Independence Day | Karnataka

A case of history buried literally

The present-day status of what once was historic Jakani Bavi in Dharwad.

The present-day status of what once was historic Jakani Bavi in Dharwad. | Photo Credit: GIRISH PATTANASHETTI

When people as well as the administration become insensitive to history and its significance, ancient structures that are witness to important historical incidents get buried. This is what has happened in the case of ‘Jakani Bavi’ (Jakani well) in Dharwad — it has been literally buried.

If you ask any resident of Dharwad for Jakani Bavi, they will guide you to the place or give directions. And as you reach the place, you see various shops and commercial establishments displaying boards having Jakani Bavi Road or circle mentioned on them. But if you stop to look for the old well that was known as Jakani Bavi, you will see no trace of it.

It was at this very junction, way back in July 1921, that three freedom fighters and activists of the Khilafat Movement laid their lives. Mallikasab bin Mardansab, Goususab bin Khadarsab, and Abdul Gaffar Chautai were those brave hearts who faced the bullets of the British forces and lost their lives on July 1, 1921. They were among the large crowd that had gathered for picketing before an arrack shop near Jakani Bhavi in Dharwad to register their protest against the arrest of six of their fellow activists. Those were the days when the non-cooperation movement had spread across the country and Dharwad residents had begun actively participating in it. The firing resulted in the death of three and injuries to 39 people.

But now, Jakani Bavi, which was ‘witness’ to the use of brutal force by the British and the sacrifice of the Khilafat activists has been buried. The levelled land is now the property of a community association.

The only matter of solace is that there is a memorial installed for the three martyrs and at one corner is the signboard which says ‘Hutaatmara Vrutta’ (martyrs’ circle).

It was more than 15 years ago that the municipal authorities felt that the well, which once supplied water to the entire locality, had turned into a “dustbin” and in the interest of the “health” of the people it should be filled up.

However, 56-year-old Narayan Gudipati, who runs a salon at the circle, did not feel so. He felt that the well could be revived if it was cleaned and restored, and approached authorities to preserve it. But they were in no mood to listen and did not realise the significance of the well too.

“My grandmother Anjanamm used to tell us about how the well catered to the needs of the locality. She also has faint memory of the police firing,” said Sujata Gudipati, wife of Mr. Gudipati. Her grandparents’ house is just a few feet away from what used to be Jakani Bavi.

According to Mr. Gudipati, the well was an ancient one which had the provision for having a bath also. “Our elders used to tell us that people used to take bath before entering the Tungabhadreshwar temple. Even now if you dig a few feet at this place, water will ooze out,” he said.

Mr. Gudipati did not receive support from the local residents as they were afraid of going against a local politician belonging to a dominant community, which wanted the land. “I was alone and I being a small person, did not have the resources and strength to fight against mighty,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 6:29:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/a-case-of-history-buried-literally/article65768568.ece