My Grandfather, a man of dignity.
It is said that a magnanimous person is loved by generations even after his death. Such was the case of my beloved grandfather Jukaku Shamsuddin.
Hailing from a small town in South India, Bhatkal, he was born in 1913. Those were times when Bhatkal was stricken with impoverishment. An underdeveloped town with lack of electricity, sewage system and good roads, a good education seemed to be farfetched from its inhabitants. But my grandfather Shamsuddin had high aspirations. He did not stop his education at higher primary school like the others in town. Seeing his enthusiasm, he was sent to enroll in High School with M.M. Siddique, who supported the orphan boy. He travelled in thirst of knowledge and completed his higher education gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Kolhapur and then a LLB (Bachelor’s in Law) from Poona University. After completing his education, he became the first and for several years, the only lawyer in town. He began practicing law and fought cases regardless the financial status of his clients. Money being his last concern, he would fight with all fervor until his clients were contented with him. This earned him respect and a status in society and in the district of Karwar, due to which he was appointed as public prosecutor in the town of Kumta. Later in 1946, the people of the region decided to elect him for the Assembly of the Bombay Presidency. Freedom fighters who were national leaders also became of close proximity to him after seeing his love and successful representation of his society. Although he did not get elected a second time in 1951, he continued his service to the town and got elected as President of the Bhatkal Municipality, during which the town obtained a hospital, sewage system and tarred roads. He was also appointed leader of a string of educational institutions and to this day remembers his sacrifices due to which an important building from these institutions was built under his name in 2016. He was then elected to the first Mysore state assembly. Chief minister B.D. Jatti appointed him in his cabinet as Deputy Finance Manager without a single thought, making him the first ever Minister from his town. Development of these towns became his first priority when he introduced electricity and phones to the town. Roads that were non accessible before became ready to be used. He introduced many livable colonies to the town including the best one and street lights were installed. Due to his dedication, he earned another honour when the Chief Minister handed over the Case of power. During this tenure, he illuminated towns and cities and helped entrepreneurs set industries in short time. Construction works that had stopped for years were restarted and completed under his supervision. All of this didn’t stop him from his religious duties. It was known that he didn’t miss a single prayer despite his busy schedule.
He married my Grandmother, the daughter of his benefactor who had supported him to attend school and had six daughters and four sons, one of which is my father Fazal Jukaku. All his children and grandchildren, gained a good education, many of which went on to acquire professional degrees in different parts of the world including U.S.A, Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia.
He died early in 1964 and left behind a legacy admired by many, all because he kept people’s interest above his own. One of the most famous roundabouts in Bhatkal is named after him along with a famous road and educational building, which is a fine accolade for a person without whom the town wouldn’t have been what it is today.