M.Y. Ghorpade: maharaja, minister & a lensman

It is one of life’s ironies that Bellary that is now the byword for mind-numbing, blood-curdling corruption of the Reddy brothers’ kind, also produced Murari Yeshwantrao Ghorpade, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 79.

Son of the erstwhile ruler of the kingdom of Sandur, which falls in what is now Bellary, M.Y. Ghorpade (seven-time MLA from Sandur) handled the finance and rural development ministries with aplomb, a stint which saw the State take a lead role in Panchayat Raj.

In a recent interview in the Economic Times, Ghorpade, chairman-emeritus of Sandur manganese and iron ores, reminisced on the horrific notoriety of his home-district:

“We have a strange reputation of following all the rules over the last 50 years. This corruption will finish us off. To see Sandur also not free from this makes me very, very sad. The mistake that was made was that small mines were distributed like toffees and chocolates. Now these people are not able to supervise operations or add value to the business.”

Unlike politicians of the Parappana Agrahara kind who spent their working days more as real estate brokers trying to gobble up every square inch possible, Ghorpade, did just the opposite some weeks ago: he offered to donate 150 acres that were part of his inheritance to nature conservation.

A Cambridge post-graduate in economics, Ghorpade was also an award-winning wildlife photographer, his black and white pictures winning several national and international prizes. In 1983, he becomes the first wildlife photographer in the world to be honoured with the prestigious International Award of Master Photographer.

Photograph: via Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A wise man sees not the same trees a fool does

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