BENGALURU: Not just warrior queens, even women from modest backgrounds led many movements for freedom in Karnataka. Gowramma Venkata Ramaiah was at the forefront of the ‘No-tax campaign’, Yashodara Dasappa was a prominent force behind the Shivapuri flag Satyagraha on April 9, 1938 and Umabai Kundapur was the founder of Bhagini Mandal that educated girls and sheltered freedom fighters. Also, Leelavathi Magadi, Shakuntala Kurthakoti and Nagamma Patil were some of the other women who contributed to the Independence struggle.
Rani Chennamma, the queen from the Nayaka dynasty of Kittur, defied the British by rejecting their Doctrine of Lapse, where she had to handover her territory to the British after the death of her husband and son in 1824. After defeating the British once, she had reached an agreement with them that the war would cease. But they continued to mount attacks on Kittur. In her second war with them, she fought valiantly but was captured and jailed in Bailahongal. She died in captivity but her lieutenant Sangolli Rayanna fought till his capture and death.
Touted as India’s first woman freedom fighter, Rani Abbakka Chowta is famously referred to as ‘Abhaya Rani’ for consistently overpowering the Portuguese over four decades. Despite ruling a fairly small region, Rani Abbakka refused to yield to the mighty Portuguese or pay permit to trade in the Indian Ocean with the Arabs. Even when they captured Goa and Mangaluru port, she stood firm and defended her Ullal port.