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My Life and Politics
Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa My Life and Politics : Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170944236)
Pages: 192
Price: Rs. 395
Format: Hardcover
ISBN13/10: / 8170944236
Availability: Yes
Published in 2000
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This is a deceptively simple autobiographical account of one of independent India’s most respected political leaders.

Documenting events which made history in twentieth century India with a clear-eyed assessment, Nijlingappa recreates an era when politics was imbued with the ideal and passion of the freedom struggle and a galaxy of visionary political leaders shaped the destiny of India. Nijalingappa’s life-story also spans the last quarter of the twentieth century when, in striking contrast, relative pygmies pre-occupied with self-interest took political centre-stage.

Born in a poor village family in Karnataka, Nijalingappa became a successful advocate by dint of hard work and long struggle. He was one of the early leaders of Mysore Congress. His political activism eventually led to his imprisonment and disbarment from legal practice.

Then followed a tumultuous political career of ups and downs for the next several decades as he grew to national stature and a powerful player in Congress politics. Nijalingappa served variously as president of Mysore Congress and a member of the historic Constituent Assembly which also crafted the Indian Constitution. Later, he became the first chief minister of the re-organised Mysore state in 1956.

Nijalingappa’s term as Congress president (1968-71) was marked by the historic Congress split when Indira Gandhi sought to become both the supreme political leader of the country and the undisputed overlord of the party. Nijalingappa lays bare the inner tug-of-war of this struggle. Nijalingappa has many other revealing tales to tell as well:

  • Why Nehru was the wrong choice to be India’s prime minister

  • How Lal Bahadur Shastri was secretly anointed as Nehru’s successor much before the latter’s death;

  • What prompted the election of Indira Gandhi as prime minister.

  • The infamous Emergency period

  • How Sanjeeva Reddy’s personal antipathy to Morarji Desai probably led to the premature collapse of the Janata Party government.

Nijalingappa holds that Indira Gandhi’s victory in 1980 general elections finally led to the abandonment of the politics of principles and ideals and public life grew completely divorced from public service. Nijalingappa’s anguish is palpable at the total neglect by all political parties of the Directive Principles laid down in the Constitution.

During his long innings in public life, Nijalingappa came in close touch with the political stalwarts of the era. The book makes a signal contribution in filling in many an interesting detail about their achievements, character and quirks.

Written during the last years of his life, the book reveals a man at peace with himself, serenely active till the last, ready for death with the same equanimity with which he faced imprisonment and privation.

Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa

Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa, born 10 December 1902, qualified himself for the Bar and enrolled as an advocate of the Mysore High Court in 1926. He joined the Congress in 1924; took part in the freedom struggle and was jailed several times.

He became president of the Mysore Congress and later president of the Indian National Congress (1968-71). He was a member of the historic Constituent Assembly (1946-50) and also a member of Parliament from 1952 to 1956.

Nijalingappa served thrice as chief minister of Mysore and Karnataka and has been described as the ‘Maker of Modern Karnataka’. The state owes much to him for development of agricultural, irrigation, industrial and transport projects.

After giving up active politics, he served as chairman, Sardar Valabhbai Patel Society.

Lawyer patriot and statesman, S. Nijalingappa died in August 2000

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