Nittoor Srinivasa Rau

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Nittoor Srinivasa Rao or Nittur Srinivasa Rao (Kannada: ನಿಟ್ಟೂರು ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ರಾವ್) (24 August 1903 – 12 August 2004)[1] was a Gandhian who participated in the Indian independence movement. He was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Mysore State (now Karnataka) and also the first chief of the Central Vigilance Commission of India.[2] He was also chosen as the acting Governor of the Mysore state and was the first person to translate Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography to the Kannada language.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Nittoor Srinivasa Rau was born in Bangalore. His mother was Seethamma, and his father Nittoor Shamanna was a school teacher and the head master of a school in Chitradurga. Nittoor is a village in the Gubbi Taluk of the Tumkur district of Karnataka, and its name got attached to Srinivasa Rau's name since his grandfather was a native of that village.[1] He was also the nephew of M. N. Krishna Rao, the Diwan of Mysore kingdom.[4] He did his initial schooling in schools at Hosadurga, Challakere and Shimoga before completing his graduation in the Bachelor of Science at Central College, Bangalore. He joined the National High School as a teacher of Science and Mathematics and later went back to studies and joined the Madras Law College from where he completed the degree of Bachelor of Law in 1927.[1] He later married Padmamma and had two sons, Senior Advocate & Littérateur N S Chandrasekhara and technocrat N S Subbanna, and two daughters, Dr. Jayaseetha Premanand and Dr. Lalitha Sudarshan.[2]

Public life[edit]


After completing his degree in law, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau returned to Bangalore and started his career as a lawyer. In 1952, he was chosen as the first chairman of the Mysore state Bar council.[2] He was appointed as the Advocate General of the Mysore state by the Chief Minister, Kengal Hanumanthaiah in 1953. After the formation of the state of Karnataka, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court in 1961. When the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, started the Central Vigilance Commission of India in February 1964 to check corruption, he chose Nittoor Srinivasa Rau as the first Central Vigilance Commissioner of India.[2]

Freedom Movement[edit]

When he turned 18, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau joined the Indian National Congress. In the 1930s and 1940s, he participated in the Indian independence movement. He worked for the Mysore state unit of the Congress and actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement.[5] In 1932, he also ran the Congress state unit office in Dharwad. During the Quit India Movement of 1942, he provided shelter to Congress leaders such as Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, R. R. Diwakar, and U. S. Mallya.

Influence of Gandhi[edit]

In the early 1920s, he was influenced by the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, and when Gandhi visited Bangalore in 1927, Nittoor Srinivasa Rao took permission from him to translate his autobiography to Kannada. He and his wife assumed the title Ibbaru Kannadigaru and started translating the autobiography, which was then published in the form of a serial in the Kannada newspapers, Vishwa Karnataka and Lokmata.[1] He named the translation as Satyashodhana (In pursuit of truth). To promote the Gandhian principles, he became the president of Karnataka Gandhi Smaaraka Nidhi (Karnataka Gandhi Memorial Trust) and Gandhi Peace Foundation. He also started a khadi unit to promote the use of khadi.


Nittoor Srinivasa Rau became a member of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat in 1922. When he realised the need of a publication to publish Kannada books, he started his own publishing house called Satyashodhana Prakatana Mandira (Satyashodhana Publication House) and an associated book store called Satyashodhana Pustaka Mandira.[1] One of the important books published by him was Bala Prapancha, a collection of stories for children written by the renowned Shivaram Karanth. He also published the works of C. K. Venkataramaiya, Kuvempu, Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar and G. P. Rajarathnam. Srinivasa Rau was also influenced by the Kannada writer, D. V. Gundappa and joined his social institute, The Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs. In 1975, he became an honorary secretary of the institute and continued in the post for sometime whereafter he bequeathed the post to eminent journalist, writer and social activist S. R. Ramaswamy. He also worked towards introducing Kannada as a medium of instruction in schools to educate a large population of students who may not know English.[4]

Later years[edit]

Even in his later years, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau continued to take interests in the activities of the Gokhale institute. The Government of Karnataka honoured him by naming one of the prominent roads in Bangalore after his name. In 2002, he was also felicitated by the Government for his contribution in the field of literature and promotion of human values.[6] He joined the Senior Citizen's Club in Bangalore, which was a forum started to look at the welfare of senior citizens.[7] He was also interested in music, and was the President of the Percussive Arts Centre in Bangalore which was an organisation started to promote percussive arts.[8] He passed 100 years in 2003, and died on 12 August 2004, 12 days short of his 101st birthday .

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Veena Bharathi. "The uncrowned visionary". Online Edition of The Deccan Herald, dated 2004-08-24. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e A Jayaram (13 August 2004). "A friend who will be missed by everyone". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 13 August 2004 (Chennai, India). Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  3. ^ Gopal K Kadekodi. "Obituary – Nittoor Srinivas Rau" (PDF). Online webpage of the Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bangalore. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Mala Kumar. "As sharp as ever". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 30 September 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  5. ^ Geetha Rao (15 August 2003). "I-Day, through eyes old and young". Online Edition of The Times of India, dated 15 August 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Intellectuals must lead the way: CM". Online Edition of The Times of India, dated 18 April 2002. 18 April 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Meera John (15 September 2002). "Greying and over the edge". Online edition of The Times of India, dated 15 September 2002. Retrieved 4 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "Remembering Nittoor". Retrieved 17 May 2014.