On Ugadi, a brand-new Kannada warrior emerges

The opening paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on Muthappa Rai leaves little to the imagination:

“Muthappa Rai is an underworld don currently based in a locality at the outskirts of Bangalore, Karnataka, India. He was in the most-wanted list of criminals of Karnataka. During the peak of his underworld days Rai had a well-established criminal network across major cities of Karnataka like Bangalore and Mangalore. Rai had controlled underworld activities in Bangalore for a long period with a well-established syndicate which mostly comprised gangsters from the coastal city Mangalore as also Mumbai. He was said to have links with Bombay underworld big shots like Chotta Rajan. Rai now claims to be reformed and leads a less hyped life as a real estate developer/social worker.”

A 2002 profile by Ravi Sharma in the fortnightly magazine Frontline adds a few more attributes:

“one of Karnataka’s most elusive criminals“… “allegedly operated extortion rackets, helped property developers take possession of land in prime localities and collected ‘protection money’ from business houses” … “a shark, and not a whale [according to cop turned MP, Sangliana]”

But, wait, in case you didn’t click on that Wikipedia link, here’s what else you missed:

Rai attained notoriety in the underworld with the murder of the then underworld don of Bangalore M.P. Jairaj… the first time a gun was used to kill somebody in Bangalore… he was involved in a knife attack to protect his friend… He soon came to control a number of night clubs and was involved in shady real estate deals… He was allegedly instrumental in the murder in 1996 of Robert D’Silva, a timber merchant from Madikeri. He fled to Dubai using a fake passport.

A “reformed” Rai, who set up an apolitical “socially-oriented and welfare-driven organisation” called Jaya Karnataka” to uphold and preserve Kannada culture and tradition, and reach out to the underprivileged sections of society, especially the differently-abled throughout the state”, arrived in Mysore yesterday.

According to a report in Star of Mysore, Rai arrived along with “more than 2,000 activists in about 450 cars” on the way to Hogenakal “to lay siege” to the falls that is at the centre of Karnataka’s latest water row with Tamil Nadu.

Rai was received at the toll gate by the former vice-chancellor of the University of Mysore, D. Javare Gowda, who has made it his life’s mission to secure the “classical language status” for Kannada.

Rai, accompanied by the honourable “DeJaGow”, addressed a media conference at a choultry with “well-dressed and well-positioned” security guards guarding him, according to Star of Mysore.

Although he didn’t reveal his current revenue stream, Rai said “he would be dedicating 50 per cent of his income for improving water supply, medical facilities, power supply and to prevent suicides by farmers”.


Photographs: courtesy Star of Mysore

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46 Responses to “On Ugadi, a brand-new Kannada warrior emerges”

  1. ashwini Says:

    Rai is better than KRV

    First, it is a pity that modern day saviours of Kannada happen to be all questionable characters. More than this what makes every true Kannadiga hang his head in unbearable shame is the sight of people like Dejagow, Champa, Mukhyamantri Chandru, L S Sheshagiri Rao and so on selling their souls (what else can they sell when they do not have a spine) to the rowdies with a newfound cause….

    About Muthappa Rai in particular it is pertinenet to note that this ex-underworld don, at least in the context of Kannada nela, jala and bhashe, has spoken a lot of sense by condemning violence in the name of Kannada activism: ‘bus kallu hodeyodrinda Kannada uddhaara aagalla’ etc. When those who should have spoken sense like this let themselves to be coopted by elements swearing by violence on innocent people, destruction and aggression for real or cooked-up causes, at least an ex-rowdy had the guts and sense to be refreshingly different and decent in true Kannada spirit. Sad to say this but Karnataka needs more Muttappa Rais…..

  2. oldboy Says:

    >>Karnataka needs more Muttappa Rais…..
    Oh my god!!!

    Kannada is in need of more Kuvempus, Bendres and DVGs..

  3. Mysore Boy Says:

    Why is Dejagow hanging out with this lumpen lout? Is there a quid pro quo? Makes you wonder.

  4. Thyampanna Shetty Says:

    “Vinaasha kaale vipareetha buddhihi”

    Rai, along with his security guards should probably stay at home and live a peaceful life. With the baggage from the past, it’s probably not a better idea to go public like this.

