Dalit activist, poet Dr Siddalingaiah dies of Covid-19
Poet and Dalit rights activist who used his poetry to raise awareness about social injustice, Dr Siddalingaiah, succumbed on Friday 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 gave 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 are commendable,” BS Yediyurappa, the chief minister said on Friday.
“In his death, we have lost a great writer with social concern, who strived for the betterment of the under-privileged 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 a weapon through which to take the fight for social justice forward.
His poem, Yarige Banthu, ellige bantu, nalvathayelara swatantrya (who got it, where did it come from, (19)47’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.
“Dr. Siddalingaiah will be remembered for his prolific writings, poetry and contributions towards social justice. Saddened by his passing. 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,” Ram Nath Kovind, President of India shared on Twitter.
The Karnataka government announced that his last rites would be performed with full state honours.