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The varsity that catapulted Jaipal Reddy into politics - a candid interview with our Editor

The varsity that catapulted Jaipal Reddy into politics - a candid interview with our Editor
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Highlights

The new generation knows S Jaipal Reddy as a learned man, an avid reader and a man of profound sensitivity, who never missed an opportunity to articulate the genuine hopes and aspirations of the masses, particularly farmers and the weaker sections of the society.

Hyderabad: The new generation knows S Jaipal Reddy as a learned man, an avid reader and a man of profound sensitivity, who never missed an opportunity to articulate the genuine hopes and aspirations of the masses, particularly farmers and the weaker sections of the society.

But when he entered the Nizam College in 1958 to study Pre-University Course, he was directionless and was even confused about the combination of subjects he should take. He was also a film buff. Even now his interest in films had not died down and he keeps himself updated on the new trends in tinsel town.

Recalling those good old days, the 75-year old Alumini of Osmania University says in the initial stages, he was under the influence of C Rajagopalachari, politician, independence activist, lawyer, writer and statesman. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India.

He said in the early days of his college he used to read the books of Rajagopalachari and was an avid reader of all available newspapers like the Statesman of Kolkata. Remembering his college days, Jaipal Reddy says there used to be a newsstand in front of Tajmahal Hotel at Abids from where he used to buy his stock of newspapers.

"I was more interested in extracurricular activities like debates and that helped me to catapult into a man who could express his thoughts freely, crisply and clearly and attain command over language," says the septuagenarian leader. After his PUC, Jaipal Reddy joined the Arts College which was considered as a great architectural building and at the age of 21, in the year 1963 to be precise, he became the member of the Political Students Organisation and was later elected as the president of the students union.

Reddy says during his student days he came into contact with P V Narasimha Rao, who was a 'devotee to the extent of being a fanatic' of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. After coming into contact with PV, Jaipal Reddy says he moved over from Rajaji's thinking and Nehruvian ideology. Walking down the memory lane, he says the university used to be a very nice place, buzzing with various activities. As president of the students union, Jaipal says, he had the privilege of inviting Morarji Desai, who at that time had resigned from Nehru's Cabinet as Finance Minister.

Both of them came to OU and addressed the students. He says even Dr Ram Manohar Lohia had come to the University in 1964 on his invitation and addressed the students. But then organising the meeting with Lohia was a little adventurous. Lohia had reached Hyderabad when reports of anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu broke and the then DGP of Hyderabad Nambiar called up the telephone exchange of Arts College and told him that he should cancel the meeting since it could lead to trouble.But Jaipal Reddy told the DGP that there was no question of cancelling the meeting and he could assure the police that no trouble would take place in OU. However, the DGP sent 10 troops of police force to OU campus.

Reddy says he called the DGP and told him that if he wanted peace, he should confine the police to the OU police station and he could send some plainclothesmen if he wanted. To be on the safe side, he says, he urged Lohia not to speak in Hindi. A surprised Lohia said, "Jaipal, I thought you are a bold man," and then went on to speak in Hindi for about an hour." Lohia, Jaipal Reddy says, was a linguist revivalist and stood for the promotion of Indian languages.

He said he also had completed his Master of Arts in English from the Osmania University and holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the same university. Since politics interested him even when he was a college student, his political journey was therefore quite natural for him.

By V Ramu Sarma

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