Artist hides inside our city’s freedom fighter

Artist hides inside our city’s freedom fighter

H S Doreswamy, doughty resistance hero, sings snatches of his favourite vachana, and talks about all things dear to his heart

Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy DH photo by IRSHAD MAHAMMAD

Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy is a hero of the freedom struggle in Bengaluru. At 100, he is still taking up causes and fighting on behalf of voiceless people.

Doreswamy began as a physics and mathematics teacher, and later served as a journalist. In recent years, he has spearheaded protests against land grab in Bengaluru.

Not many know about his artistic tastes, though. He once wrote fiction and took it to Masti Venkatesa Iyengar, the celebrated Kannada writer best known for his short stories. “I gave up writing fiction after Masti told me where my writing was lacking,” Doreswamy says.

So what are his other tastes like? Metrolife met him at his house in Jayanagar 4th T Block. In his words:



Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar

“I mostly prefer listening to South Indian music. Devotional songs and vachanas sung in Karnatik ragas makes me want to go back in time. Basavanna’s Kalabeda kolabeda, husiya nudiyalubeda…. is my all-time favourite vachana. (He sings a few lines). I turn to these vachanas whenever there is a crisis in my life. Ariyakudi is one of my favourite vocalists. Artistes those days were a lot more dedicated. Their concerts were meant to invoke the blessings of God. The kind of music I grew up listening to had something that’s hard to find in today’s music. Young artistes have to step out of the groove and take a look at how music has changed over the years.”



A N Murthy Rao

“Kannada authors Ananda and A N Murthy Rao’s writings are close to my heart. I like reading their stories as they are mainly centered on moral dilemmas of politics and society. Their writings establish a metaphor of resistance. I also read philosophy and Gandhian books. Autobiographies help me rediscover myself. I prefer reading books to watching movies.”



The Himalayas

“I have been travelling my entire life. Hailing from Harohalli, located between Bengaluru and Kanakapura, I was a village boy wandering around, meeting new people. After joining the freedom movement,  I travelled the length and breadth of India. Be it Delhi, Kashmir, Kanyakumari, I was an active member attending all party meetings back then. I have taken a lot of family trips too. My wife and I took a trip to the Kedarnath temple and walked the entire stretch of 13 km. This is a memory I always cherish. The first rays of the early morning sun filtering through the chill air and embracing the Himalayan peaks, and the beautiful red and orange shades of sky leave me marvelling even today. Family trips have always been special.”




“ ‘You can always please Nell with cake or ice cream; she has a big sweet tooth.’ I am a follower of this English saying. I love sugary foods, although now, I am forbidden to eat too many sweets. We have to give in to age and accept the reality. Home-made Kajjaya and Chiroti gets my mouth watering even today. I have never been a fan of outside food. As we know,  India is famous for its sugar cane produce. While we have many large-scale sugar factories, we also had small ones in the villages called ‘Aale Mane.’ This is just a small house where sugarcane juice is converted to jaggery. When an Aale Mane is active, the entire village jumps in joy. Today, this is a rare sight.”


Mahatma Gandhi

“Mahatma Gandhi and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa have always been my inspiration. Gandhiji’s book ‘My Early Life’ influenced me to join the freedom movement. During my intermediate college, I happened to attend Gandhiji’s freedom awareness meeting at Banappa Park, near Cubbonpet. At the time, many leaders were coming down to Bengaluru. I remember walking to Nandi Hills every single day to attend the morning prayer during Gandhiji’s 20-day stay in Bengaluru. Lately, Anna Hazare’s preachings inspires me and keep the fire inside blazing.”