Observing the anniversary of the ‘Mysore Chalo’ movement at the Freedom Fighters Park in Mysore on Thursday, the participants, almost all octogenarians, raised slogans hailing Mahatma Gandhi. The movement aimed at installing a democratic and responsible government in the princely State of Mysore, with the then ruler announcing his decision to hand over the reins to a democratically elected government, thereby accede to the Indian Union on October 24, 1947.

Speaking to the small gathering, Pramiladevi, a retired associate professor who secured her doctorate for a thesis on H.C. Dasappa, who was another towering personality in the movement, said that the common people were for the Maharaja of Mysore joining the Indian Union after Independence, but the idea was successfully thwarted by the then Dewan of Mysore Arcot Ramaswamy.

The Congress leaders who had formed the Kendra Kriya Samiti here had set September 14, 1947 as the deadline for the rulers to join the Indian Union. A call was given to people in Mysore region to come together on that day to intensify their demand, Dr. Pramiladevi said.

However, a reluctant Mysore administration tried to prevent people from entering the region from all corners, incarcerating many Congress leaders. In some instances, the arrested leaders were abandoned in jungles in H.D. Kote.

‘Mysore Congress’, which functioned independently to achieve the goal, should be credited with pressuring the rulers of Mysore to merge with the Indian Union, she said.

Dr. Pramiladevi, making a reference to the role of newspapers, said the arrest of Congress leaders and curbs on the publication of newspapers did not deter many journalists such as M.N. Jois, H. Narasimhaiah and H.S. Doreswamy, who continued publishing them from unknown places. T. Venkatachalaiah, a student of the Maharaja College then, recounted his experience of a mounted police troupe dispersing the peacefully agitating students from the college, who had moved towards the present Ramaswamy Circle. “It was the then Deputy Commissioner, Nagaraja Rao, who directly fired at a student, Ramaswamy, killing him on the spot,” he said. Revanna, another freedom fighter said the concept of ‘swarajya’ was achieved, though the rulers were for the ‘surajya’ (welfare nation) concept.

V. Lakkaiah, one among them told The Hindu that Mysore Chalo movement should have been considered a national movement. Other freedom fighters, Krishnamurthy, Jayasimha and Shivanna too savoured the moments of nostalgia.

D.S. Jagadeesh, president of the Mysore District Freedom Fighters Association, said the State government had agreed to observe the anniversary of Mysore Chalo movement officially by granting Rs. 10 lakh this year.

Mysore Assistant Commissioner Basavaraju said the grant was released on Wednesday and the celebrations would be taken up on a grand scale from next year.

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