Ananth Kumar, a great friend is no more: A tribute from a friend
Anant Kumar - A great friend is no more
I was woken up in the morning by an old friend to inform the sad news that my classmate, benchmark and more than that a great friend passed away.
I and Anant Kumar stayed in the neighbourhood in Hubli. I remember, he used to walk to School and back with his younger brother and sister. The trio represented a united family. Anant Kumar though represented Bangalore, he was quint essentially a man from Hubli in north Karnataka as he grew up there till completion of his college education.
As a student of the Lamington Boys High School, Hubli, Anant Kumar was a bright and clear headed. He was clear that he has to become a lawyer and then enter politics. During emergency in 1975-76, I vividly remember, Anant Kumar leading a group of protesters against the emergency. The moment he saw me in college corridor, he called me "ye ... come ... join us". I did join (I knew nothing about politics then) and we were all arrested, but the police Van didn't have the space to accommodate all of us for ferrying to the jail. I and some were let go to home.
Anant Kumar became an MP and Minister at the Centre in 1997. He actively defended the interests of Karnataka State in Inter State Water Disputes. Despite the Govt in the State being a Govt of a different party, he would always take active interest in espousing the cause of Karnataka, but cautiously and strictly, he remained within the federal bounds. He would often call me and say - I am troubling as a friend to guide me. His contribution in the formation of Cauvery River Authority by consensus in 1998 etc was undoubtedly significant.
At a personal level, Anant Kumar was extremely cordial and hospitable. In the dozens of All Party Meetings on Inter State Water Dispute issues held in last two decades at Bangalore, he would always look for me and sometimes, he would come and chat in our usual north Karnataka diction. He often invited me for lunch or dinner to lazy gossip.
Ideologically Anant Kumar was in Advani mould. He often quoted Mahatma Gandhi. I would often joke about him with friends as Congressman in BJP. Once, while flying sitting next to each other, he asked me - how do you see my chances as CM. He sought my personal guidance. I had to tell him - if you eye for CM post, you will not grow. My advise to him was to remain as a neutral person in State politics and grow at national level. He felt satisfied and held my hand to tell - you are right.
Anant Kumar left the world at a time he was blooming in politics. My deepest sympathies to the family.
(Mohan Katarki is an advocate, Supreme Court and represents various States including Karnataka in the Inter State Waters Disputes)
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