Karnataka's Scouts and Guides' beacon

Karnataka's Scouts and Guides' beacon

In 2015, numerous admirers across the country celebrated the birth centenary year of Kondajji Basappa, who worked for the welfare of the downtrodden and the growth of Bharat Scouts and Guides. He was a skilled statesman and an able organiser who utilised his experience for the welfare of the community.

Basappa was born in the small village of Kondajji in Davanagere district on 11 December, 1915. His father, Ningappa, was a farmer and mother, Halamma, was a pious lady. Basappa got his BSc degree from Central College, Bangalore (now Bengaluru) in 1938 and LLB from Pune University. He worked briefly as an advocate before entering politics a short time later.

Social service

He strived for the welfare of the poor and underprivileged and gained popularity for his work. For his services to the community, he even got a gold medal from the Maharaja of Mysore (now Mysuru). He served as a syndicate member of the University of Mysore and district chief commissioner of Bharat Scouts and Guides in Chitradurga.

He also attended the World Scout Jamboree at Bad Ischl, Austria and the World Scout Conference in Austria. His love and dedication towards the Scouts and Guides movement was imminent. From 1942 to until his death in 1982, he worked to popularise the movement in Karnataka and contributed a lot for its progress.

He was elected to the State Legislative Assembly and was made the Deputy Minister for Cooperation in 1962. In 1971, he was elected to the Loksabha and served as Deputy Minister of Health and Family Planning in the union cabinet.

Basappa took a great interest in education and believed in the Gandhian philosophy that education without character is a sin. He also gave more importance to adult education. He encouraged the village youth to get higher education and supported them to improve their lives.

Basappa also served as a member of the Karantaka State Secondary Examination  Board, president of the Land Development Bank in Davanagere, chairman of the Karnataka Bharath Sevak Samaj, Karnataka Handloom Advisory Board, Panchayat Raj Committee and Sheep and Wool Development Committee. He was also actively involved in the establishment of leprosy hospital at Kondajji.

He had a great concern for the youth and encouraged them to serve the society with sincerity. He played a significant role in effecting improvements to the Camping and Training Centre at the Dr Annie Besent Training Centre near Doddaballapur. Today, the centre is one of the finest camping sites in the country.

He was also solely responsible for creating the camping centre at Kondajji. He transformed the area with barren hillocks to one of the most picturesque camp sites, which has become popular not only among the scouts and guides but also with holiday planners.

When the State association of Bharath Scouts and Guides celebrated his 60th birth Anniversary in 1976, he was honoured with Rs one lakh, which he in turn donated to the cause of the movement in Karnataka. He served the organisation in many capacities for four decades.

He served it as the state chief commissioner from 1964 until his death. As a mark of honour, the training camp at Kondajji is named after him. The samadhi of Kondajji Basappa can be found here.

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