Vatal Nagraj’s love story

 Kannada activist Vatal Nagraj openly supported Valentine’s Day amidst opposition by saffron activists. When asked about his lady love, he admitted that he was in love with his wife and that he had a love marriage. But when prodded further to share his love story, he simply blushed and refused to speak about it. We approached his daughter Anupama, who told her parents’ love story.

Vatal Nagraj and wife Gnanambike in their younger days/

“Love in the olden days was very much different than the way it is now. There was no going around, meeting in restaurants or going for movies. People simply saw each other and loved. My parents’ love story was also like that,” she said.


On his many struggles for Kannada, Vatal visited T Narasimhapura village in the late sixties. With his friend he went for lunch to his friend’s sister’s house. There he saw a seventeen year old girl, and it was love at first sight. “There he first saw my mother. She was his friend’s sister’s daughter Gnanambike. She was serving food,” she said.


Vatal then approached Gnanambike’s parents, who flatly refused in giving their daughter in marriage to the politician. But Vatal had made up his mind. “My father said that he would marry only Gnanambike and no one else,” she said.


In the meanwhile, Gnanambike had also fallen in love with Vatal. “She too put her foot down and said that she would marry only him. Since my mom fought for the Kannada cause, she was impressed with him. She said that she had to be lucky since my dad wanted to marry her. She too said that she would not marry anyone else,” said Anupama.


Gnanambike’s parents had many reasons on why Vatal was not a good suitor. “They said that he had no job, no house and no property, but only his Kannada cause. My grand mother even said that he was not good looking. My grand father hated politicians. To top it up my father kept going to jail. My mother was the eldest and they did not want her to suffer with an activist. My mother did not budge and they had to give in,” she said.


 As told by her parents, on the wedding day Vatal was in jail. “The rituals were conducted without the groom. At 3 am in the morning he reached the wedding place dirty and with over grown beard. Then, the wedding was held,” she said.

Vatal Nagraj and Gnanambike after years of marriage


After marriage the couple faced a lot of problems but they stood by each other. “My father did not have any steady income, but my mother did not let him know of the problems we were facing at home. She wanted him to concentrate completely on the Kannada struggle. We would get rice from the Public Distribution system. My mother would give this rice to you and good quality rice to my father. She said that she did not want him to be bothered with the problems at home,” she said.


Anupama feels that Vatal now regrets for not being able to give comforts to his wife. “He says that he had fallen in love and married my mother, but had not been able to keep her happy. But my mother says that she is proud of my father and is very happy,” she said.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mahesh on July 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    great collections need more picture


  2. Posted by mahesh on July 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    need to know more about them pl update


  3. Posted by kumar on December 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    very touching story…..


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