What August 15, 1947 meant for Bangaloreans

This day that age

What August 15, 1947 meant for Bangaloreans

The City had come alive in all its colours and there were instant celebrations, with groups going around shouting slogans, on the day the country attained Independence in 1947.

Veteran freedom fighters and historians that Deccan Herald spoke to recollect the mood in Bangalore on that historic day.

Even though people gathered and shared joy at few junctions in the City, it was not a big party. The real celebrations happened when people from the City and other places of the State of Mysore succeeded in ending the Maharaja’s rule, following the ‘Mysore Chalo’ rally.  

Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, 94, recalls that people gathered at major junctions in the City like the present day Mysore Bank Circle and exchanged wishes. Children danced on the roads with the tricolour in their hands, while women drew rangolis in front of their houses, he said.

Historian B A Patil, who comes from a family of freedom fighters, says a huge function was organised at Banappa Park where thousands of people had gathered.

“The flag hoisting ceremony held on that day evokes fond memories among the freedom fighters and their families even today. The tricolour is hoisted every year at the park on Independence Day,” he said.

Freedom fighter Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who was born in 1897, said youth power came to the fore that day, with slogans hailing ‘Bharat Mata’, Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders renting the air.

However, S K Aruni, South Regional Director of the Indian Council of Historical Research, paints a different picture of what August 15, 1947, meant for the City, which was then still under the rule of the Maharaja of Mysore. Bangalore or many other parts of the erstwhile State of Mysore did not have much scope for celebration.

Even 65 years after the country became free from foreign rule, there is no change in the lifestyle of Doreswamy. Poverty that continues to bother India and many other parts of the world is Doreswamy’s major concern.

“We humans are set to find life on planet Mars. But what about the lives of millions who are yet to find answers to their hunger. Why can’t India dedicate two of its five-year plans to eradicate poverty,” he asks.

His wife Lalithamma explains that Doreswamy’s day starts at 6 am and he tries to redress people’s problems till he goes to bed.

12 programmes a week

“On an average he participates in at least 12 programmes every week and always encourages youngsters who show interest in fighting for good causes,” she said. He sticks to his time table without fail, makes it a point to read at least three newspapers daily and spend time writing for at least an hour, said Lalithamma.

According to Chaturvedi, the real objective of the freedom struggle could be achieved only by getting back to the basics.

A disciplined life

“If everyone performs his or her duties, irrespective of their profession, the country will progress by itself. In fact, that is what collective responsibility is all about,” he said. Chaturvedi’s granddaughter Sumithra explains that he leads by example when it comes to discipline.

“He makes it a point to wake up at 3 am to perform his morning prayers and daily chores. By 7.30 am, he finishes his breakfast and through the day he is busy with one or the other thing. He still conducts lessons on the Vedas for youngsters who approach him regularly,” she said.

On the corruption that afflicts society and values which are on the wane, Chaturvedi said there was nothing unusual about it.

“If you see over the centuries, there have been such problems haunting the society. There have been good people and bad people. India is like a big family and there are always ways to sort out problems within,” he said.

 

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