Qualification: Degree (B. Com) from J.G. College of Commerce (Karnataka University)
Married to Bharathi, Home Maker
Nagaraghotam, son studying in 4th Standard.
Occupation; Principal Correspondent - The Hindu, renowned National daily news paper, since 1994 in Bellary.
Hails from Mattihalli family, which is known as a family of journalists. Ahiraj is the third generation journalist. Perhaps this is the only family in the country to represent The Hindu since 1930 for three generations. His grand father Mattihalli Raghavendra Rao, a freedom fighter, pleader and President of the District Congress Committee and a contemporary of Bellary’s first MP Tekur Subramanyam, was a correspondent of The Hindu and also to Samyukta Karnataka at Hospet in the district.
Later, his elder uncle late Chittaranjan, served the paper for quite a few years. After his death, M.Madan Mohan (younger uncle), served the news papers for over 45 years covering eight districts of north Karnataka and Goa besides being an authority on the elections, Panchayat Raj System, Krishna river dispute among other things.
Ahiraj’s father Mattihalli Nagaraja Rao, was also a veteran journalist. He served as the Editor of Samyukta Karnataka and was the only journalist, that too from the vernacular paper to go round the world visiting 12 countries at a stretch for a period of 105 days.
Ahiraj has been in the profession since 1984 when he, with the guidance of his father, started a journal of documentation called New Data of Karnataka. Then he took up reporting by joining The Times of India at Hubli and later joined The Hindu and working in Bellary for the past 19 years.
His cousin M. Raghava is also working as the Principal Correspondent of The Hindu based at Mangalore.
Ahiraj, during his 25 years of service in the field of journalism, has accorded priority to objective reporting and highlighting peoples’ cause, especially the plight of the farmers in the district, environmental and ecological issues, culture and tradition the rich flora and fauna in the district. Has the credit of reporting that Sirguppa and Bellary taluks were the hot spot of the Great Indian Bustards, a critically endangered species, after they were discovered for the first time near Hatcholi in Sirguppa taluk and again discovered near Raravi in Sirguppa taluk and also near Chellagurki in Bellary taluk. .
Ahiraj has also been writing about the developments at Hampi, the erstwhile seat of Vijayanagar empire, concerns expressed by UNESCO over encroachments and other developments threatening the status of world heritage site, environmental issues, plight of the tail end farmers of Tungabhadra command area, impact of siltation of Tungabhadra dam.
An ardent lover of music, art and culture, playing tabla has been his hobby and has accompanied several top class artistes including Ms. Subhadramma Mansur, renowned vocalist, Ms. Vijaya Kishore, senior most AIR and Doordarshan artiste among others.