KBG’s Abracadabra titled “Nostalgically Speaking-3 on Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar” in SOM dated Aug. 2, triggered off reminiscences of a distant past when the former Prince used to be my classmate at Maharaja’s College when I was studying for my B.A. degree and later at Manasagangothri campus where I did my M.A. in Political Science.
Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar never threw his weight around as he mixed freely with all his classmates regardless of his status. Dressed almost always quite casually in jeans and T-shirts, the Prince could easily be mistaken for a commoner.
The last scion of the Wadiyar dynasty, he would even volunteer to say hello to his classmates and speak to them freely in Kannada. An ardent lover of cricket, he would strictly enforce discipline on the field while captaining his side, despite being so relaxed and sociable off the field.
The Prince also had an inner Circle of friends (to which I did not belong) who were very chummy with him. One of them was Ravi Joshi who went on to join the Central service a few years later. Amongst others, Veena Rao (grand-daughter of Dewan Mahadev Rao) and Fazila Rahmathulla, topper in M.A. Psychology and daughter of Rahmathulla, IAS (and one time an acting Vice-Chancellor who belonged to the famous Sir Mirza Ismail Family by marriage), Anwar Manipady (who went to Bangalore University for his M.A degree in Political Science and a few others were notable.
On the academic side, he used to be eager to participate in the weekly seminars at which discussions would reach a crescendo as the brighter students used to debate topical issues very passionately. Not always regular to the classes which was probably because he had difficulty sitting in a chair for hours on end (there was a special chair brought from the Palace and kept in the class-room for him, though), he walked away with many Gold Medals and emerged topper in Humanities when the results of the final M.A were out — an amazing 85 percent overall setting a record of sorts.
The Prince had a fine memory (I always addressed him as Prince, never by his name) and he would greet me whenever I ran into him either on the campus or somewhere out in the city. Once, my younger brother Mansoor came and told me that he met the Prince quite accidentally as he mistook my brother for me. The Prince also had the courtesy to inquire after me though it was well over a decade since we had ceased to be classmates. Almost a couple of years older than me, his sudden demise in 2013 saddened me.
– M.Jameel Ahmed, Yadavagiri, 10.8.2020
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