Rama Jois is very well known in Karnataka. For me, he has been a constant guide and philosopher. My relationship with him goes back to the late 1960s, when he contested assembly elections from then Malleswaram constituency, on the Jan Sangh’s symbol of a lamp. As a very young boy, I had campaigned for him in that election.
Before becoming an advocate, he had worked as editor of a weekly magazine called Vikrama, which was known for its nationalistic ideals. It was during the Emergency (1975 to 1977) that we became very close to each other. In fact, he was instrumental in getting me out of High Grounds police lockup, where I was held for four days and faced brutal police torture. When my mother could not locate me anywhere in Bengaluru, she approached Rama Jois, who with the help of Justice Santosh Hegde, filed a writ of habeas corpus in the High Court. After the writ was filed, police shifted me from lockup to central jail. It was ironic that when he was also brought to central jail later, I had to welcome him!
We stayed in the same barracks for nearly 15 months, during which I experienced his legal luminance. In fact, stalwarts like Advaniji, Madhu Dandavateji and others were always seeking his guidance on legal issues during our confinement. When I completed my law degree, he called me to his house to ask about my plans. When I said I wanted to pursue LLM, he advised me to practise law. With genuine concern, he put me on to a very good senior advocate in Bengaluru.
When I contested elections, he would often taken an active role in campaigning for me. As a resident of my constituency, he would interact with me on many issues. His role in establishing North Karnataka’s first Government Law College at Martur village in Chittapur taluk, Kalaburagi district, was phenomenal. As then law minister, I still fondly remember that I was of some help to him in this. All through, I have seen him as advocate, judge, governor, Rajya Sabha member, and more importantly, an enlightened citizen with a selfless concern for the well-being of society. RIP.
(S Suresh Kumar, Minister for Primary & Secondary Education and Sakala)