We find no Kannadiga or a resident of Karnataka not hearing the name of this great man. No, we are not talking about the one and only Star Legend of Karnataka, Annavru. We are focusing on the other popular personality of our State, Mr. Vatal Nagaraj. In this article, we will give you some interesting information that can never be found on the web and when 10 instances where Vatal Nagaraj proved that he is a Man of Bandhs in Karnataka.
Known as a fiery brand leader and a political activist, he got his surname from his hometown. He was also the Ex-MLA of Chamarajnagar. But many remember him because of his party, called the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha.
There are some persons who adopt different ways of protest. There is a famous proverb – Everybody is interested in thirty seconds of fame, so says human psychology. And to achieve that fame, people derive various interesting methods and techniques that were till then, not practiced. But the leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha always went a step further.
His call for bandhs got him instant recognition, as he involved the righteousness of Kannada in many of his protests. His unique style of giving awards to donkeys and conducting a meeting of ministers of buffaloes, his style of providing tea to bus commuters to oppose the hike in household items gave him public attention.
Now shall we look into why Vatal Nagaraj became famous for his Bandhs?
1. The 1960s – Anti Dubbing Movement
It was in the 1960s that Vatal Nagaraj came into prominence. Telugu and Malayalam films were dubbed into Kannada and released. Faced with no work, veteran Kannada artists such as G V Iyer and Dr. Rajkumar joined together and produced the film “Ranadheera Kanteerava.” But they faced lots of problems in releasing the movie. That is when noted stalwart writers such as A N Krishna Rao prevented other language films from getting dubbed in Kannada. And it was left to the might of Vatal Nagaraj to fight it tooth and nail. And all of them succeeded in preventing the dubbing of other language films to Kannada. Since the 1970s, there has been a Gentleman agreement that the other language movie will not be dubbed.
There is also another Fact. Till the time, Annavru was alive, no person dared dub other movies in the Kannada language. His demise has led to the rise of persons who had the guts to dub other language movies in Kannada. (Source – https://bit.ly/2qadw8c)
2. Anti-Tamil Violence 1991
There was a time when in the 1990s, even the police shivered when they used to get intimation about a bandh by Vatal Nagaraj. He had the unique ability to bring to halt the very life of Bangalore by a bandh. He acquired name when his party workers disrupted daily life on 13 December 1991 and this led to the anti- Tamil riots. In fact, it was during the late 1990s, Vatal Nagaraj became feared as a man of bandhs and fear of violence loomed large over the horizon in Bangalore. His call for bandh used to be a total success. (Source – https://bit.ly/2qaPQ3n)
3. September 12, 2002.
This bandh was observed due to the release of Cauvery Water to Tamil Nadu. A bandh was totally observed in all areas of Bangalore and Mandya district. (Source – https://bit.ly/2JoZF5S)
4. February 12, 2007
After the 5 February 2007 hearing of the Cauvery Water Tribunal, about sharing of water, Vatal Nagaraj called for a bandh on February 12, 2007. The then IT hub of the State, Bangalore wore a deserted look with the bus, auto service taken off the road. The bandh also received a tremendously positive response in Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts. (Source – https://bit.ly/2uSNwCV)
5. April 18, 2015
The Government did not support the bandh. But the pro-Kannada organizations organized the bandh to protest against the refusal of Goa to share Mahadayi water to water parched North Karnataka districts. (Source – https://bit.ly/2JrUFh5)
6. September 12, 2016, Bangalore Bandh
Once again, the Cauvery issue played a strong role in the bandh. Worst case of rioting as over 45 KPN buses was torched. (Source – https://bit.ly/2cvBByu)
7. Karnataka Bandh – June 12, 2017
A bandh was observed on the same date by Kannada Okoota, to force Modi to intervene in the Mahadayi river and Kalasabanduri dispute. The bandh was led by Vatal Nagaraj. Activists played badminton. They even conducted a mock funeral for the leaders of political parties. (Source – https://bit.ly/2qe843r)
8. March 10, 2017 – Sandalwood Bandh
Pro Kannada activists under the tutelage of Vatal Nagaraj called for a Sandalwood bandh to protest the dubbing of other language films to Kannada. Even popular actors such as Shivarajkumar, Jaggesh and many joined in the protest. The protest was successful and the screening of other language films was stopped.
(Source – https://bit.ly/2qdNhNf)
9. January 25, 2018, Mahadayi River Issue
In this very year, to be precise, he was instrumental in organizing a total bandh on January 25, 2018, over the water sharing of the Mahadayi river with the neighboring State, Goa. In this bandh, over 2000 pro-Kannada organizations had supported him.
(Source – https://bit.ly/2qdE47x)
10. Bandh on April 12, 2018
Now the seasoned veteran of bandhs has once again called the shots in April. On 12th of this month, he has called for a Statewide bandh for the cancellation of the Cauvery Water management board. In fact, this is a call to counter the protest called by the DMK in Tamil Nadu. (Source – https://bit.ly/2IA6K2t)
There are many who say that Vatal Nagaraj is a spent force, but it is a fact that there are more than 2000 Kannada pro-organizations in the State, and he can rake them in when he needs to. That is his greatest strength. Agreed, his protests are comical, as he does them with buffaloes, donkeys and grab public attention.
This article is contributed by Satyanarayana, Bengaluru.
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