What Seetamma’s son could teach our netas

Two standout pieces of news from the papers today; stories that shine a light on the India id est Bharat.

Item #1: Pandit Basanna Konalli, a dalit boy hailing from Sarasamba village in Aland taluk of Gulbarga district, has overcome the early loss of his father, gut-wrenching poverty, and braved untouchability and other social hostilities, to bag seven—yes, seven—gold medals in MA (Kannada) in Gulbarga University. Basanna lost his father when he was in the seventh standard. The family neither owns land nor has a definite source of income. “We were required to make our living on my mother Seetamma‘s labour. My paternal uncle helped me a lot. But unfortunately he passed away a fortnight ago and is not here today to witness this glory,” said Basanna. He has bagged six gold medals for scoring the highest marks in MA (Kannada) and the seventh for scoring highest marks in MA Kannada linguistics/ comparative Dravidian linguistics. Basanna always had a fascination for Kannada language and literature. His intense love for the language has helped him get where he is today—and he now wants to complete his research and become a Kannada lecturer.

Item #2: Five of the 65 newly elected councillors of the Mysore City Corporation yesterday could not read the oath of office that was administered to them in Kannada. According to a report in Deccan Herald, Shakeel Ahmed of ward 38, M. Lakshmamma of ward 48, Syed Hasrathulla of ward 49, Ayaz Pasha of ward 54, and Sajidabi of ward 59, would not read the oath. “The election officer read it out for them and they reproduced it, and some of them found it difficult to do even that too,” reads the report. A report in The Hindu says that the regional commissioner announced that any councillor who could not read would receive help.