Kengal Hanumanthaiah (born February 14, 1908, 1 December , 1980) was the chief minister of the old Mysore State (Karnataka) in India from 1952 to 1956. He is best remembered for his vision and contribution to the construction of Vidhana Soudha or the state assembly house.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah was born in 1908 to a Vokkaliga family in Lakkappanapalli, a small village in Bangalore district. He graduated in Arts from the Mysore Maharaja College in 1930, and later completed LL.B from Poona Law College in 1932. During his college days, he was elected as the secretary of the Students Union and Karnataka Sangha.
After graduating from law, he joined the bar council in the same year. Dr. P. Tandon, the then President of Indian National Congress, advised Kengal Hanumanthaiah to give up active practice at the bar and to devote himself to the freedom struggle. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Hanumanthaiah pitched himself into the freedom struggle and was imprisoned more than nine times.
After established himself on the political scenario, Kengal Hanumanthaiah was unanimously elected the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Mysore in 1948 and was sworn in as Mysore’s second chief minister. Having philanthropic characteristics and immense administrative qualities, his tenure as a Chief Minister marked efficient state-of-affairs, aimed at uplifting the rural population of the state and progressive economic growth.
Hanumanthaiah’s major contribution was the construction of the “Vidhana Soudha”, the largest legislature-cum-office building in India at that time. His other key achievement was the unification of Karnataka. He played a pivotal role in the unity of the Kannada speaking areas within the boundaries of a single state.
Hanumanthaiah became a member of the Union Government as a cabinet minister with portfolio of railways in January 1971.
He died on 1 December , 1980