Seeking to keep memory of Esur struggle alive, 75 years on

Freedom fighter N.S. Huchrayappa near the pillar erected on the outskirts of Esur with the names of freedom fighters who were hanged engraved on it.

Freedom fighter N.S. Huchrayappa near the pillar erected on the outskirts of Esur with the names of freedom fighters who were hanged engraved on it.   | Photo Credit: VAIDYA;VAIDYA - VAIDYA

In 1943, the British hanged five residents of this village for declaring independence and forming their own government

The name of Esur village in Shivamogga district is etched in the annals of Indian history for the uprising by its residents 75 years ago against the British.

But the alleged negligence by the State government to commemorate the event is being rued now by those who had participated in the Esur struggle.

In 1942, a series of programmes were held in Esur village of Shikaripur taluk as part of the Quit India Movement. Farmers in the village had suffered loss that year due to natural calamity and refused to pay tax.

The intimidation tactics by the British administration to collect tax didn’t yield result and the farmers barred the entry of government officials to the village.

On September 29, 1942, the residents hoisted the tricolour on Veerabhadreshwara temple and declared that the village was liberated from British rule.

A meeting of villagers that was convened immediately formed its own government.

Upon hearing this, the British government sent the police to arrest those who had hoisted the flag.

A clash ensued and a policeman and a revenue officer were killed.

The additional troops sent by the British allegedly looted and plundered the village, following which the residents fled and took refuge in a nearby forest.

More than 200 people who had participated in freedom struggle in Esur were arrested, of which five, Gurappa, Jinahalli Mallappa, Suryanarayanachar, Badakalli Halappa and Gowdru Shankarappa, were hanged to death on March 8, 1943.

Anusuyamma, a freedom fighter from Esur, told The Hindu that as part of the Quit India Movement the entire village used to take part in bhajan programmes on a daily basis.

Dramas on the theme of patriotism were staged in the village regularly. “The same patriotic fervour and spirit should be recreated in the village by organising special programmes to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Esur struggle,” she said.

N.S. Huchrayappa, a freedom fighter who was jailed for four years, told The Hindu that a pillar, erected on the outskirts of the village with names of those hanged engraved on it, is covered with weeds and the place is cleaned only during national festivals.

The Huthatmara Smaraka Bhavan, a building constructed in the memory of martyrs that was converted into an anganwadi centre later, has now become dilapidated.

In Vidurashwatha village in Gauribidanur taluk known as Jallianwallah Bagh of South India, a Veera Soudha that hosts a photo gallery and a library has been constructed to commemorate the freedom struggle. In addition to this, the Vidurashwatha also has an open air theatre and a park.

Mr. Huchrayappa has pressed the State government to develop Esur village on a similar model.

“Esur should be developed in such a way that, the spirit of patriotism should be rekindled among those who visit it,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:31:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/seeking-to-keep-memory-of-esur-struggle-alive-75-years-on/article19824751.ece

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