Justice Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court judge and former Lokayukta of Karnataka, recalls his association with Gandhian HS Doreswamy, who passed away on Wednesday.“I knew HS Doreswamy closely since the India Against Corruption movement in 2011 when we both sat in protest against corruption at the Freedom Park for many days. From then, we may have protested against more than ten issues, each lasting more than ten days.
He fought against the British at a young age and took part in many struggles. He went to prison during the Freedom Movement, and after Independence, he never aligned himself with any political party.During the Emergency, he protested against the government and was sent to jail. He was again sent to prison for supporting public causes and fighting for the uplift of the downtrodden. But at the same time, he was also a favourite of many political leaders.
He was not interested in any official position and he never got one. I don’t think he even aspired for a post. He took on the establishment not on political grounds, but over public issues.After I retired as Lokayukta in 2011, we protested against land grabbing, which was revealed by the AT Ramaswamy report. Thereafter, we protested against non-implementation of the Lokayukta mining report and we became close. I realised that he was a man of principles.
During the protest against land grabbing, he entered Vidhana Soudha and protested inside.He never used his old age as an excuse not to participate in agitations. He was straight forward and would protest if he did not agree with what was happening. I have a great regard for him and I learnt a lot about people’s perception of administration from him. He encouraged me to get onto the protesting stage. I always wondered if it was possible for him to come out and protest as he was in his nineties already.
He ought to have been recognised for his work, not with a post of minister or any position, but at least with some awards. He never got any Padma recognition. Ironically, they conducted his last rites with state honours.
I sarcastically wrote, “Is it to make sure he is gone?’’ When they know he is gone and cannot protest anymore, they have given him the state honour. He was against the establishment, and the establishment never recognised him. He was a simple person, but did a lot to protect democracy from the establishment. Life is not permanent. He had to go, but he lived his life for others. As told to Bansy Kalappa