  5. Ashwini Says:

    @Old boy

    I agree with Old boy but look at the pity sight of Javare Gowda, who is supposed to be carrying forward Kuvempu’s legacy, sharing dais with Muthappa Rai. Champaaaa, Kannada Sahitya Parishat President give a call to KRV rowdies to pulp the bones of non-Kannadigas without leaving any outward mark just as how the police do when they interrogate suspects; Sheshagiri Rao tries to flare up the feelings of innocent Kannadigas by raising non-issues like there are no enough postal stamps on Kannada heroes. When all these people talk street-level language Muthappa Rai says let us fight for Kannada in a dignified way, by not resorting to competitive violence, by not destroying public or private property, by not blackening someone’s face, by not vandalising some poor Tamilian’s shop, by sending our children to Kannada medium schools first etc. Agreed it is ‘Bhootada baayalli bhagavadgeete’ but that is the sad state of Kannada leadership. All that i meant was if the choice is to be made between KRV and Rai, the latter is better. Of course there is comparison of whatsover with the great names that you have mentioned.

  6. Capt.A.K.Char(Retd) Says:

    This is the old adage:

    “Saint has a past,sinner has a future.”

  7. TKM Says:

    KRV or Rai?
    DejaGow could have kept away from such ‘esteemed’ company.
    Under the ‘leadership’ of these people one can can only imagine the fate of the cause of Karnataka.

  8. TKM Says:

    Yes Capt. I agree; the sinner has a future (?)
    But should we sing hymns and make him a page 3 even before he attains it ?

  9. tamilian Says:

    Film artists from TN went on a peaceful hunger strike regarding the Hogenakal issue but, Karnataka has the GOONDA Muthappa Rai to fight for their cause. His body guards are from the govt or are they his own?

  10. dharma Says:

    Now that the Bundh has been called off, our children will have their exams as scheduled.

  11. ragpicker Says:

    Karnataka has a crisis of leadership, and its so-called intellectuals suffer from a crisis of character. What else should one make of a literary personalities who are supposed to reflect the conscience of society, prostrating with folded hands before a goon and asking him to lead Kannadigas ?

    it is to the eternal discredit and damnation of Javaregowda that he has stooped so low.

    Kannadigas should not hang their heads in shame. But should hang such leaders who have appropriated leadership with selfish motives.

  12. sudgadkar Says:

    Being a tuluva, Muthappa Rai should fight for the status of Tulu people. He should fight for the formation of a tulu state – Tulunadu.

  13. Krishnan Says:

    With dubious elements like Muthappa Rai spearheading Karnataka’s causes, Kanndigas need not need any more enemies.

  14. dr ramesh Says:

    kannada,karnataka obbara swattalla , yella kannadigarige seriddu.
    kannadakke yaaru kai yettidaru naavu swaagatisabeku.

  15. Yella Ok Says:

    Tamilian – YOu dont need any further goondas. The whole of your film fraternity and your DMK/AIADMK cadre is a bunch of goondas anyway.

  16. Aatmasakshi Says:

    What a shame that a former vice-chancellor of a once-great University, the father of another former vice-chanellor, who has encashed more out of Kuvempu than Kuvempu’s children, and who has been at the forefront of a laughable campaign to get the “Classical Language” status on Kannada, should be rubbing shoulders with an underworld don in public like this?

    I am not so sure Muthappa Rai is to be blamed, as churumuri is obliquely trying to. He wants a new lease of life, a new image, so he will do his “social work” and he will lay seige on Hogenakal and do anything required. But what has come upon the self-proclaimed sages of the land like D. Javare Gowda that they should be giving him such legitimacy? And what has come upon our intellectuals who are watching this naked assault on the soul of Kannada and Karnataka?

    In one stroke, Muthappa Rai has shown that all our supposed struggles is a self-preservation tactic of chauvinistic scoundrels wearing the figleaf of land, language, water, etc.

    I eagerly await Rai’s next venture, a weekly tabloid, edited by some literary two-penny.

  17. gagan Says:

    mysooru vishwa vidyaanilayada vishraanta kulapati obbaru bhoogata paatakiyannu swaagata maaDuvudu… mattu avara pakka koothu samvaada maaDuttiruvudu… idakkinta doDDa duranta innondilla.

    appa-maga ibbaroo sEri mysore university gourava vannu haraaju haakiddaare.

    now we have to see how muttappa rai has reformed? If he has reformed now, then from where is he getting all this money from? And those 450 cars? And what about the income 50% which he said will donate to the social welfare. Where is that income coming from?

  18. pragmatic Says:

    well here comes the Tamilian. Mr. Damizhan, is there any hooligan bigger than DMK chief and his sons?

