SHANKRAPPA BANGARSHETTAR

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SHANKRAPPA BANGARSHETTAR
I enterd into freedom struggle by the motivation of classmates. News papers like Samyukta Karnataka and Lokamatha inspired us to get participated in the movement. The paana nirodha movement was the first one for us. 22 students of our school, including me left the school and started the movement in Gadag. There was no interruption from teachers and no support also. They were disgusted by autocracy of British. They were helpless to protest also.
I got married in 1943 at the age of 18. My wife Sangamma was also interested to fight with British rule. She was inspired by the seeing Ganghiji personally. Gandhiji had come to Jakkali village in Ron taluk. He spoke to freedom fighters at Doddameti Andanappa’s residence. So I felt very happy to get married with such bride. She was a founder member of Kumari sangha, a group of women, which was creating awareness about freedom among the women.   I had also organized a troop called Snehitara Sangha (friends’ circle).
After the marriage our family was shifted to Koppal. There I joined the camp of patriots at Kataraki village, whose leader was Shirur Veerabhadrappa.
There was a major rally against British at Davanagere, under the leadership of Sharat Chandra Bose, brother of Subhas Chandra Bose. He spoke to the public in Hindi language.  Though the crowd could not understand the Hindi language, it was responding with claps and slogans. Yes, language was not a problem at all for the emotions of patriotism.  After the function I met him personally. He touched my back and said- aap log abhi jawaan hain, British logon se darna nahin…isi tarah aage badhna ok? (still you are young, don’t get afraid of British, continue with such activities. ok?).
Then I involved  much deeply in the movement. I stopped coming home as I became too busy with my activities in Kataraki. Sangamma was alone at home in Koppal. My friends use to make required arrangements for her. They use to bring meals for me. Today Sangamma would be recalling the incidents in leisure time. Socialism leader Jayaprakash Narayan had visited to Koppal at vegetables’ market. He inspired us much by his powerful words.
Ofcourse  India gained independence in 1947, but people of Hyderabad-Karnataka could not enjoyed the freedom till one more year. Rulers of Hyderabad–Karnataka province did not allow the people to enjoy their freedom. Then I involved  in this movement. we were arrested on August 15, 1947 and produced before special court, where we got imprisonment for 18 months in Hyderabad! But we were very lucky to know that, we would be released before that period. As I was released by the jail and reached Koppal, I found a secrete way to the Koppal fort and put a flag on that! Finally our region got involved in the independent India in September 1947.
Today where are we on the way of progress? Here I want to review the social concerns of that age and todays. Before independence, everyone, especially youngsters were very brave about the country. Educated women also used to participate in movements. Even employees of British government  also used to support us internally! There was no question of communality. But today I find lack of nationalism among the youngster.
According to me, corruption is another major reason, by which India is facing no.of  problems. It shows that present generation is unaware of values of independence.

On that day…
August 15, 1947…I am sure that you were enjoying the freedom. But on contrast we were arrested at Kataraki by the Nizam’s ruling.  I can remember that day…my self, Chidambar Bhat Purohit, Ramakrishna Bondade and others called a open function. As we said some words against establishment. Mean while another public function was arranged in Koppal by the patriots like Laxmanachar Agnihotri, Veerabhadrappa Shirur, Narasingh rao Hampikar. All of us got arrested and kept in a jail of Hyderabad. At the same time Swamy Ramananda tirtha called the public for a movement against Nizam’s ruling.
That jail life was horrible! We were treated like third grade citizen. We could find cockroaches and other insects in the meals. Then we would start a quarrel with jailor by forcing him to have that food. But he never had it.
There was a horror show of horses. 40-50 horses would attack on us suddenly.  Our one of fighters Shrinivas Nittali died in such incident itself.
-Sangamesh Menasinakai

(note: unedited version, it was published in Sunday supplement of VIJAY TIMES dtd 13-08-2006)

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