If it weren’t for Abdul Karim Telgi, the tranquil, lush hamlet of Khanapur in Belgaum, Karnataka, most likely would have never made headlines.
Abdul Karim Telgi was the second of the three brothers. While the eldest one Abdul Rahim Telgi passed away many years ago, the youngest brother became the president of Khanapur town municipality. Azim was also in jail for five years after the Telgi scam was busted.
At the cremation of Abdul Karim Telgi, his daughter Sana and Telgi’s brother Abdul Azim Telgi entered into a fight.
Telgi’s father, known as Ladsaab in the railroad community, was a Class IV employee. Ladsaab’s parents were from northern India when he was born, but they eventually moved to the south due to financial difficulties. Ladsaab became resentful as a result of his family’s lack of resources and education. He frequently voiced annoyance that his parents gave him such a strange name.
After Ladsaab’s job in the railways brought him to the Khanapur station, he married Sharifa Bi and moved to Khanapur. Telgi was their second child and was born in 1961. Ladsaab, who was anxious and despondent, developed diabetes and passed away shortly after Telgi was born.
Sharifa Bi, who was only in her early twenties, was left to care for her three children and herself. Khanapur was a prosperous community. Fruit was abundant in the forests. Sharifa began taking her children to the forests, collected fruits such as pears, cherries, chikoos and mulberries.
The family packed these in tin boxes and cane baskets, and then the three brothers — Abdul Rahim, Abdul Karim and Abdul Azim would help their mother sell the fruits, peanuts and chikki to passengers on board trains that halted at Khanapur.
Twelve trains that ran up and down stopped at the station in the 1970s. The family would make ends meet by selling fruits all day. At Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, the three brothers attended classes. They were determined to improve their lot through education and business because their circumstances drove them to do so.
Telgi completed his education and enrolled at Belgaum’s Gogate College of Commerce. All of Khanapur was impressed when he returned from the metropolis as a commerce graduate. Telgi was aware that Khanapur and Belgaum were not the places where he could become wealthy and influential.