Caption: 1) Narayan with wife Jayamma, son Jayaramu, daughter-in-law Shwetha (extreme left) and grandson Amith. 2) Narayan (extreme left) with his political mentor Siddharamaiah.
Swami Vivekananda was never tired of repeating his clarion call to the youth of India, ‘You are the master of your own destiny.’ Many social reformers too have given similar calls to the youth to dream and work diligently to improve their social, academic, economic and political conditions despite being oppressed under adverse social conditions. Some listen to these spiritual and social reformers, pursue their exhortation and succeed.
One such person to succeed in our city, I do not know if inspired by such noble souls, is Narayan, who was the Mayor of our city (in 2000-01) and now, at age 60, is the Chairman of the Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission.
Born into a community which, under our enlightened and secular Constitution, is called Scheduled Caste of Madiga community in Karnataka, Narayan’s parents lived in a slum and worked as Safai Karmacharis, manual workers, that included manual scavenging work as well.
As a child, he lived with his parents and six siblings in an atmosphere and milieu that would not even allow one to dream for a better future. Poverty and hunger haunted him. Poverty forever degrades a person, never enables nor ennobles one unless made of a sterner stuff. Narayan apparently was made of a sterner stuff. He decided to change the course of his destiny.
Beginning as a manual scavenger at Mysuru Railway Station for about eight months, by age 16 he managed to study ending up as a class X drop-out. He got a job in the famous Ideal Jawa motorcycle factory of Farrokh Irani, a liberal, generous industrialist of our city. Many underprivileged had benefited from Farrokh Irani’s egalitarian approach to an enterprise and Narayan was certainly one such beneficiary.
From a paltry salary of Rs. 180 a month he got from the ...more