Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa (10 December 1902 – 8 August 2000) was a senior Congress politician and the Chief Minister of Karnataka (then Mysore State) between 1956 and 1958 and once again, between 1962 and 1968. He played an important role in the Indian freedom movement as well as in the Karnataka Unification movement.

S. Nijalingappa
Statue of Nijaligappa at Davanagere
4th Chief Minister of Mysore State
In office
1 November 1956 – 16 May 1958
GovernorJayachamarajendra Wadiyar
Preceded byKadidal Manjappa
Succeeded byB. D. Jatti
In office
21 June 1962 – 29 May 1968
GovernorJayachamarajendra Wadiyar
S. M. Shrinagesh
V. V. Giri
Gopal Swarup Pathak
Preceded byS. R. Kanthi
Succeeded byVeerendra Patil
Personal details
Born(1902-12-10)10 December 1902
Bellary, Madras Presidency, United India
(now in Karnataka, India)
Died8 August 2000(2000-08-08) (aged 97)
Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
Political partyIndian National Congress

His father name was Shri Adivappa; Born at Haluvagol on December 10, 1902; got education at A.V. School, Davangere, High School, Chitardurga. Central College, Bangalore and Law College, Poona. married Shrimati Murigamma on June 25, 1927; he was father of 3 Sons and 6 Daughters. He belongs to Banajiga sub-sect of Lingayat community [1] .

Early lifeEdit

Nijalingappa was born in a village in Bellary district,[2] in the erstwhile Madras Presidency of British India (in the present-day Indian State of Karnataka). His father was a small businessman and mother a homemaker and a devotee of the deity Shiva.[2] Nijalingappa lost his father when he was five. In an interview, Nijalingappa recalled that his "father's ancestors were all rich profligates" and that they "dissipated their wealth on gambling, drinking and womanising." He added that his "mother's father helped [his] parents, but [his family] were still very poor." He grew up in Davanagere and joined secondary school in Chitradurga in 1919. During this time, he was influenced by the political writings of Annie Besant.[3]

He graduated in arts from the Central College, Bengaluru during this time stayed in Rao Bahadhur Dharmapravartha Gubbi Thotadappa hostel (1921–1924), in 1924 and got his Law degree from the Law College, Poona in 1926. As a child, he was given a traditional education by an old teacher named Veerappa Master. Thus, like the other leaders of the Indian Freedom Movement, he also had a unique blend of both traditional and modern education. The life and the vachanas of Basaveshwar and the philosophy of Shankaracharya, as well as the course of the Indian Freedom Movement and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi had the utmost effect on his mind.

Political careerEdit

Nijalingappa attended the Congress sessions as a spectator. It was in 1936, when he came into contact with Dr. N. S. Hardikar, that he began to take an active interest in the organization. He served it first as a volunteer, rising to be the President of the Pradesh Congress Committee and finally the President of the All India Congress Committee in 1968.

He became president of the Mysore Congress and was also a member of the historic Constituent Assembly from 1946 to 1950. Later, he was elected as a member of the first Lok Sabha from the Chitaldrug constituency (now Chitradurga) in 1952.

The services rendered by Nijalingappa towards the unification of Karnataka was enormous, and in recognition of the same, he was chosen as the first Chief Minister of the unified state. Then again for the second time, he was elected to the same responsible post and he continued in that post up to April 1968. He may well be called the "Maker of Modern Karnataka". The state owes much to him for development of agricultural, irrigation, industrial and transport projects.[4]

He became the Congress President when people in many parts of the country had expressed their distrust in it in the 1967 elections. He chaired two Congress sessions in 1968 and 1969 held in Hyderabad and Faridabad respectively. Due to his untiring efforts, the Congress Party was re-invigorated. However, the factional feud between various factions of the party increased and finally resulted in the historic split of the party in 1969.[5] He was the last president of undivided Indian National Congress and had to see, his party being split into Congress(Ruling) supporting Indira Gandhi and Congress (Organization) or Syndicate Congress consisting of senior leaders like Nijalingappa himself, Neelam Sanjiva_Reddy Kamaraj, Morarji Desai and others.[6]

After the Congress split, Nijalingappa gradually retired from politics. After giving up active politics, he served as chairman of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Society. He was widely revered even after his retirement and was known for his simplicity and integrity.[7] He died on 9 August 2000 at his residence in Chitradurga at the age of 97.[8]

He is fondly remembered in the Tibetan community of India because as Chief Minister of Karnataka, he gave land to Tibetan refugees for the purpose of resettlement. Karnataka today has the largest Tibetan settlements and the largest population in exile. Bylakuppe (six hours from Bangalore), Mundgod (two hours from Hubli), Kollegal and Gurupura (near Bylakuppe) are the four Tibetan settlements in Karnataka.[9]

Post HeldEdit

He Was advocate till 1940 when debarred on account of political activities; Member, Indian National Congress for thirty years; became President, Chitaldroog D.C.C.. from 1936 to 1940; Member of Mysore Legislative Council, 1937-38; Member, Mysore Congress Working Committee, 1938—50; General Secretary, Mysore P.C.C., 1942—45; President, Mysore P.C.C., 1945-46; President, Karnataka P.C.C., 1946; Member, Constituent Assembly of India and Provisional Parliament; Member (1948—50) and President, Constituent Assembly of Mysore; Member, Congress Working Committee from 1949; Member, the Gopal Rao Enquiry Committee, Government of Mysore; Advocate of decentralisation of Industry and production and formation of States on linguistic basis.

He is the member of nijalingappa committee as he is appointed by the planning commission to eximine the working of co-operative societies. As result they foundation the co-operative societies were formed by the member of the same family to evade laws.

Clubs: Member, Chitaldroog Club from 1929; its Secretary, 1935—37; Member, Constitution Club, New Delhi.

Hobby: Gardening.

Special interest: Village and Harijan Uplift, Spinning and Literature.

Permanent address: Chitaldroog (Mysore)


Nijalingappa on a 2003 stamp of India

The memorial of Nijalingappa built beside NH-4 on the outskirts of Chitradurga near Sibara was inaugurated by the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on 29 January 2011.[10] Meanwhile, Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa declared that he would name the Sugar research institute at Belgaum after Nijalingappa.[11]


  1. ^ Nels Anderson, ed. (1969). Studies in Multilingualism I of VII. p. 134.
  2. ^ a b "FACTIONS AND POLITICAL LEADERS" (PDF). p. 193. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  3. ^ Riti, M. D. "A politician who rose above politics". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  5. ^ Split in a Predominant Party: The Indian National Congress in 1969. Google book results.
  6. ^ "Split in the Congress". Indiansaga.
  7. ^ "Wearing simplicity on the sleeve". Deccan Herald. 6 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Nijalingappa dead". The Hindu. 9 August 2000.
  9. ^ "His Holiness the Dalai Lama Remembers Former Chief Minister Nijalingappa". Central Tibetan Administration.
  10. ^ "S. Nijalingappa memorial to be dedicated to the nation today". The Hindu. 29 January 2011.
  11. ^ "Sugar institute named after Nijalingappa". The Hindu. 28 August 2010.

Further readingEdit

  • Nijalingappa, S. (2000). My Life and Politics: An Autobiography. Vision Books. ISBN 9788170944232.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Kadidal Manjappa
Chief Minister of Karnataka
1 November 1956 to 16 May 1958
Succeeded by
B. D. Jatti
Preceded by
S. R. Kanthi
Chief Minister of Karnataka
21 June 1962 to 29 May 1968
Succeeded by
Veerendra Patil