Kengal Hanumanthaiah's Early Life
Kengal Hanumanthaiah was born on the 14th of February, 1908 in a village by the name Lakkappanapalli in the Bangalore District. He completed his Arts graduation from the Maharaja College, Mysore in the year 1930. In the year 1932 he completed the law graduation of L L B from the Poona law College. In the Poona College he was the Students Union Secretary. He was also working as the secretary of the Kannada Sangha in the College. After completion of the studies, Kengal Hanumanthaiah joined the Bar Council.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah's Political career
At that time the independence movement was steadily growing and the center stage of the movement was the Indian national Congress. Mahatma Gandhi by his dedicated work for the movement was attracting thousands of the freedom loving country men and the movement was swelling day by day. At that time the President of the Congress party was Dr P Tandon. Dr Tandon persuaded Kengal Hanumanthaiah to give the legal practice. With the inspiration of Gandhiji and the persuasion of Tandon Hanumanthaiah joined the freedom movement and was very active in the then Mysore State which is now Karnataka. During the movements he was jailed more than 9 times. During the struggle he was noticed by all as a sincere fighter for freedom from Karnataka and gradually grew in stature as a leader. He was elected unopposed as the leader of the Parliamentary Party wing of the Congress Party in Mysore Assembly in the year 1948.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah as Chief Minister
Hanumanthaiah was elected as the Chief Minister of the then Mysore (present Karnataka) State on the 30th of March of the year 1952. He continued as the Chief Minister of Mysore till 19th August, 1956. Kengal Hanumanthaiah was the 2nd Chief Minister of the Mysore State. The First one was K C Reddy. He was a philanthropic personality. He also possessed good administrative qualities. Hence his tenure of Chief Minister Ship was an administratively efficient period. He had initiated steps to uplift the rural areas w8ith good economic progress of the State.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah was also the Union Railway Minister at the central Government from 1971.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah's Achievements
The world famous 'Vidhana Soudha' (Karnataka State Legislature and Secretariat), the lovely monument, is one of the few examples of Kengal Hanumanthaiah's achievements. Before the reign of terrorism the Vidhana Soudha is one of the tourist destinations of any visitor to the South India. Another great achievement of Kengal Hanumanthaiah is the realization of the present unified Karnataka State. His role is significant in bringing the Kannada speaking areas within the Karnataka State.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah and Vidhana Soudha
As mentioned above the monumental achievement of Kengal Hanumanthaiah is the Vidhana Soudha. It was the largest legislature cum office building in India at that time, a granite marvel at the time of its construction and is even now. It is a tourist attraction for those who come from outside especially from the North though many other states have their own wonderful vidhan soudhas. He will ever be remembered for this. The foundation was done by the first Prime Minister of India Lat Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the 13th of July, 1951. But it was Kengal Hanumanthaiah who got the wonder redesigned on the basis of his impressions after visiting great monumental building across the world especially the then USSR, Europe, USA and other places. He got the designs of the great buildings from various countries fusioned with the architecture art of Karnataka without forgetting the utility. He got the Vidhana Soudha completed in 1956.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah's Reason for Vidhana Soudha
According to one of his interviews, the reason for the idea is explained by the originator of the final outcome - the Vidhana Soudha, Kengal Hanumanthaiah himself. Those days India was having the communist and socialist blocks of the world as friends equally with that of the capitalist and imperialist blocks. USSR was one of the biggest partners of India's progress. Naturally there will be visitors from that block just as the British and the USA. Bangalore was one of the hubs of development in India at that time, besides its friendly climate and beauty. Therefore any delegation visiting India will make Bangalore a point not to miss. Karnataka and Bangalore was also famous because of Sir M Visweswaraiah. During one such visit of a soviet cultural delegation, Hanumanthaiah took them around the City. Every once in a while the delegation used to ask Hanumanthaiah "have you no architecture of your own? These are all European buildings". On that occasion Hanumanthaiah decided to have a great architectural wonder - the Vidhana Soudha.
Death of Kengal Hanumanthaiah
He died on 1 December 1980 at the age of 72.
Though he is not with us now, his presence will be felt by all Kannadigas at least whenever they pass through Vidhana Soudha area or when they go near the border areas of the Karnataka State.