Closing in on 100, and still continuing the good fight

Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy at his house in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy at his house in Bengaluru on Sunday.  

He enters his 100th year on Monday, but veteran freedom fighter and activist Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy has not lost the zeal to fight for equality and oppose injustice and corruption in society. Even 69 years after the death of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Doreswamy’s faith in satyagraha — a holistic approach towards life based on the ideals of truth and moral courage — remains intact.

Last year, he travelled over 500 km to Belagavi to launch a satyagraha outside the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, seeking land for the landless.

When The Hindu met Mr. Doreswamy at his Jayanagar 4th T Block residence, he was sitting in the midst of a pile of books and newspapers. Whenever his landline phone rang, he personally received the call. “I don’t believe in having an assistant to help me,” he said.

“Sarvodaya and Gram Swaraj have lost their meaning now, and the divide between the poor and the rich is widening by the day. Poverty is not an issue for our elected representatives to discuss in Assembly or Parliament. Social justice for Dalits has remained a distant dream even after 70 years of Independence,” he said.

Divisions in society in the name of religion and caste trouble him above all else. “The situation has reached a stage where minority communities have to live like second class citizens in this country. Matha Dharma (caste) and Mata Dharma (religion, as well as vote) have become quintessential in today’s politics. While the Bharatiya Janata Party is openly dividing society by pitting the majority against the minority, other parties including the Congress are dividing it in the name of caste,” he said angrily.

The anger is mainly directed at the “literates”. “The so-called literates have lost the power to think and act. They have just become loyalists of those in power. This is a dangerous trend,” he said.

Stressing the need for a clean conscience for any government, he said: “I don’t oppose people for their political affiliations. But I oppose them when the institution they represent does injustice to the people. I asked [Chief Minister] Siddaramaiah to drop [Energy Minister] D.K. Shivakumar from the Cabinet for his alleged involvement in the mining scam. When he failed to act, I was disappointed. I have differences with Mr. Siddaramaiah on various counts.”

Regretting that money has provided unlimited power to a few persons, he said: “The dog has to wag the tail, but the tail is wagging the dog now.”

A lifelong fight

Born on April 10, 1918, H. S. Doreswamy was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi in his childhood and joined the freedom struggle. He was imprisoned for 14 months for having participated in the Quit India movement. He used to destroy British government documents by hurling native bombs. He was imprisoned for four months during the Emergency as well. 


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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:52:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/closing-in-on-100-and-still-fighting-the-good-fight/article17898964.ece

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