Priyanjana Dutta, CNN-IBN, March 16, 2006
Bangalore: Number 86, Old Madras Road, Ulsoor is a very famous address in Bangalore. This is where one of Karnataka’s greatest poet, lyricist, folklorist, freedom fighter and singer Dr S K Karim Khan lives.
Born to a Pathan, Dr Khan, was drawn to the freedom struggle at a very young age. He was also drawn to Kannada folklore.
His love for the language and his complete mastery over it made him very popular among both Hindus and Muslims.
He compiled thousands of folk songs, which are in demand even today. He also wrote the scripts for many Kannada feature films.
"Uss waqt bahut sa anubhav maine paaya, log mujjhe bahut chaahe, main kannada mein pandit hua (I gained a lot of experience that time, people loved me a lot. I mastered Kannada)," says Dr S K Karim Khan.
Dr Khan’s love for classical Kannada language rises above religious and cultural barriers. A true Gandhian, Dr Khan leads a simple life even today.
In fact, the 90-year-old did not even ask for the pension that the government gives to freedom fighters.
But despite his Herculean contribution to Kannada folklore and the freedom movement, Dr Khan has been completely neglected by the very country whose freedom he fought for. But he has no complaints.
"Main kannadiga bhi hoon, main Musalman bhi hoon, har Hindu mera dost hai, isliye ismein farq dekhna gunaah ka kaam hoga," he says.(I belong to Karnataka, I am a Muslim and every Hindu is my friend. That is the reason that consider differentiating people a crime.)