Wednesday 14 August 2013

When freedom came a month later

As India celebrated its Independence and the Government machinery goes overboard in “tomtomming” its achievements, there are scores of monuments and areas that saw a vital role in the freedom movement of the country. Almost all these places and areas have either been forgotten or they have been given short shrift by the powers that be.
Let us begin this post with Mysore City.
Mysore City it is as it was here that the first steps leading to the freedom movements was launched. Mysore then was the capital of the Mysore Kingdom ruled by the Wodeyars and  though the freedom movement was late in coming, it did start off in the Royal city.
The dry tank bed of Subbarayana Kere was the hotbed of the freedom movement and the Anantalaya founded by Venkatakrishnaiah was where a host of freedom fighters met regularly to chalk out their course of action. Another area in Mysore which remind us of the freedom movement is the Ramaswamy Circle.
If it is at Subbarayanakere that the tricolour was first hoisted after India gained Independence, it is at Ramaswamy Circle that the Mysore Chalo agitation commenced. Very few today know that its is the Mysore Chalo movement, led by several freedom fighters that forced the then Maharaja, Jayacharamaraja Wodeyar, to step down and to install a popular people’s Government led by K. C Reddy.
While India celebrated Independence on August 15, 1947, Mysoreans had to wait a little while longer for the freedom to dawn. When there was no sign of the Wodeyar handing over power to the people, several freedom fighters got together and decided to launch an agitation.
The Congress then asked the people to assemble at the present Ramaswamy Circle so that it could launch a movement to force the Maharaja to transfer power to them. Thousands of people gathered from all over the state and the police fired on the people.
A student of Hardwick High School, Ramaswamy, was killed, while another boy, Chandrashekar, managed to climb atop the Maharaja's Palace and hoist the National Flag.
Ramaswamy, a resident of  Subbarayanakere, was going home when he was killed. The other two killed were Tooranayak and Ranga.  A few days later, there was police firing near Devaraja Market, but thankfully there was no casualties.
The firing was the beginning of the end of the Maharaja’s rule and a popular Government was installed on October 24, 1947. K.C. Reddy was the first Chief Minister of Mysore State and he continued till March 30, 1952
Today, the erstwhile five-light junction is better known as Ramaswamy Circle. A memorial was built here in the 1950s by the Mysore City Corporation.

Mysore today is celebrating the Independence Day along with the rest of the country. But do they realise the pivotal role played at Subbarayanakere, Anantalaya and Ramaswamy Circle. And do the powers that be realize the importance of  these landmarks.   

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