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Karnataka: Meet TA Narayana Gowda, the person behind Pro-Kannada protests in Bengaluru

KRV's TA Narayana Gowda, known for pro-Kannada activism, faces arrest after a protest turned violent in Bengaluru. From past controversies to present clashes over language, his journey unfolds. Questions on family and political ties emerge amidst his leadership in the language rights movement.

Karnataka: Meet TA Narayana Gowda, the person behind Pro-Kannada protests in Bengaluru vkp
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First Published Dec 29, 2023, 1:20 PM IST

TA Narayana Gowda, a figure synonymous with pro-Kannada activism, was apprehended in Bengaluru following a pro-Kannada protest that escalated into vandalism. However, this arrest is not the first chapter in Gowda's life steeped in activism.

Gowda's history dates back to a controversial incident in 1981 when, at the age of 15, he faced arrest for damaging a sound system playing Tamil songs during a Ganesha festival orchestra in Arsikere's Malekal Tirupati. Little did he know then that this early brush with rebellion would set the tone for his future endeavours.

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After his release, Gowda's journey took him to Bombay, where his supporters claim he fostered his activist spirit, reflecting upon his past conflicts and familial discord. However, it wasn't until 2005 that Gowda's name gained widespread recognition. He made headlines for blackening the face of the Belagavi Mayor, who was advocating for Belgaum's alignment with Maharashtra.

Presently, Gowda holds the position of state president within the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), a fervently pro-Kannada organization. Although known for his fiery activism, Gowda has been tagged as an "extorter." Nonetheless, KRV members suggest that such actions are carried out by a few within the organization, deflecting blame away from Gowda.

Recently, Gowda and 29 associates found themselves in legal trouble after their pro-Kannada demonstration in Bengaluru spiralled into violence. They were remanded to judicial custody following their court appearance.

The protest involved KRV activists causing damage to signboards not inscribed in Kannada, reigniting the language debate. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah responded by promising an ordinance mandating 60% Kannada on signboards.

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Amidst the controversy, social media users probed into Gowda's association with the Congress leadership. Questions arose regarding his daughter's education in the United States rather than in Karnataka.

Key aspects of Narayana Gowda's persona include his leadership in KRV, the organization's active role in border disputes, and his impassioned plea to PM Modi, writing a letter using his own blood concerning the Cauvery River water issue. Additionally, his transformation from a garment worker in Hassan to a garment factory owner signifies his journey through various roles.

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