Rajkumar, also known as Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Muthuraju, was a celebrated Kannada actor and a prominent figure in the political landscape of Karnataka. His contribution to Kannada politics is a significant part of his legacy that continues to inspire the people of the state.
Born in 1929, Rajkumar began his acting career in the early 1950s and soon became one of the most popular actors in Kannada cinema. However, his contribution to the state’s culture and language was not limited to his work in the entertainment industry.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Rajkumar emerged as a prominent voice of the growing movement for the recognition of Kannada as a separate language and the promotion of the state’s culture. He played a significant role in mobilizing public opinion in favor of these demands and was actively involved in pro-Kannada organizations such as Kannada Sahitya Parishad and Kannada Abhimanigala Sangha.
He was a strong advocate of the “one state, one language” policy and campaigned for the use of Kannada as the official language of the state. Rajkumar’s activism and dedication to the Kannada pride movement made him a revered figure in Karnataka.
In 2000, Rajkumar was kidnapped by the notorious forest brigand Veerappan, along with his son and two others. The kidnapping lasted over 100 days and Rajkumar became a symbol of the Kannada pride movement. His release was secured after negotiations with the government, and it is said that his abduction played a significant role in the formation of the Special Task Force to deal with Veerappan.
Rajkumar’s popularity in Karnataka was such that he was even considered a potential candidate for the post of Chief Minister. However, he never contested any elections himself, though he campaigned actively for other pro-Kannada politicians.
In 2000, the then Karnataka Chief Minister, S. M. Krishna, offered Rajkumar a seat in the state Legislative Council as a nomination. Rajkumar accepted the offer, and he served as a member of the council until his death in 2006.
Rajkumar’s contribution to Kannada politics was not just limited to his activism and his role as a member of the Legislative Council. He was a symbol of the Kannada pride movement and played a significant role in the promotion of the language and culture of the state.
Even today, Rajkumar remains a revered figure in Karnataka, and his legacy continues to inspire the people of the state. His dedication to the Kannada pride movement and his contribution to Kannada politics will always be remembered and celebrated.