Mangaluru, Nov 21, 2018: Today, November 21, Wednesday is the 116th birth anniversary of Late U Srinivas Mallya who is hailed as the ‘Architect of Modern Dakshina Kannada District.’ He was a prominent political leader of his times – a freedom fighter, a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and then the district’s first parliamentarian who strived relentlessly to put this region on the path of progress.
The district can never forget the pioneering efforts put in by Mallya that resulted in the establishment of the NMPT, Mangalore Airport, erstwhile KREC (now NITK, Suratkal), Gangolli bridge and much more. But it is an irony of sorts that the Mallya memorial Bhavan proposed at Suratkal to commemorate his birth centenary is not yet a reality. The Bhavan is being built by the Ullal Srinivas Mallya Charitable Trust, but sadly even 15 years after the commencement of works, the construction is not yet complete.
The project was initiated in the year 2003. It has been gathered that of the Rs one crore which the erstwhile Siddaramaiah Government sanctioned for the purpose only Rs 50 lakh has been released so far.
The US Mallya Circle at Padil where there is a bust of Mallya seemed left untouched this morning despite it being the birth anniversary of the great personality. Kasturi Balakrishna Pai, the grandson of late US Mallya revealed how he cleaned up the area and paid his respects by garlanding the statue of the great icon whose life and achievements should serve as a lesson and inspiration to the present day society.
Ullal Srinivas Mallya was born on 21st of November 1902 into a conservative and traditional Gowda Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) family of Mangalore, known as the Ullal Mallyas. His father was Ullal Manjunath Mallya and mother Rukma Bai. His elder brother was Dr. U. Padmanabha Mallya, who too was a Congress leader for a long time. Young Srinivas did his primary education at St. Aloysius Primary School upto the 8th standard, and completed his high school - 9th and 10th standard - at Canara School. Intermediate studies, he pursued at Government College. But it was not academics that interested him, rather it was the ongoing struggle for independence that caught his fancy. At the tender age of 18, Srinivas Mallya’s restive spirit reached out to Gandhi’s call for joining the freedom movement.
He became a member of the Indian National Congress, which was at that time leading the freedom struggle. From being the secretary of the South Kanara District Congress Committee, to a member of the State Congress Committee, to a member of the All India Congress Committee seemed as a natural course of action to this intelligent and dedicated young man.
A powerful Congressman and a close aide of late Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, US Mallya had evolved as a great political statesman who was popular throughout the length and breadth of the country. He placed the interests of the people and his district above his personal interests. If US Mallya ranks high today, it is mainly because of his hallmark qualities like his simplicity, his far sightedness, his vision for the district and his total lack of appetite for cheap publicity. He worked, he toiled and he struggled to get infrastructural projects for his home district. He fought till he realised his vision. That was the spirit of Mallya, which sadly the present day leaders miserably lack.