|A rare document from 1931 reveals the role played by freedom fighters from Kodagu|
The ‘manapatra' saluted the 98 men and women who revolted against the British
The work on the Freedom Fighters' memorial at Gonicoppa started 12 years ago
Legacy:A picture of freedom fighters with Mallengada Chengappa (right) at the laying of the foundation stone for the Freedom Fighters' memorial in Gonicoppa on December 16, 1998.
Madikeri: A rare document from 1931 obtained by The Hindu here speaks volumes about people from Kodagu district who were in the forefront of the freedom struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
The people of Kodagu had issued a ‘manapatra' then, a letter of honour, commending and saluting the 98 brave men and women who revolted against the British, following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation. They had taken part in the satyagraha in 1930-31 and were incarcerated.
Pandyanda Belliappa, Kollimada Karumbaiah, Chekkera Monnaiah, Makki Krishnaiah, Mallengada Chengappa, Abdul Gafoor Khan, Ajjikuttira Chinnappa, Ponnimada Machaiah, Kalengada Chinnappa, K.M. Subraya, Puliyanda Subbaiah, V. R. Thammaiah, Bidarur Madaiah, Chokira Madappa, Poojari Muthappa, Pandikanda Madappa, H.R. Krishnaiah were some among the people honoured by the people of Kodagu in 1931. Puliyanda Subbaiah, who hailed from Maggula village, was a true Gandhian till his death. He wore Khadi and counselled patience whenever a rift arose among people. So was V.R. Thammaiah, another Gandhian, who also hailed from the village. Elders say that H.R. Krishnaiah even refused to apply for pension after Independence saying if the Government recognised his contribution, it should come to his doorstep and give him the pension papers.
Even women did not lag behind. Kotera Accavva, Balyatanda Muddavva, Mukkatira Bojamma, Machimanda Medakka, Appanderanda Kalamma also joined the freedom struggle. The manapatra given to them on March 11, 1931, stated that they had been imprisoned for preaching the message of Mahatma Gandhi and taking part in the satyagraha.
The manapatra further stated that the people of Kodagu would not be able to offer them (the freedom fighters) privileges such as ‘Jahagir', ‘Umbali' — both land grants for service rendered — or ‘Pinchani' (pension), but would carry forward the noble message of freedom struggle, support and abide by it.
A sentence read significantly that “Bharata mateya makallada Kodaginavaru drohigalalla, Bhartada veera putra putriyaru embudannu prapanchakke saridiri”. This meant “the people of Kodagu, who are the children of mother India, are not traitors. You have heralded a message to the world that you are valiant sons and daughters of India.” The people who were mentioned in the manapatra at the function presided by Biddanda Subbaiah, also had taken a pledge to follow the ideals propounded by Gandhiji such as ‘swadeshi' and liquor prohibition.
A section of people might feel that some people of Kodagu supported the British. But it cannot be forgotten that Guddemane Appaiah Gowda who had fought the British was hanged at the Fort here by the British on October 31, 1837, much before the Sepoy Mutiny took place.
Kodagina Gowramma had offered all her jewellery to Gandhiji when he had visited here soliciting peoples' support for continuing the freedom movement in the early 1930s.
It is an unfortunate irony that the Freedom Fighters' memorial, the work for which started at Gonicoppa 12 years ago and the Guddemane Appaiah Gowda memorial, of which works are now underway, are yet to be completed.