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Tributes pour in as Dalit poet-activist Siddalingaiah succumbs to Covid

Bengaluru Noted poet and Dalit rights activist who used his poetry to raise issues of social injustices, Dr Siddalingaiah, died on Friday due to Covid-19
PUBLISHED ON JUN 12, 2021 12:52 AM IST

Bengaluru Noted poet and Dalit rights activist who used his poetry to raise issues of social injustices, Dr Siddalingaiah, died on Friday due to Covid-19. He was 67.

Known for his humour and hard-hitting poetry, Siddalingaiah, has also been a member of Karnataka’s legislative council twice.

“Dr.Siddalingaiah narrated the pain of Dalits through his writings and awakened them. He endured the pain and his poems set the required blaze to the Dalit movement. His services to the state and Kannada language as chairman, Kannada Development Authority and as a two time MLC is commendable,” chief minister BS Yediyurappa said on Friday.

“In his death, we have lost a great writer with social concern, who strived for the upliftment of the depressed classes. I pray to Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family and followers to bear the loss,” the chief minister added.

Siddaramaiah, the Congress’ leader of the opposition said that Siddalingaiah had made his poetry into a weapon to take the fight for social justice forward.

His poem, Yarige Banthu, ellige bantu, nalvathayelara swatantrya (who got, where did it come, (1947’s independence), propelled him as one of the leading voices of the movement, converting the song into an anthem which is used even now in protests and other rallies of backward communities.

The poet was one of the most prominent voices for social justice and was one of the co-founders of the Dalit Sangharsha Samithi.

Condolences poured in for the loss of the poet.

“Dr. Siddalingaiah will be remembered for his prolific writings, poetry and contributions towards social justice. Saddened by his passing away. My thoughts are with his family and many admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on Twitter.

“The demise of Dr Siddalingaiah has left a huge void in Kannada literature. An eminent poet, social activist and academician, he became a fierce voice for the poor and marginalized and also enriched public discourse through his writings. My condolences to his family & followers,” Ramnath Kovind, the president of India shared in a post on Twitter.

The Karnataka government said that his last rites would be performed with full state honours.

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