Timeline of protests

Timeline of protests


Pride of place: The Vidya Vardhaka  Sangha, one of the oldest institutions, has been supportive of important  campaigns.

The Dharwad region has always been known for its historic protests and campaigns. Take the idea of the formation of the state of Karnataka, on the linguistic basis. The campaign for the reorganisation of the state, which was (during the British rule and shortly after Independence) divided into Mumbai and Madras Presidencies, Mysore state and Kodagu, started off in Dharwad. Tens of luminaries including Aalur Venkatrao fought for the unification of Karnataka. Voices seeking the formation of such a state were heard as early as 1928. Several litterateurs, artistes and leaders fought for the unification of the state. It was in May 1953 that the Karnataka Rajya Nirmana Parishat came into being. Thanks to the formation of this body and the subsequent campaign through it for the formation of the state, Congress candidates who contested the by-elections to the Dharwad and Hubli Assembly seats lost the elections, while those who were for the formation of the state won.

It was on November 1, 1956 that the state was formed. Dharwad also formed the base for a campaign that was launched to name the state Karnataka. Many struggles that were launched in the Dharwad district later went on to become state-wide agitations.

Assassination of Thackeray

Even the over 100-year-long freedom struggle saw several contributions from Dharwad district. In 1819, Thackeray was appointed District Collector of Dharwad. In 1824, the British did not accord princely status to the adopted son of Rani Chennamma in Kittur. The queen’s soldiers who fought against the British eventually killed Thackeray and six others. This was an important episode during the freedom struggle.

An  armed campaign against the British administration began in the region during 1858. It was Mundargi’s Bheemaraya who started the rebellion against the British. As many as 40 people were raised to the gallows in connection with mutinies in the Dharwad district during 1857-58. The district saw the birth of the national movement by 1895-96. In 1893, Founder of the Indian National Congress A O Hume visited Dharwad and Belgaum districts and this visit propelled many political activities in the region. In 1921, a hartal  in connection with  picketing of liquor was held in the region. On the occasion, arson broke out and three Khilafat movement activists died.

Much later, post-Independence, the Gokak campaign started off from the region. The 1982 campaign which sought the implementation of the Gokak Committee Report, stressed the that Kannadigas should be preferred over others in the state, and that Kannada should be given the most importance.

Initially, the government did not take any action on the report. Slowly, there were several protests in the Dharwad region. This snowballed into a state-wide agitation, soon.

The next milestone in the history of Dharwad’s major campaigns was the nearly two-decade long campaign seeking setting up of a circuit bench of the High Court in Dharwad.

Eventually, it was established on July 4, 2008. Throughout history, the region has seen protests and agitations for the land and its people. The Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, an institution older than the Kannada Sahitya Parishat has lent able support over the years, to all such agitations.

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