Legendary freedom fighter and Civil Rights activist Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy popularly known as HS Doreswamy breathed his last yesterday.
The 103 year-old Gandhian, who kept the ‘conscience of Karnataka till his very last breath, and was the tallest public intellectual, who appeased none and spared none‘ would be remembered for his enthusiasm for public causes till he remained alive
Born on 10 April 1918 in Harohalli village in the then princely state of Mysore, he was jailed for the first time during Quit India movement – for his association with a group involved in making bombs and who spent 14 months of his life then – never stopped working for people even after independence.
In 1975, he had even challenged the then prime minister Indira Gandhi when emergency was declared, civil liberties stood suspended and who faced jail under the draconian Defence of India rule.
One of the issues closest to his heart remained getting land rights for the poor and the landless.
Before the first wave of Covid 19 struck he has been a prominent figure at protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and has been openly critical of BJP-led central government’s policies.
He was cremated with state honours but it was clear as mirror that the BJP government in Karnataka always felt uncomfortable with his presence.
A year before last a leading BJP legislator had hurled choicest abuses at this legendary freedom fighter, and when the issue was raised in the Karnataka assembly, forget issuing any unconditional apology for his remarks the legislator not only remained adamant but received support from many of his colleagues.
Trivialisation of the freedom struggle is in the Hindutva gene, which seeks a theocracy, not an independent republic.
“Though this be madness yet there is method in it.”
Hamlet, William Shakespeare.
The saffron brigade’s ever-readiness to stigmatise people holding differing opinions and dissenting voices reached a new low recently.
Perhaps it was the saddest day in post-independence India when a Karnataka BJP legislator hurled abuses of being a ‘Pak agent’ and ‘fake freedom-fighter at 102-year-old freedom fighter, H Doreswamy.
Sadly, not many outside the state would know that Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy, born on 10 April 1918 in the former princely state of Mysore, was first jailed in 1942 during the Quit India movement. He was associated with a group involved in making bombs and spent 14 months behind bars. After his release he continued with his mission and following Independence chose to work with slum-dwellers, the homeless and poor landless farmers, cobblers and porters. He kept himself aloof from holding political power.
In 1975, he challenged then prime minister Indira Gandhi when Emergency was declared, civil liberties were suspended and again faced jail under the draconian Defence of India Regulations Act. Despite old age, his enthusiasm for public causes remains undiminished. One issue closest to his heart remains getting the poor and the landless right to land.
Of late, he has been a prominent figure at protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and has been openly critical of the BJP-led central government’s policies.
The BJP legislator under question is Basangouda Patil Yatnal. When the issue was raised in the Karnataka Assembly, forget issuing an unconditional apology, Yatnal remained adamant. Not just that. He got the support of many of his colleagues. It would be asking too much for the government to take action; a reprimand or case against the legislator for his comments, though they violate the Constitution which considers disrespect to freedom movement a “violation of our fundamental duties”.
It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to recast history books in the mould of the Sangh Parivar. Especially his proposal to obliterate the great warrior Tipu Sultan’s name from the annals of Kannada history.
The proposal was based on the completely false pretext that Tipu did not give due importance to the Kannada language and promoted Persian language instead. Never mind that the Mysore state archaeological department holds in its possession more than thirty letters sent from Tipu to the shankaracharya of the Shringeri math, all written in Kannada.
Shankaramurthy wanted Tipu Sultan—who sacrificed his children to end the British rule—obliterated from Karnataka history on the spurious logic that the alleged neglect of Kannada language was reason enough. Even then, the demand had caused a national uproar cutting across party lines. At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) were sharing power in the state. As a result, their plans fell flat. Much water has flown down the Kaveri, Godavari and every other Indian river and now a BJP-led government, holding power in the state of Karnataka and the centre has drawn up fresh plans to fulfill a task left unfinished.
A 10-member group allegedly assaulted a staff member of Kannada daily Karavali Ale at Kulai here on Wednesday night.According to B.V. Seetaram, director and chairman of Chitra Publications, which publishes the paper, Harish Putran (36), office assistant, was attacked when he was waiting near Vishnumurthy temple to catch a bus back home.He was hit with iron rods and wickets and chased by the attackers, Mr. Seetaram said. Mr. Putran managed to save himself by hiding behind a shop.
Mr. Seetaram suspected the involvement of a rightwing group in the attack. He said Karavali Ale published a report on Wednesday alleging the rightwing group’s involvement in the sale of narcotics in the city. Copies of the newspaper were burnt and some vendors were threatened against selling the Wednesday’s edition, he said.Mr. Putran has been admitted to a private hospital. A complaint has been filed with the Surathkal police.
