Remembering Sanjay Devadiga - Dubai’s Distinguished Community Elder...
A tribute by: B.G.Mohandas
If one enquires with any senior expats in Dubai regarding our community, the late Sanjay Devadiga’s name invariably comes to forefront. During seventies when the Gulf was witnessing oil boom there were only few Devadigas in this region. First amongst those few who carved a niche in the society was Sanjay. In fact many of our community members who were residing at that time did not sport sir names hence it was difficult to identify them. As, his sir name was very conspicuous that it helped him to attract other community migrants to his fold. Sanjay thus was a symbol of our community in this region and as the years passed by that Iconic group developed in to a Sangha later on.
In this context, It is to be noted with pride that before Sanjay entry to Dubai, it was his mentor and father in law late Kanwatheertha Vaman Rao who was considered as doyen among Kannadigas in this part of the world who was instrumental in bringing up the first devadiga family in Gulf. Civil Engineer K.Vaman Rao is even now fondly remembered by the Indian Community elders like Maganmal Pancholia, Choitram family among others. It may be recalled that he was the first south Indian to become the Secretary of Indian Association, Dubai.
Sanjay was admired and liked by everyone for his simplicity, friendliness and helpful nature. He served as Manager in prestigious Shipping Company in those years and was actively involved in social activities associated with Indian Sports Club where he and his wife Padma were well known. Later, when the Karnataka Sangha was formed the family got involved in its activities too with equal gusto. Both of them served Sangha for many years as Managing Committee members. Sanjay was a very sportive person by all means and used to take part in all sports activities especially Table Tennis and remained champion for many years in his prime days. His dear wife Padmavalli was also very keen sports lover and was Darts queen of Indian Sports Club for many years.
A true believer in the importance of education, Sanjay continued his passion and secured a prestigious degree in Shipping law during his hey day in Dubai. A symbol of hard work, he has secured his Masters in Arts & Law degrees while he was working in Mumbai. He is known as the one of the most educated person in our community. All his degrees; B.A(Econ.), M.A(Pol), LLB, F.I.C.S, F.I.F.P, F.C.I.T, M.I.S.M, M.I.E.X, Phd, reflects his determination to excel. He went on passionately devoting his time to earn more degrees and fact that few of these degrees were earned while working in Mumbai is shining example of how hardship and age did not deter him from seeking higher education; to forge ahead in life. This no doubt will inspire the younger generation of our community.
Sanjay’s love towards community was instrumental in the formation of Devadiga Koota UAE for which he was the convenor. He was closely associated with activities of Devadiga Sangha Mumbai for many years. His association with the Sangha started during his young days when he landed in Bombay looking forward to build his life. He was one of the recipients of Devadiga Sangha scholarship for which he always was grateful. He also was the Sports Champion of the Sangha. He worked, studied and associated with community activities during his Mumbai days before landing in Dubai in 1970 after his marriage to Padmavalli, second daughter of Dubai’s wellknown Engineer K.V.Rao in 1969.
Sanjay was a very jovial and pleasant person. His charming smile always used to make others at ease. Residing in Karama, he and his very hospitable wife Padma were hosts for many family and community parties at the weekends. The relatives and community members would invariable meet at Sanjay residence for any occasion to an extent that it was considered a de facto meeting place. Even their residence served as a venue for many activities of Karnataka Sangha Dubai.
Sanjay( Sanjeev) Devadiga hails from Venur and belongs to a prominent agriculturist family and was the eldest son of Sheena Devadiga and Manjamma. He was born 31-1-1939.
Love and respect he draws from his family is immense. He has inspired, guided, helped and motivated his brothers and family members to come up well in life. Being the eldest he shouldered all the responsibilities of the family sincerely, admiringly and most trustily. Brother Anand Devadiga adores his brother’s contribution in upbringing of their family.
Sanjay and Padmavalli’s family comprises five talented and beautiful daughters. Dr.Jyoti, Bindya, Lalin, Ashwini and Charisma. All are well educated and are now well settled. Sanjay was very proud of his daughters as they lived up to his expectation in securing professional degrees.
In a true reflection of daughter’s love, affection and respect; second daughter Bindya says‘i would like to mention one thing which is very important to our life and that is - it is because of our Dad's inspiration and way of thinking that he encouraged us to get our education and today we all children can proudly say that he has brought up a lot of influence to what we are today. He made us aware of all the difficulties which his family faced and that led us to respect him more and all the awareness of how life could be and can be. His words of wisdom at the right time would always be carried on with us’.
For us in UAE who have been associated with him for long years in Dubai, he has been an inspiring human being with whom we shared our ups and downs as ‘Anna’ and he comforted us with his warmth, affection and love. He was our icon in Dubai and we looked at him as the most educated, well qualified professional and a selfless person who always was on one’s side when needed an advice.
Sanjay left to heavenly abode in Dubai on 13.05.2003.
Though he is no longer in our midst physically, he is in our mind, thoughts and deeds.