Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The khadi clad traveller

India’s fight for freedom coincided with the rise of Mahatma Gandhi as the first among equals of a galaxy of freedom fighters, social and political reformers and saints, all of whom had a direct bearing on the awakening of the new India.
If Rabindranath Tagore was the voice of  literature, Vivekananda the votary of religion and Subash Chandra Bose the voice of the youth, Gandhi was the  “non-violinist” and a true man of the masses.
Wherever Gandhi went and whichever part of undivided India he stayed, he drew huge crowds. In Karnataka too, the influence of Gandhi was felt in the several movements that he championed from the Quit India struggle to the Dandi march.
Though much of  Karnataka then was under the Wodeyars, Gandhi did influence the people of the princely State and also the rest of  the regions-Hyderabad Karnataka, Bombay Karnataka. The massacre by the British of several innocents in Vidurashwatha near Gauribidanur drew a quick and immediate response from Gandhi and other national leaders.
He visited Karnataka, including Bangalore several times. His public meetings drew huge crowds and he was popular with the people and leaders alike.
On returning from South Africa in 1915, Gandhi  visited Madras and at the request of  D.V. Gundappa, he made a short visit to Bangalore on May 8th 1915 to unveil the portrait of Gopala Krishna Gokhale.
Gandhi had taken the rail from Madras to Bangalore and at Bangarpet, he was garlanded and honored on the platform by local Gujarati merchants. This was his first visit to the princely state of Mysore.
During his second visit to Karnataka in 1917, Gandhi came to Belgaum and stayed there for five days, inaugurating the Bombay State political conference.
Gandhi again visited Karnataka in 1920 and this time he stayed in Bangalore on August 11 as part of the Khilafat movement. He addressed a public conference and then left for Madras by rail.
A week later, while returning from Madras, Gandhi visited Mangalore and Kasargod on August 19.
Three months later, Gandhi again returned to Karnataka and this time he came to Nipani in Belgaum district  on November 7. he then visited  Chikkodi, Hukkeri, Sankeshwar and halted at Belgaum. On 10 November 10, he came to Dharwad and the next day  addressed gatherings at Hubli and Gadag.
During his 1921 tour of Karnataka, Gandhi spent time on May 27 and May 29 in  Bagalkot, Bijapur and Kolhar. The same year, unavoidable circumstances forced him to stay at Bellary Railway Station for few hours on September 30 night. Later he proceeded to Guntkal by train in the morning.
In 1924, Gandhi presided over the Belgaum Congress from December 20 to December 27.
During 1927, Gandhi undertook a State-wide tour of Karnataka as part of the Khadi campaign. He visited Nippani on March 31 where he fell ill with a slight paralytic stroke. On doctor’s advice, (1st April) he left Belgaum on April 1 to Ambolki for rest.
It was from Amboli that Gandhi came to Nandi Hills on April 20.
He stayed in the resort for 45 days (April 20 to June 5 ) and then came down to Bangalore via Chikballapur on  June 5, 1927.
Gandhi stayed back in Bangalore from June 5 to August 30.
During his stay here, he visited Yelahanka on July 2, Tumkur and Madhugiri from Julty 14 to July 16, Mysore , KRS, K.R. Nagar and Srirangapattana and then returned to Mysore  on July 23,  Ramanagar and Kanakapura  on July 31 and August 1,  Arasikere on August 2,  Holenarasipur and Hassan from August 2 to August 4,  Davangere on August 12,  Harihara, Honnali and Malebennur on August 13,  Shimoga on August 14 and August 15, Ayyanuru, Kumshi, Choradi, Ananthpur and Sagar the next day and  Thirthalli, Mandagadde, Gajanur on August 17.
Gandhi stayed on in Shimoga on August 17 from where he visited Bhadravathi, Kadur and Birur the next day and  Chikmagalur on August 19.
He was taken to Belur, Halebid and Arasikere on August 20 after which he returned to Bangalore. Ten days later, he left for Vellore by train.
