This is an article in the “City Idols” series. City Idols is an effort to revive the legacies of the people after whom roads and parks have been named.

Road Name: Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (Commonly called KH Road or Double Road) named after Kengal Hanumantaiah (14 February, 1908 – 1 December, 1980)

Road Location: The Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (KH Road)/ Double Road is located near the Lalbagh area (Pin-code is 560027).

Summary:

Kengal Hanumantaiah is mostly recognized as the second Chief Minister of Karnataka, and the man responsible for the construction of the Vidhana Soudha.

During his youth, inspired by the freedom struggle in India, he joined the Indian National Congress (INC). Consequently, he was imprisoned more than nine times. He rapidly progressed in popularity, and soon reached the status of a leader.

He also occupied several key posts such as, member of the Constituent Assembly of India, and Chief Minister of Karnataka in the year 1952. Later, he moved on to national politics, where he was very successful too. He was elected as Member of Parliament of Bangalore continuously from 1962 to 1977.

Detailed Description:

Kengal Hanumantaiah was born to a family hailing from Lakkappanahalli near Ramanagara, in Karnataka. As part of his higher education, he earned a degree in Arts, from the Maharaja College in Mysore, and another in Law, from the Poona Law College. In his college days, he was elected as the Secretary of the Students Union and the Karnataka Sangha.[1]

Soon after graduating, he joined the Bar Council. Later, under the influence of Dr. P Tandon who was the President of the Indian National Congress (INC), he joined the INC with the intention of serving the freedom struggle. He was imprisoned more than 9 times during the freedom movement. He was also elected leader of the Parliamentary Party wing of the Congress Party in Mysore Assembly in the year 1948. Also, he was a member of the historic Constituent Assembly of India.

With time, he grew more popular, and gradually carved himself out as a leader. And, with the necessary support, he entered electoral politics. His political career was one of great success. He was elected Chief Minister of Karnataka.[2] It is claimed that his chief ministership involved several clashes with Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru because the state leaders had to compromise by matching their agenda with that of the five year plans, which were introduced then.[3] [4]

Later, after completing his tenure as Chief Minister, Kengal Hanumantaiah moved on to national politics, where he achieved exemplary success too. He was elected as Member of Parliament of Bangalore continuously for the entire duration starting from 1962 to 1977. As part of the central government, he held very highly coveted portfolios such as Minister of Railways, Industries etc.

Apart from all of this, and most importantly, he was the man responsible for the construction of the magnificent Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore. The Vidhan Soudha is claimed to be the largest state legislative structure in all of India. The story behind the construction of this building goes like this.

Once, a Cultural and Russian Delegation was visiting Bangalore, and Kengal Hanumantaiah was taking them around the city. The Russians commented harshly on the buildings and criticised them all as restricted to the European style of architecture. Hurt by these statements, Kengal Hanumantaiah set out to build a structure which would include all the unique styles of architecture prevalent in Karnataka. Hence, came into being the regal, royal, majestic and grand legislative building – The Vidhana Soudha[5].

In his memory, his statue was unveiled by President Giani Zail Singh in 1985 in front of Vidhana Soudha.

Kengal Hanumantaiah truly lived an illustrious life, which is remembered very well today by many. For all his significant contributions, and other work he has done, a road close to the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens has been named in honour of him as the Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (KH Road/ commonly called Double Road).

Contributed by: Raghav C. Madhukar, 9-C, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE

References:

[1] http://www.vokkaligarasangha.com/kengalhanumanthaiah.html

[2] http://www.megamedianews.in/index.php/59538/kengal-hanumanthaiahs-104th-birth-anniversary-celebrated-in-bangalore/

[3] Authors – Gopal K. Kadekodi, S. M. Ravi Kanbur, Vijayendra Rao, Development in Karnataka: Challenges of Governance, Equity,   and Empowerment, p.71

[4] http://www.karnataka.com/personalities/kengel-hanumanthaiah/

[5] http://www.vokkaligarasangha.com/kengalhanumanthaiah.html