These two were not among the 162

These two were not among the 162

M S Sindhur and Abdul Rehman

In the hype surrounding the Rajyotsava awards and the heavy duty lobbying preceding the announcement of the awardees, two Kannadigas whose exemplary service to Kannada and education deserves public recognition seem to have been forgotten.

One of them was without a job for seven years for he dared to voice his concern for Kannada in Maharashtra. The other, whose mother tongue is not Kannada, has made his mission to improve conditions in the Kannada schools in bordering areas.

Meet an 81-year-old M S Sindhur, who retired in 1999 after serving as a Kannada teacher in many schools in different parts in Maharashtra. He lives at Tungal in Jamkhandi in Bagalkot district and running a publication house to publish only Kannada books.

“I was one of the 78 teachers recruited for 35 Kannada schools in Jath taluk in Sangli district in Maharashtra in 1949. I invited the Maharashtra government’s wrath for voicing concern for Kannada in Maharashtra. I was out of service for seven years as I was transferred to Miraj in 1966 violating a government rule as I collected historical records and evidences to prove before Mahajan held a public rally at Jath,” says Sindhur.

Sindhur collected documents, government orders, inscriptions and other available texts and established that 14 village in Gadhinglaj, 65 in South Solhapur and 123 in Akkalkot were part of Karnataka. He took a lead role in organising a massive rally of Kannadigas staying outside Karnataka which was attended by more than one lakh people.

“We teachers formed Kannada Sangha in 1956 before unification of Karnataka to help Kannadigas in Maharashtra,” he recalls.

The Maharashtra government passed an order instructing that all records in Kannada schools be maintained in Marathi alone.

“We approached the Commission for Minorities against the order, but the government issued another circular stating that records be maintained in both the languages. But, we decided to maintain the records only in Kannada till recommendations of Mahajan Commission are implemented,” he adds.

“We increased the number of Kannada schools to 59 in 1966 and there were 200 primary schools and 10 high schools in 1999. Eighty per cent of them have disappeared,” he says with evident pain.

Sindhur is yet to get his salary for those seven years!

The story of Abdul Rehman Iqbal Seth (64), a BSc graduate, who spent many years in New York and who is into construction business too is worth mentioning. Seth, organising secretary of Karnataka Border Area Struggle Committee,  decided to improve conditions in the Kannada schools in bordering areas.

“I believe education and health are very important. I decided to help Kannadigas when I returned to Bangalore in 2006. I decided to collect donations of Rs 10 each wherever I went and use the same for benefit of Kannada schools and students. God has given me everything. It’s my duty to help my people,” Seth, who lives on the Cunningham Road in Bangalore adds.

Seth has collected more than Rs four lakh and donated it to several schools. He goes visiting the schools in a car, followed by a vehicle carrying clothes and foodgrains.

More than 60 schools have received benches, tables, chairs and other needed infrastructure and nearly 600 students have received scholarships, textbooks, notebooks and uniforms. The majority of these schools are located in bordering area between Karnataka and Maharashtra. He has also helped the schools located in areas sharing border with Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

You will not find the names of Sindhur or Seth in any list of Rajyotsava awardees. Not surprising, because ‘Service to Kannada’ was not one of the 25 categories under which the awards were doled out.

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