BELGAUM: Tigadolli village near Kittur in Belgaum has a special banyan tree known as ‘Gandhi Gida’ (Gandhi tree) planted at the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The villagers took active part in the 1942 ‘do or die’ movement.
The youths led by Shivappa Malashetti had burnt several government offices to register their anger against the British.
Twenty five youths were arrested and jailed. When Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, his ashes were sent to different parts of the country and also brought to Tigadolli by a freedom fighter. The villagers decided to bury the ashes in a field belonging to Arjunappa Kyatnavar, a freedom fighter. Later, a Banyan tree was planted in the name of Gandhi and came to be known as ‘Gandhi Gida’. All the petty quarrels were settled near the tree which is considered holy and the villagers believe that justice given in the presence of the tree will be genuine.
Basavaraj Malashetti, writer and retired Kannada professor, belongs to Tigadolli and is the grandson of Shivappa Malashetti who played a major role in planting the tree. Basavaraj has constructed a compound wall around the tree and erected two stone boards. The names of 25 freedom fighters who were jailed were etched on one stone, while the other is on the importance of the tree.
Basavaraj told Express that the villagers have decided to lay a garden in front of the tree and it would be protected for its historic importance. A function will be organised in front of the tree on January 30 to mark Gandhiji’s death anniversary. Naganur Swamiji, Kittur Swamiji and Yenagi Balappa will participate and felicitate the freedom fighters