  19. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    Isn’t Mr. Rai, a “respectable” realtor and developer now? ;-)

    He’s even paid huge taxes last year to prove that —

    “What is land mafia? I have purchased lands that were not involved in any litigation and developed them. I have developed 80 acres of land near Bidadi and some land near Devanahalli. All my dealings are legal and I have paid income tax of Rs. 81 lakh during the previous financial year.”



    Knowing the antecedents of progenies of your Kalaignar, one cannot say like that!

  20. shetty Says:

    Muthappa Rai was a ordinary clerk in Vijaya Bank and was dismissed from service.Now he goes abroad after commiting some crimes and EARNS money by dubious means.After making some crores he returns ( or is sent back ) to Karnataka.He bribes his way or rather most witnesses turn hostile for obvious reasons and he walks free.

    He may be buying legally cleared land but hom many sellers sell the Land to him at the market rates ?? He may have reformed himself but to go to the border with some 400 cars is a ugly display of MIGHT which could have been avoided.There are may other criminals who pass on as Politicians so one should not try to pinpioint MR as a Culprit.

    But it would be in his interests to restirct himself to Business and Social causes and not interfere in the administrative matters of the state.

  21. ERR Says:

    It’s a strange confluence of two Dons..

  22. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    What is the big difference between Muthappa Rai and most of our political leaders? One is at least on the way to reform himself. The whole society brands every politician (even some honest ones) as corrupt. Still don’t we “worship” them? Don’t we like to be seen with these political leaders who are known to have made more money than MR illegally? True they might not have killed any one in the process. All the same they have also indulged in illegal ways like MR. It is this which might have influenced our former VC Dajagow to share the platform with MR.

    Let us hope that our political leaders follow the latest step of MR and get reformed. In fact that is what MR should do. He should start a movement to reform politicians. What a glorious end to an ignoble beginning!

  23. tamilian Says:

    Yella Ok, pragmatic– why do you get so excited? Relax! One wants others to ‘close their mouth” so that you can have Churumuri for your views only!!

    Wishing you all “A Happy Sarvadhari Samvatsara”.

  24. TKM Says:

    Its said, ‘Tell me who your friends are and I can tell you who you are’
    One is judged by the company he keeps.
    Even cricketer Imran Khan regretted getting photographed with Modi, after he came to know Shri Modi’s CV from Gujarath.
    Hope Dejagow will take a hint from it.

  25. Pulilkeshi the Last Says:

    There is big money in fighting for Kannada these days. Each party will try to co-opt our horaatagaararu in its own nefarious way to get the vote out or scare voters.

    If TNG is OK, why not Rai, especiallly because his home language is Tulu? Such abundance of ironies.

  26. mayura Says:

    Relax guys…This is nothing new. We already have a ex-don from city market area in bangalore as the chairman of the KSRTC Mr.Devaraj ….whose name was market devi, a notorious rowdy in his earlier life doing wonders by introducing all those volve buses and streamlining the transport system of the state..

    Stop crying and look at the brighter side of things, maybe MR will make a good home minister since he knows all about dons and anti social elements… cut this guy some slack for gods sake


  27. mayura Says:

    Adding to my earlier comment, if MR becomes the OM minister, it would be interesting to see how he handles Comissioner Kempaiah his nemesis from his earlier avataar as don

  28. Ashwini Says:

    Well said Mr Shenoy and Pulikeshi

    There is big money in fighting Kannada cause….

    Of course, one need to ask what is the big difference between Rai and other politicians. A question of more immediate relevance is: What is the big difference between Rai and Narayana Gowda…..

  29. Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi Says:

    In Samskruta, there is a saying: “Chaturbhujam thiridrhama tath yona brihadbhu Yodhamaye”

    Roughly translated, cunning nature of a human being is a mirror of the obstacles faced by that human in childhood.

    In other words, Crime breeds crime. An atrocity was commited on Rai in his early life. Indeed, so grevious that his was a path to the dark side. And quite a flourishing side too, if I might add!

  30. Taleharate Says:

    “Although he didn’t reveal his current revenue stream, Rai said “he would be dedicating 50 per cent of his income for improving water supply, medical facilities, power supply and to prevent suicides by farmers”.

    I love that bit about Rai’s revenue stream

  31. Arun Says:

    If Wiki says so, let us not bother much.

