This centenarian is no ordinary man. Born in 1911 at a time when there was an epidemic outbreak in Mudenoor, a village in the princely State of Ramdurg, Mahadevappa Shivabasappa Pattan was also involved in the freedom movement.
He represented Ramdurg in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 1957 and since then Ramdurg was represented by Pattans twice. While his wife Sharadamma Mahadevappa Pattan represented the constituency in 1967, his son P.M. Ashok is the MLA now.
Speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, the centenarian recalled how he had heard his elders speak that he was born in a “gudi” (temple premises). “People were forced to leave the village because of the plague,” he recalled. Going down memory lane, he said how he enjoyed playing football and wrestling during his boyhood days. “I was forced to stop studies after completing seventh standard as the village did not have a Kannada-medium high school. After that I joined our family business of commission agents. I used to visit Bombay (now Mumbai) to procure thread rolls and colours for weavers in our village in the 1930s,” he said.
It was during one such visit in 1934 that Pattan witnessed the execution of many traders and saw many weavers being arrested for joining the Gandhian movement in Solapur. He recalled that these two incidents had stirred him into the freedom movement.
“Although I belonged to a family of rich landholders, my affinity to the ‘poorer' community propelled me to fight for the injustice meted out to them,” he said. “At one time, the king of Ramdurg collected unreasonable taxes, exceeding even the British quota, from the poor farmers and their inability to pay these taxes resulted in severe punishment. Seeing the plight of the farmers, I joined a group of farmers in their protest demanding a cut in the tax rates,” he said.
At this age, the centenarian is strong enough to juggle his time, along with his 86-year-old wife, between Bangalore, Belgaum, Ramdurg and Mysore, where his six children live. The Pattan family has planned for celebrations in Ramdurg on September 26, the day he turns a centenarian officially.