Shri Salem Nanjundaiah Subba Rao was born in Bangalore, Karnataka, on 7 February 1929. His father Shri Nanjudaiah was an advocate of repute, known for refusing unjust cases. Along with his three brothers, Subba Rao started singing devotional songs at the tender age of ten in the Ramakrishna Vedanta College, Malleshwaram. While studying in the school he was inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He became a Khadi-wearer. His first experience with India’s freedom movement was on the morning of 9 August 1942 when he, along with other school students, boycotted classes. He was writing “Quit India” on Street walls and roads when he was arrested by the British police, but was later released being only 13 years of age. Since then Shri Subba Rao became active in freedom struggle of the country. During student life he actively participated in Student Congress and Rashtra Seva Dal Programmes. Under the banner of a local organization ‘Gandhi Sahitya Sangha’ he led youths to organize adult education programme in mohallas of labourers. It was his popularity through these programmes and his organising abilities which resulted in his selection for 31 day training camp at Gurlhosur (District Belgaum) in 1946.