13 November 2017

The Young Student-Rebel

(ಸಹಪಾಠಿ ಮಿತ್ರರು ಕಂಡ ಬಾಗಲೋಡಿ ೫)
(ಬಾಗಲೋಡಿ ದೇವರಾಯರ ಸ್ಮರಣ ಸಂಪುಟ - ‘ದೇವಸ್ಮರಣೆ’ ೨೦೦೩ರಲ್ಲಿ ಅತ್ರಿ ಬುಕ್ ಸೆಂಟರ್ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಿದ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಯಥಾ ವಿದ್ಯುನ್ಮಾನ ಪ್ರತಿ ೨೦೧೭. ಸಂಪಾದಕ - ಜಿ.ಟಿ. ನಾರಾಯಣ ರಾವ್)
 (ಭಾಗ ೧೦)
- M. Panchappa
Bagalodi Deva Rao joined the BA (Hons) course in English language and literature in the Madras Christian College Tambaram (June 1944). A year earlier I had joined the same course. For a few hours in a week we had common periods. As both of us had hailed from Kannada-speaking areas - he from Mangalore and I from Bellary - our acquaintance grew apace. KS Haridasa Bhat was also our contemporary Kannadiga.

The impression which I have of the student Deva Rao is of a young intellectual with all the appropriate attendant features of mental nonconformity and physical nonrobustness. The latter was strengthened by one or two fingernails to which he had given full freedom to reach out beyond even his own grasp. He was at the top of the class all through.

In December 1948 I met him at the Madras University Senate building where we were appearing for the all-India services examination. When the results were out he got a high rank and was admitted into the Indian Foreign Service. I joined the Indian Revenue Service.

In 1959 three of us from the Revenue Service had gone to the UK under the Colombo Plan. While returning we made a short tour of Italy where Deva Rao was a counsellor Deva Rao is of a fully conforming civil servant - rather a little more - a fully `protocol'ed diplomat. Of course all the old friendly warmth was there and the eager recalling of `Tambaram' days. But the outer garb was genuine `pin-striped black.' That set me thinking. Did the young student-rebel reach his destination in the conforming diplomat? (He rose higher still and retired as a full ambassador.) I cannot help harbouring a half-twist that if he had somehow `undone' the 1948-selection, he might have fulfilled himself and also the expectation of friends of those days in more suitable and satisfying `fields.'



  1. Nice to be reading these narratives. I must congratulate you for providing lots of valuable, wholesome non-fiction across the generations.Great work! Allthe Best!

  2. May be right,, the respected authors experience.But often what I feel Is,,we want people to be as we expect them to be,.A kind of conformity expectation only, in another sense.
    Rg Sri Baglody , I have seen and read some
    people expressing frustration about him being not like what they saw or expected him to be,
    though not in the sense of a disaster or failure ,
    May be he had his own reasons for the twists , turns and new ways