Ananth Kumar: First person to speak in Kannada in the United Nations
New Delhi, Nov 12: Bengaluru's most loved 'MP' Ananth Kumar died in the wee hours of Monday in Bengaluru, leaving a big void in the party which will be hard to fill in the days to come. The name Ananth Kumar was synonymous with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP's) national leaders.
A distinct achievement, Kumar a strong believer in nationalism was the first person to have addressed the United Nations in Kannada.
He represented India in the United Nations in 2012 and spoke about the topics of global warming and on empowerment of women. He was the first person to greet the assembly in his mother tongue Kannada.
The words read "Honourable President and brothers and sisters from all over the world good morning to all of you."
"I had the privilege of speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York. My experience was made sweeter by the fact that I got to address the UN General Assembly in my beloved Kannada," he wrote in his website in 2013.
"Before I began my speech, I made it a point to extend my greetings to all those present in my mother tongue, Kannada!! I said "Honorable President and brothers and sisters from all over the world, good morning to all of you". I then continued on how India is very closely committed to global peace and upholding human rights and how it is steadfast in its support for counter-terrorism," he had noted.
Amongst the languages of India that are held in high esteem by the people of India, Kannada has a special significance. It is as old as 2000 years and is spoken by a population of 38 million.
"My love for Kannada, my mother-tongue, has always been an integral part of my identity. I keep encouraging more citizens to learn the beautiful language that is Kannada. I have always made it a point to sign in Kannada be it international MoUs or internal party documents, he added.
The language indeed occupies a special place in the world; it is the first Indian language for which a German writer, Rev. Ferdinand Kittel wrote the first ever dictionary.Rev. Kittel produced the first-ever Kannada-English dictionary in the year 1894.
Born in a middle class Brahmin family on July 22, 1959, in Bengaluru to Narayan Shastri, a railway employee, and Girija N Shastry, his early education began under the guidance of his mother who herself was a graduate.
Known for his political adroitness, Kumar, a six-time member of Parliament, gregarious with strong political instincts, had managed to be in the inner circle of the central leadership of the BJP -- be it during the heyday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani and now Narendra Modi.
Along with state BJP chief Yeddyurappa, Kumar is among a few party leaders who can be credited for the growth of BJP in Karnataka, as they built the party from the scratch, which paved the way for the installation of the first ever saffron party government in the South.
He enjoyed the credit of being the "youngest" minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet in 1998.