From a 106-year-old freedom fighter to a 20-year-old cyclist, the 61st Kannada Rajyotsava awards will be given away on November 1 to a mix of achievers, including Ramon Magsaysay awardee Bezwada Wilson and former SC judge Shivraj Patil. TOI profiles some of the top achievers.

Mahadevappa Shivabasappa Pattan, 106 | The centenarian freedom fighter, who actively participated in 1942’s Quit India Movement and the Karnataka unification movement, was the first MLA from Ramdurg after Independence. His son Ashok Pattan is now Congress MLA from Ramdurg. Popularly called ‘Ramdurg Tiger’, Pattan sacrificed his property, fortune and family for the state. A staunch follower of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he led the agitation to free Ramdurg from the British only with a handful of volunteers, as a result of which the British government attached his entire property, including a 400-hectare land, and issued shoot at sight orders against him. His eight aides were arrested and executed at Hindalaga jail, and a reward of Rs 10,000 was announced to catch Pattan dead or alive.

Dr Hebri Subhaskrishna Ballal, 75 | Born in a Hebri Beedu family of Udupi in June 1941, Ballal had an intense curiosity about the use of radiant energy on human body since his college days, besides being an ardent cricket and tennis lover. After completing MBBS from Mysore Medical College in 1966, he joined Bangalore Medical College to pursue postgraduate diploma and masters in medical radio diagnosis, a new stream then. He has been associated with Manipal Group of Institutions for the past 45 years since he joined Kasturba Medical College as a faculty in 1971.

Tejasvi Kattimani | A prolific writer, professor Kattimani works for the upliftment of higher education in the state. He has encouraged and urged more students to continue their education through his writings, besides highlighting the need for Central and state-run universities to enhance career opportunities for the youth. A graduate in Arts from Karnatak University, Kattimani is the V-C of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh. He promotes advancement of technology in education and encourages teachers to do so.

K Muniyappa | Born in the small village of Mustoor in Chikkaballapur, professor Muniyappa was among the first generation of people to leave his village in pursuit of higher education. A first-rank in MSc from Mysore University took him closer to his calling, research. He pursued his PhD from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), where he’s currently a professor. His lab, which uses varied experimental approaches including genetics, functional and structural genomics, and model systems ranging from bacteria, yeast and human cells, is the place he spends most hours of the day. An internationally distinguished scientist, he’s best known for his outstanding contributions in the field of DNA recombination, DNA repair and telomere biology, having implications for human health and disease.

Bezwada Wilson, 50 | The Ramon Magsaysay awardee is the crusader of the movement against manual scavenging and believes in providing a respectful life to scavengers. The youngest of the four children of his parents Jacob and Racheal, Wilson as a school going boy couldn’t understand why his parents did such a dirty job. As he grew up, he began to understand the stigma attached to scavengers and began organizing awareness programmes in KGF to eradicate the practice, which attracted huge appreciation from all quarters. He joined National Karmachari Andholan at the age of 32, and in the last 18 years has done a remarkable job to ensure an honourable living for the Dalits.

Krishna Amogeppa Naikodi, 20 | A cyclist from Vijayapura, Naikodi hails from Gubbewad village in Sindagi taluk. He recently bagged the Ekalavya award. He started cycling when he was in the fifth standard. He has recently been recruited in the state reserve police.

Banad Sukanya, 60 | The writer and teacher, selected for her contribution to the field of literature, was in April honoured with the Karnataka Sahitya Academy award. Sukanya has published five collections of poems and a comprehensive collection. Naanemba Maaye has earned her name and fame and several awards. Born in Kottur, Ballari district, Sukanya majored in Kannada, did MA at Karnatak University, before teaching for over three decades. Sukanya is also a social activist and educationist, and her poems have been translated into Telugu, English, Marathi, Malayalam and Hindi.

Dhruva Ramachandrappa Pattar, 64 | A metal work artisan of Vijayapura city, Pattar belongs to the Vishwakarma community and is known for sculpting metal art for temples. A third-generation artiste, Dhruva was born at Agarakhed village in Indi taluk and studied up to SSLC, after which he started helping his father in his work. His works adorn temples in Mumbai, Solapur, Aurangabad, Kalaburagi, Bagalkot and Vijayapura.

