Two freedom fighters brought Mahatma to Davanagere in 1934

They also told him that they were fitted out in swadeshi clothes, and regularly had breakfast with Harijans at their home, soon after completing the Prabhatperi (marchpast) everyday.

Published: 02nd October 2021 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2021 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

Gandhi Smaraka Mandir in Davanagere  

Express News Service

DAVANGERE: Mahatma Gandhi had no plans to visit Davanagere, during his tour of India back in 1934. It was the determination of two freedom fighters, who answered Gandhiji’s questions and fulfilled his conditions, that drew him here.

Today, 87 years later, the central Karnataka city has much to cheer, as Davanagere is the only city in undivided Chitradurga district where the Father of the Nation interacted with the ‘Harijana’ at Harijan Colony, now called Gandhi Nagar. He had laid the foundation stone for the Adi Karnataka and Adi Dravida Hostel on PJ Extension.

On the occasion of the 153rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the people here recall that two staunch freedom fighters had brought Gandhiji to Davanagere’s doorsteps. Giving a detailed account of Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Davanagere, senior photographer and historian HB Manjunath said, “It was the year 1934, Kasala Sreenivasa Shetty and Panduranga Shiroor planned to invite Mahatma Gandhi, who was on a tour of India, to Davanagere, and wrote a letter requesting him to come to Davanagere’.

Gandhi, who responded to the letter, posted three questions to the duo: Were they participating in the freedom movement? Were they wearing swadeshi clothes? Was he involved with the ‘Harijana’? Shetty and Shiroor responded in the affirmative, and said they were part of the freedom struggle and were also motivating others to join the movement in big numbers.

They also told him that they were fitted out in swadeshi clothes, and regularly had breakfast with Harijans at their home, soon after completing the Prabhatperi (marchpast) everyday. Impressed, Gandhi sent another set of conditions, requesting the duo to get a permanent structure for setting up a school or hostel, to support the educational needs of Harijans, visit a Harijan colony and also get Harijan associates during his stay in Davanagere, which were arranged by Kasala Sreenivasa Shetty, he added.

“On March 2, 1934, Gandhiji arrived in Davanagere, and Channagiri Rangappa, father-in-law of former minister Nagamma Keshavamurthy, drove Gandhiji from the railway station to the programme, and then to Gandhi Nagar, which was earlier called Harijan Colony. Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the Harijan hostel, now called ‘Gandhi Smaraka Mandir’,” he said.

Rangappa, then vice-president of Davanagere Town Panchayat, was instrumental in allocating land for construction of the Harijan hostel in Davanagere city, he recollects.


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