Former minister M Y Ghorpade, who died on Saturday, had a long and illustrious political career.
He joined the Congress in 1954 and was elected to the Assembly for the first time from the Sandur constituency in the 1959 byelection. There was no looking back thereafter.
He won six Assembly polls after that (in 1962, 1967, 1972, 1989, 1994 and 1999).
He is survived by his wife Vasundhara, three sons and a daughter and a large number of friends and relatives. Ghorpade belonged to the royal family of Sandur. In 1986, he was elected to the Lok Sabha in a byelection from the Raichur constituency.
Like S Nijalingappa, Ghorpade was also elected unopposed to the State Legislative Assembly and it is remarkable to note that during the 1967 elections, he was elected as an MLA from Sandur, without any contestants in the fray.
He was born on December 7, 1931 in Bangalore. After completing his primary education at Bangalore and Sandur, he had his degree from the St Joseph College in Bangalore in 1950. He completed his Masters in Economics from the Cambridge University in 1952.
He married Vasundhara in 1953 and was appointed the director of the Sandur Manganese And Iron Ores (SMIORE), which was started by his father Yashwantrao in Sandur, in 1954.
He was the minister for finance in the Devaraj Urs Cabinet from 1972 to 1977 and also a Cabinet minister from 1990 to 1994 in the Veerendra Patil, S Bangarappa and M Veerappa Moily governments. In the S M Krishna government, he was the minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj from 1999 to 2004.
He has authored several books. His prominent books include the compilation of wildlife pictures - ‘Sunlight and Shadow,’ ‘Development Ethos And Experience,’ ‘Grand Resistance,’ and ‘Paramacharya Of Kanchi’.
In 1985, he was honoured with the Karnataka Rajyotsava award. He owned several mining companies and later on, he converted SMIORE into a public venture and laid stress on labour welfare.
Lensman’s love story in black & white
Not many know that Ghorpade was a passionate wildlife photographer, who preferred photography in black and white.
According to his friend and eminent nature photographer, T N A Perumal, Ghorpade was a perfectionist and a self-critic. “He was the first to receive World Wildlife Photo Master Photographer Award in international art photography and was a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
He was also instrumental in India winning four world cups in nature photography.
One of his pictures, “Sarus crane” - captured in black and white - has been appreciated and awarded in the world cup nature photography held in Australia in 1981. Another picture ‘Tusker in the Rain’ fetched the ‘Australian Museum Award’ in 1977.
Ghorpade globe-trotted capturing wildlife, after eminent photographer M Krishnan introduced him to it. “He was such a perfectionist that during our visit to Africa in 1976, he shot over 4,000 pictures (365 rolls with 12 frames), but chose only 32 frames. His book on black and white photography, ‘Sunlight and Shadows’ is a bible on the subject.”
The scion of the Sandur royal family was not amused by digital photography and stayed loyal to black and white manual photography.
The Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Bellary district is the brainchild of Ghorpade. “In spite of his ill-health, he insisted on visiting the place. His last visit was in February 2009. He loved to capture the bears on his camera, though he found it difficult to walk owing to ill-health,” said K S Abdul Samad, a wildlife enthusiast.