Gandhi once again visited Karnataka during the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930. Gandhi toured Karnataka from 1934 to 1936 as part of what he himself called Harijan uplift programmes.
In 1934, Gandhi visited Vidhuraswatha, Gowribidanur, Doddaballapur, Tumkur, Tyamagondalu, Nelamangala, Bangalore and then came to Mysore January 5, 1934. In Mysore, he visited Tagadur, Badanawal, Nanjanagud and then proceeded to Mandya,  Maddur, Besagarahalli, Shivapura, Somanahalli, Channapatna, Ramanagar, Kanakapura, Bidadi, Kengeri and reached Bangalore on January6.
On January 10, he left for Vallavi Kote and after touring Tamil Nadu, visited Mysore, Tittimatti, Kikkeri, Ponnampet, and Hudigere. Later he came to Virajpet, Bellur, Somwarpet, Gundagutti, and stayed on February 23 at Madikeri.
After Madikeri, Gandhi came to Sampaje, Sullia, Puttur, Uppinangadi, Vittala, Kannadaka, Pane Mangalore, Bantwal and halted at Mangalore on February 24. he then visited Gurupura, Bajpe, Katilu, Kengoli, Mulki, Padabidri, Kapu, Ratapadi, Udayavara, Udupi, Brahmavara  the next day before halting at Kundapur for two days on February 25 and February 26.
The next day Gandhi visited Bhatkal, Honnavara, Kadri and halted at Karwar on February 27. He then visited Binaga, Chandiya, Ankola, Hiregutti, Mandageri, Kumta, Ammanapalli, Hegde and halted at Sirsi on February 28.
He then came to Kanasur, Siddapura, Dasanakoppa, Isur, Yakkambi, Samasaji, Alur, Devi Hosur, Haveri, Byadgi, Motebennur, Murugamut and halted at Haveri on March 1.
From Haveri, Gandhi came to Ranebennur, Harihar, Davanagere, Duggatti, Bennihal, Harappanahalli, Kottur, Kudligi, Kanavihalli and halted at Sandur on March 2.
He halted in Sandur for a day and then visited Bellary, Hospet, Banapura, Gadag, Jakkali and halted at Hubli on March 3. His next visits were to Dharwad, Marewada, Aminabhavi, Moraba, Harobidi, Hongala, Uppina Betageri, Hirehullekere, Saundatti, Gural Hosur, Bailhongal, Sampagaon and Bagewadi on March 4. He finally halted at Begaum for two days-March 4 and March 5. He then visited Tondekatte and returned to Belgaum on March 6.
He then visited Yamakamaradi, Ontamuri, Hukkeri, Gokak, Sankeshwar, Gadihingalga, Hattikanagale, Nippani, Bhoj, Havinhal, Kotahalli, Dholagarawadi, Chikkodi, Ankali and halted at Shedbal on  March 7.
On March 8 after visiting Mangasuli, Banahatti, Athani, Honnawad, Tikota, Toravi, Bijapur and Ilkal, he left for Hyderabad.
This exhaustive tour of more than two months brought about social awareness to the downtrodden and they started gaining self-confidence and courage.
Please remember that the roads then were bad and the connectivity not so good as it is today. Yet, Gandhi went about almost the entire length and breadth of the State without rest. We can only say one word-fantastic and mindblowing. 
In 1936, Gandhi fell ill due to high blood pressure and he was advised rest. He came to Nandi Hills during May 1936. He reached Nandi Hills on  May 11 and stayed there till May 20. The next day  he left for Bangalore after visiting Chikballapur, Sidlaghatta, Chintamani, Kolar, Bangarpet and KGF. He came to Bangalore  from Malur where he stayed upto June 10, 1936.
After visiting Kengeri he left for Madras on June 11. This was his last visit to Bangalore and the princely State of Mysore.
In April 1937, Gandhi visited Hudali in Belgaum District, to inaugurate a khadi Exhibition. He stayed there from April 16 to  April 21. This was his last visit to Karnataka.
After this, till his death in 1948, he never could visit Karnataka. However, he had a friend in Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore and Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.

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