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Book Review
A politician and a gentleman
By Nigar Ataulla

Yahya-vision and action
By Aftab Hussain Kola and SM Syed Hasan Sakkaf
Publisher: Anjuman Hami-e-Muslimeenm, Main Road
Batkal 581320 Karnataka, India
Price Rs 100
 

Most biographies of great men have an aura built around them which hooks the reader on to the book, but at the same time takes them away from the realm of reality on to a fantasy world where the person written about is the hero simply out of reach of the common man. Away from such exaggerated descriptions, cliches and dramatic dialogues comes a simple and straightforward tribute to the late S M Yahya-the dyed-in the -wool humanist by birth, a professor by choice and a politician by accident. Authored by well-known journalist Aftab Hussain Kola along with educationist S M Syed Hasan Sakkaf, Yahya-Vision & Action is a short biography of the life and work of Yahya who was for almost 30 years intimately connected to the Anjuman Hami-e-Muslimeen in Bhatkal which has a chain of educational institutions to its credit, and served admirably as its general secretary and later as president. Yahya was born in a Navayath Muslim family of Bhatkal district in North Karnataka on February 3, 1938. He did his initial schooling in his home town and high school and pre-university in Madikere where his father had a flourishing coffee plantation estate. After completing his BA from Loyola College, Madras, Yahya proceeded to Bombay where he did MA, LLB, and LLM, at the University of Bombay. After his studies and a short stint of law practice, in Bangalore, he realised that his place was in politics. But he was not yet ready for it. So he sought the advice of political veterans who extended their political patronage and encouraged him to enter into politics and Yahya forayed into the Karnatak State politics in 1968. This short biography is just a small token of recognition of the enduring service rendered by Yahya to Bhatkal and the State of Karnataka. The main objective of the book is to record his achievments so that the footprints he has left can be the lodestar for the progeny. It is hoped that the book will serve to inspire the young. Yahya is no more with us, but his cherished memory lingers on and his yeoman services will remain indelible. The authors have managed to present the persona of Yahya in the most impressive fashion. The book ought to find a place not only in the homes of the present-day politicians who need to learn a lesson or two from Yahya's sincerity, but also with the common people from all walks of life who may not be aware that all along his tenure in politics, he strongly believed that there must be relation between life and education. Do we ever get to hear such words of wisdom from our netas today? q

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