Belgaum: The people of Kittur and the entire district are keenly awaiting the installation of the statue of Veera Rani Kittur Chennamma on the premises of Parliament House in New Delhi.
The Queen of Kittur, who is regarded as a symbol of valour, was the first freedom fighter in the country who revolted against the British, in 1824, prior to the rebellion by Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, whose statue has already been installed there. The statue will be inaugurated on September 11. What adds to the occasion is that it will be inaugurated by the country first woman President, Pratibha Patil.
The statue of the queen astride a horse, measuring 13 feet and 7 inches in height and 5 feet and 2 inches in breadth, weighing four tonnes, was sculpted by Miraj-based sculptor Vijay Gujjar.
The cost of the statue is Rs. 15 lakh, of which the State Government contributed Rs. 10 lakh. The rest was raised from the members of the public, mainly from parents of students of the Kittur Rani Chennamma Residential School, Kittur, according to Sarojini Shintri, president, Kittur Rani Chennamma Memorial Committee.
The statue was given a ceremonial farewell at Kittur on February 27, 2006. It was transported by road and reached New Delhi after 10 days.
Rani Chennamma, the Queen of the princely State of Kittur, located between Belgaum and Dharwad, took over the reins after the death of her husband, Raja Mallasarja, in 1816.
She was childless and her adoption of Shivaling Rudrasarja as her son was declared invalid by the then Collector. This enraged her and she refused to surrender to the British Army. But on December 3, 1824, the Queen, who led a heroic fight, was defeated.
Kept in confinement
Subsequently, the Kittur territory was merged with Belgaum district and the Queen was kept in confinement at Bailhongal, where she died on February 21, 1829.
Ever since, the people of Kittur and Karnataka have held her in reverence and glorify her as the first freedom fighter who undertook the legendary revolt and sowed the seeds of nationalism, which inspired freedom fighters in the following years.