(Karavali Ale employee attacked : Staff Correspondent, The Hindu – Mangalore, February 7, 2013)
It has been a ‘happening’ week. Celebrations around one billion rising held in different parts of the world.Soni Sori acquitted in four cases. Dr Sunilam and two of his associates getting bail from Jabalpur high court after spending three months in Bhopal jail. More than two hundred intellectuals, activists writing to President of India about the manner in which Afzal Guru was hanged. Interestingly in the melee of news certain troubling developments in south of Vindhyas have not got enough attention they deserve. And they concern the curbing of media by majoritarian elements with due connivance of the people in power. Continue reading Talk Hindutva, Sell Narcotics?→
This is a public statement; names of signatories given at the end.
As editors and senior journalists representing a cross-section of the print, television and online media, we wish to bring to your notice a matter of serious professional concern for the journalist fraternity.
Naveen Soorinje, a district reporter with the Kannada channel Kasturi Newz 24, was arrested by the Karnataka police on 7 November 2012 for the role he played in covering the 28 July 2012 attack by Hindutva vigilantes on innocent boys and girls who were celebrating a birthday at a homestay in Mangalore. In the two months that Naveen Soorinje has been in judicial custody in Mangalore, his mental and physical health has deteriorated drastically. He was recently discharged from the jail ward of the district hospital after suffering a bout of chickenpox. Continue reading Free Naveen Soorinje→
It is a matter of shame that instead of being celebrated, Naveen Soorinje, who followed journalism’s best traditions in reporting the attack by Hindutva vigilantes in Mangalore earlier this year, is now languishing in jail.
[This summary comes to us from ARVIND NARRAIN (ALF) of a report brought out by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka (PUCL-K) in the wake of the attacks on women in Mangalore by cadres of the Hindu right-wing Sri Ram Sene.]
It was only after the continuous telecast of the images of the women who were subjected to an horrific assault by cadres of the Sri Ram Sene in a pub in Mangalore on January 24, 2009, that public attention gravitated towards what was happening in Mangalore. Self styled vigilante groups in Dakshina Kannada have begun to police social interactions between members of different religious communities such as boys and girls drinking juice together or sitting together on a bus merely because they come from different religious communities. Cultural policing also targets women in particular and lays down norms with respect to public spaces they can occupy and the clothes which they can wear. Cultural policing has as its primary target, young people. From Shefantunde (16) who was attacked for talking to a Hindu girl to a college student Shruti and Shabeeb for talking on a bus to Anishwita (23), Akeel Mohammmad (24) and Pramilla(22) for drinking a juice together, its the young which has come under vicious attack. Perhaps we also need to think of the young not just as victims but indeed as agents of social transformation who through their everyday acts of fraternal living are fulfilling the promise of the Indian Constitution and thereby imperiling the ideological agenda of those who see India differently. Cultural policing aims to punish all those who try to live out the meaning of the Preamble’s promise of ‘fraternity’ and is a fundamental attack on the very Constitutional order. The promise of fraternity held out in the Preamble is what is contested at its very roots by cultural policing. What cultural policing wants to produce are monolithic self-enclosed communities with no form of social interaction between them. It is antithetical to the idea of ‘We, the people of India’ and insists that India is no more one nation, but rather a collection of separate peoples. This Report documents how sixty years after independence, the vision of the framers of the Constitution is sought to be so completely repudiated by organizations which are bent on ripping out the heart of Indian Constitutionalism.
The full report is available on the Alternative Law Forum website and can be accessed here.
A Karnataka dacoit with links to a radical Hindu rightwing group has confessed to having carried out the Hubli district court bombing of May10, 2008.
The blast took place as the first phase of polling for the Karnataka Assembly elections was on – in a magistrate’s courtroom where cases against top SIMI leaders including Safdar Nagori were scheduled to be heard two days later.
Does anybody remember the bomb blasts in Hubli (Karnataka, May 2008 ) courts last year when preparations were on for the coming state assembly elections? These blasts which took place on a holiday did not witness any casuality although they extensively damaged the court premises. But the most important part played by these blasts was the atmosphere it created in favour of the BJP.
As it always happens after any such mysterious sounding blasts, many innocents belonging to minority community were illegally detained and quite a few among them also were booked for their ‘role’ in the blasts. The police had promptly claimed that ‘sleeper cells belonging to LeT and SIMI’ had executed the blasts. Continue reading Hindutva Terrorism in Karnataka→