age, life experience and occasionally views were no barriers. I was his student too, for a year in Maharaja’s College, where he was an immense presence for over thirty years, influencing generations of students with his probing questions and oratory.
His personality and public activism were examples to tens of thousands of his students and other youngsters who came into contact with him, in Mysore and all over Karnataka.
Ramdas taught me what it meant to be curious, imaginative and courageous. His infectious zest for life and travel would come forth invariably in every conversation. He inculcated in me a love for motorcycles, open roads and forests. We often chatted about the places we had recently visited. He liked my peripatetic life and advised me to be open to new possibilities and experiences.
Yesterday, I wrote a short piece for Vikranta Karnataka, lamenting the lack of support to M.S. Sathyu, who was threatened last week by the activists of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.
Mallana Gowda, a sub-editor at Vikranta Karnataka, after reading the piece, immediately called me and asked: “Sir, were you expecting Prof. Ramdas to make a statement supporting Sathyu?”
His question is indicative of what we had come to expect from Ramdas: to condemn unfairness, injustice and physical intimidation wherever he encountered it.
I responded by saying it is our duty to ensure an environment of fear and intimidation isn’t created in Mysore or anywhere, for that matter. But that’s a legacy Ramdas bequeathed to us all, to carry forward a fight for fairness and decency.
Ramdas wasn’t perfect. But he was a good man. And he was my friend. He will be missed.
Extremely sad to hear the demise of Ramdas Sir. My brother called me from Mysore sometime back to inform me of the sad news and the first thingI did was to log into landoflime.
Prithvi and I were his students in Maharaja’s college. I can never forget his strong voice and his sense of humour when he taught us drama. I have known Ramdas sir for more than 30 years when he was our neighbour on the university campus in Mysore. One distintive memory is the way he had looked after his private garden in the compound of his house.I remember some lovely roses and other flowere very neatly looked after.
I informed a class fellow of ours who studied with us in the college and now is my colleague in Jeddah and he too was sad learning about his death.
Prithvi, You are right, he will be missed.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Thanks for sharing this evocative piece. Even those who didn’t agree with Ramdas will miss his presence.
Somehow your story lacks credibility! At the age of three, you did all that and you can remember? Aren’t you a windbag of the first-class variety? Come on man, ole Ramdas will be aghast at your tribute!
haha, DB, well said. :)
“His question is indicative of what we had come to expect from Ramdas: to condemn unfairness, injustice and physical intimidation wherever he encountered it. I responded by saying it is our duty to ensure an environment of fear and intimidation isn’t created in Mysore or anywhere, for that matter. But that’s a legacy Ramdas bequeathed to us all, to carry forward a fight for fairness and decency.”
Yeah…rightly said…that’s what KRV is doing to ensure that all Kannadigas and their voices will not be intimidated or cowed down by threats from non-Kannadigas!
nice to run into you here. anyways, rather than the cut and paste job of my article on this site, i preferred your article. it is really lovely. as for the mention about your age, let me tell you that my not-yet-three year old niece not only talks about everything she sees, she is chatterbox with loads of memory. so i believe you entirely and so would anyone who knows a curious and intelligent child.
your article made ramdas come alive again for me. thanks for that.