H S Doreswamy - a veteran freedom fighter and social activist from Karnataka passed away in Bengaluru on May 26, 2021 following a cardiac arrest at the age of 103.
The centenarian activist was at the forefront of several agitations and was one of the few from the state who actively took part in the Indian freedom struggle and remained active until recently lending weight to several rights-based movements in the state.
Here are a few quick facts about the reformer activist H S Doreswamy and his tryst with struggles that inspire and surprise many.
Early Life And Education
- H S Doreswamy was born on April 10, 1918 at Harohalli - a village in the erstwhile princely state of Mysore
- He did his primary education at Harohalli and moved to Bangalore to pursue higher education. He graduated with a degree in Science from the Central College in Bangalore in 1942
- On completion of education, H S Doreswamy opted to teach physics and mathematics at a high school in Bangalore
Initial Phase of Struggle
- H S Doreswamy become involved in the freedom struggle at a very young age by placing small scale time bombs in the record rooms of British officials and post-boxes to disrupt the functioning of the British government
- He indulged himself in the Quit India Movement in 1942 by organising protests and general strikes in the princely state of Mysore against British rule
- In leading to this, the veteran freedom fighter organised a 14-day general strike at Raja, Minerva and Binny textile mills in collaboration with N.D. Shankar, another freedom fighter that saw a participation of 8,000 workers
- In 1943 H S Doreswamy was arrested and send to Bangalore Central jail for an indefinite period without any trial
- On January 26, 1944 H S Doreswamy and fellow political prisoners were beaten up for celebrating Purna Swaraj and denied food
- In 1944 H S Doreswamy was released from prison after 14 months along with other political prisoners and launched a publication and book store called Sahitya Mandira in Bangalore to which several literary figures like R.K. Narayan and K.S. Narasimhaswamy paid frequent visits
- In 1947, the Gandhian also took part in the famous "Mysore Chalo" movement to compel the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore to accede to the Indian Union during the political unification of India
- During the phase of India's political integration, H S Doreswamy played the role of a journalist by voicing the nationalistic sentiments of political unification through a publication called The Pauravani
- In 1951, the centenarian activist took part in the Bhoodan movement or Bloodless Revolution, and involved himself in the movement for Unification of Karnataka
- In 1975, H S Doreswamy was jailed for four months for opposing emergency and involved himself in the JP Movement
- During the 1980s, he championed the cause of farmers' rights and other marginalised communities
Recent Years Of Struggle
- H S Doreswamy made his presence felt in India Against Corruption (IAC), a pan-India anti-corruption movement, and participated in numerous agitations against the encroachment of water bodies and garbage mafia in Bangalore
- He had also engaged himself in agitations against the eviction of Adivasis from their tribal lands in Kodagu region
- H S Doreswamy actively participated in the 2019-2020 anti-CAA or CAB protests and sat on a five-day protest at Bengaluru's Gandhi Bhavan
- Ramachandra Guha, an eminent Historian describes H S Doreswamy as the "conscience of the state (Karnataka)" for his activism