Heroes From The Past: Devraj Urs – The Man Who Stood For Social Justice

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He was a former Chief Minister of Karnataka. All politicians cutting across political lines appreciated him. Devraj Urs was an Indian politician who has twice served as Chief Minister of Karnataka, India. He is widely remembered and respected for the socio-economic reforms and in uplifting the underprivileged. He is one of the few leaders who had earned the good will and respect of leaders cutting across political lines. Though he could not implement the reforms in its entirety due to a stiff opposition, the policies he implemented became the bedrock of social justice in Karnataka.

How he uplifted the poor farmers by redistributing land

Poor farmers and tillers being caught in the clutches of money lenders and eventually committing suicide due to the inability of repayment of debt is an all too familiar and sorry sight in the Indian agricultural scenario. Devraj Urs came from a family of means and wealth, he belonged to the aristocratic Arasu community while his father was a land owner. He came from a wealthy background and became the hero of the masses, his empathy to the poor and backward classes is perhaps unmatched. He is much known among the people for his revolutionary policies through which many poor peasants and tillers were given land and eventually got relieved from the clutches of money lenders.

Democracy has evolved post-independence, the power shift has been palpable, one can convincingly say the power has concentrated in the hands of few. Devraj Urs would be widely remembered to have reverse the trend and take the power back to the masses. Even his most adverse critics term him as the “hero of the masses.”. Urs was a rare politician, he had immense love and respect for the common man and was highly committed. The 150-year-old dilapidated home of Urs has been transformed into a beautiful museum by the department of ancient history and archaeology at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh. Cutting across political lines, Urs was revered as a visionary. He has been conferred the Karnataka Ratna award.

Some of his accomplishments

Electrification of Karnataka
Laying the foundation stones for Electronics city
Education of the people belonging to the backward classes.
Absorbing many thousands of unemployed graduates in the stipendiary scheme Abolition of carrying night soil by Dalits and bonded labour
Shelters for migrant workers;
Rural debt waiver

What people say about him

Urs was one of the few politicians who commended respect was looked upon by people from across the political spectrum
Former Chief Minister of Karnataka and BJP member Shettar called him as a “champion of the oppressed classes”.
Incumbent Chief Minister termed him as a “voice of the voiceless”.