    It takes some courage to say that he is coming back to normalcy, while most of our politicians, including Chief Ministers, high profile ministers, sons/brothers of CM/PMs take us for a ride claiming that they are pure as white. As someone has said, he should have taken the task of reforming the politicians.

    He has had a past which many hate. This apart, some clandestine activities in the interest of national security were facilitated by him. One incident is he meeting Rashid Dosthum of the Uzbek militia when he visited New Delhi to meet other heads of the Indian state.

    Well, early days, and hope he delivers the goods for Karnataka. Tulunadu!!!…no jokes Mr.Joker.

  32. Bangalore Boy Says:

    @ tamilian

    No one is getting excited… ur missing d point…
    they are asking about ur Kaliagnar’s past…

  33. Adarsh Says:

    I feel Karnataka is same as Bihar UP and Haryana.

  34. TKM Says:

    Adarsh, a correction.
    Karnataka is fast becoming the like the ‘cowbelt’ of states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarath, Bihar and UP where crime is the passion of the day.

  35. pulikeshi the last Says:


    Is this the same witless Devaraj who sold his constituency to S. M. Krishna and later gave up his membership in the Vidhana Parishath in his attempt to regain the seat? Pity the poor Chamarajapete people. No Krishna, no Devaraj, no Jamir.

  36. mayura Says:


    Yep, you are right. I as a former resident of chamarajpet am dismayed to see the constituency being lorded over by shady characters like SMK, Devaraj and Jameer.

  37. Pdp Says:

    Muthappa Rai has financed/produced a tamil movie “Tamizh MA”, they put Rai’s photo as credit at the start of Movie too )
    If he has vested interest there, not sure how he can protect kannada. Probably he is trying to monopolise kannada activities and then dictate terms on what issues to fight

  38. rama Says:

    He should be confered Doctorate. Dr.Muthappa Rai

  39. bakedgrainappa Says:

    Is Kannada safe at the hands of this man?

    Of course safer than with the hands of Narayana Gowda

  40. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    Chandrasekhara Patil’s jaathi based reign at the Parishad is over. He still wants to be in the limelight.

    Javaregowda got everything he wanted. Published third rate translations. Traded on Kuvempus name. Made his own maga VC. He still wants to be in the limelight.

    Rai knows there is no percentage in being an exortionist. He still wants to be in the limelight. Why he picked the Kannada cause I don’t know.

    If TNA, why not MR?

    That we talk of corruption in public life with such ease is clearly indicative of our inability to get angry.

  41. Defender of truth Says:

    When MR was detained by gulf police and got him over to b’lore by our no nonsense super cop HTS there were at least 8 muder cases against him. But due to his money power all the witnesses were either bought or intimidated and all the cases fell through and he is enjoying his stolen wealth. He surrounds himself with countless number of security men genuinely fearing for his life. Only Ghost knows when his avenger would be able to take revenge on him. Is it true that police foisted false cases against him which led to aquital of all the cases against him? Who will ever speak the truth?

  42. keshavaprasad Says:

    I see no difference between Muthappa Rai and De Ja Gow. De Ja Gow is not a a big scholar.He has not written any good book. Just volumes,Only quantity and no quality.some Pravasa sahityas,translations like Yuddha matthu Shanti etc. He does’t know Russian. That means he lifted it from some english translation.Ha hah . No wonder he joined hands with Rai.I am sick of reading about his gimmics in the local dailies of Mysore.

  43. Observer Says:

    Well done but highly questionable mtpr

  44. ananda Says:

    “Being a tuluva, Muthappa Rai should fight for the status of Tulu people. He should fight for the formation of a tulu state – Tulunadu.

    This not likely to happen as the very influential Konkani community of Mangalore see benefits of living in Karnataka, as their buisness could be affected if there was to be a separate state, these people would probably be prepared spend big money to keep Karnataka from splitting.

  45. suhas the boss/ george Says:

    muttappa rai is a great man. we should respect him.

  46. maddy Says:

    to whom so ever it may concern my request is please dont dig up the past things of any person bec our democracy needs only present , so in present wise rai is clean handed so if u wish support him but dont try to pull his legs…….. and my request to MUTHAPPA RAI ANNA …PLEASE HELP THE WOMEN WHO WAS VICTIM IN MAHALAKSHMI LAYOUT POLICE STATION WHO FOUGHT FOR 18YEARS FOR HER HUSBAND DEATH AND FINALLY GOT JUSTICE SO PLEASE MUTHAAPA ANNA HELP HER IF POSSIBLE….

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