Moulana Imamsab Nadaf Annigeri, 65 | The stage artiste from Davanagere was busy on stage when news came in that he had won the Rajyothsava award. He has worked for four drama companies, including Panchakshari Natya Sangha and KBR Drama Company. He has acted with Umashree, Vajramuni, Sudheer, Pramila Joshai, and also done negative roles too. Though he was offered roles in films, he declined. He got the Karnataka Nataka Academy award in 1998.

Adiveppa Sannabeerappa Kuriyavar | This septuagenarian from Motebennur village in Haveri district goes around singing with the ektara, a traditional folk instrument. Retired from the railways department, he was given the Janapada award in 2007. Adiveppa is also a poet with over 40 poems to his credit.

S Kashinath | The sculptor and artiste from Shivamogga was born in Shikaripura in Shivamogga district. He excels in carving gopurams atop temples. The 103-ft Shiva idol at Murudeshwar, 50-ft Shiva at Shivamogga, 35-ft Anjaneya near Dharmashala, Geetopadesha structure near Nelamangala, dancing Ganapathi at Baltimore, US, are considered his masterpieces.

JR Lakshamana Rao | This popular science writer and communications professor was a student of Kuvempu, who had once asked him to translate two science works, including one on ‘Mysterious Universe’, into Kannada. This sparked an interest in him. It was because of Rao’s efforts that the Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishat was founded. The nonagenarian was among three founder-members of the Parishat, which started out to popularize science by roping in individuals and Kannada groups. The Parishat also published a science magazine in Kannada – Bala Vijnana. Rao, who has authored more than a dozen books, was chief editor of the magazine. The other members are MA Sethu Rao and Adyanadka Krishna Bhat.

Prof VG Mahapurush, 72 | The sitarist of Bagalkot was head of the music department at Basaveshwar Arts College. In 2012, Mahapurush established the Akhandeshwar Swami Museum, where more than 100 musical instruments and photographs of more than 300 musicians are preserved. His house become a school for music lovers. In 2003, he started the Gangadhar Swamy Mahapurush Sangeet Vidyalay, a music school named after his father, He has written a book on the sitar.

Rameshwari Varma | Playwright, research scholar, feminist. The octogenarian was a reader with the Regional Institute of Development Studies and head of the Department of Women Studies, University of Mysore, and founder-director of the Centre for Women’s Studies, UOM, established in 1989. She was also member of the Karnataka State Commission for Women and has to her credit many research papers in journals of international repute. Before coming to Mysuru, Varma was in Bengaluru writing plays with messages on the safety and welfare of women.

Umarani Barigidad | A stage actor for 39 years, Umarani is from Ilkal town in Bagalkot district. Her first drama was titled ‘Bus Conductor’. Umarani announced that the Rajyothsava award amount of Rs 1 lakh will be utilized for students of the Natya Rani Kala Sangh, established by her a decade ago.

KT Gatti | Novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist, playwright, educationist, linguist and author of many books in Kannada and English, Gatti hails from Kasaragod district in Kerala. He got interested in Yakshagana through his father Dhoomappa Gatti, while his love for Tulu-Malayalam pad-dana derived from mother Parameshwari. After doing PDC and a degree from Kerala University, he completed B.Ed and taught at Government High School, Kasaragod. His first novel, Shabdagalu, was published in a Kannada weekly. He was given the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award for his contributions to the Kannada literary world.

Pethri Madhava Naik | A Yakshagana artiste at the age of 14, he became a disciple of noted Talamaddale artiste Thimmappa Naik. He made his mark in the fields of literature and art too, and served in commercial Yakshagana melas for 23 years and was with Udupi Yakshagana Centre for 30 years. He took Yakshagana to the US, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, London, Moscow, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South America, Peru, Brazil, Scotland and Sweden.

Sa Ra Govindu | The Kannada film producer, director, actor and activist entered filmdom as a production manager for thespian Dr Rajkumar in the 1970s. Later, he became president of the Dr Rajkumar Abhimanigala Sangha. He has been a vocal Kannada activist and became president of the Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce in November 2015. Govindu has produced 18 movies under his home banner Tanu Chitra. His name has been associated with movies such as Bhaktha Prahalada, Kamana Billu, Belli Kalungura etc.

GK Veeresh, 82 | Vice-chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences from 1995 to 1998, his critical report as chairman, High Power Committee on Farmers’ Suicides on the reasons behind farmers’ suicide in 2001-02, was the most debated. His report had said personal reasons and gambling were the prime reasons for the spate of suicides in Karnataka back then. He is currently president of the Association for Promotion of Organic Farming.

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Source: TOI-BGLR