KARNATAKA

The journey of the great queen begins

SYMBOL OF VALOUR: The statue of Kittur Rani Chennamma which will be installed in Delhi.

SYMBOL OF VALOUR: The statue of Kittur Rani Chennamma which will be installed in Delhi.  



Staff Correspondent

Kittur (Belgaum Dt.): The atmosphere in Kittur town was filled with excitement as the life-sized statue of Kittur Rani Chennamma began its journey by road to New Delhi on Sunday.

On reaching the national capital after 10 days, the magnificent statue of Rani Chennamma astride a horse will be installed on the premises of the Parliament House. This would mark the realisation of a longstanding dream of the people of the State.

The statue, which was sculpted at Miraj in Maharashtra, was brought here for a ceremonial farewell. Although there was widespread enthusiasm among the people, the official ceremony turned out to be a somewhat dull affair, thanks to the absence of many prominent personalities from Belgaum district.

Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj Horatti, Suresh Marihal, MLA for Kittur, and Vishwanath Mamne, MLA for Savadatti, were the only prominent persons present.

Minister for Social Welfare Balachandra L. Jarkiholi, who is from the district, the Lok Sabha members from the district Suresh C. Angadi and Ramesh Jigajinagi and the Kanara Lok Sabha (covering Kittur Assembly segment of Belgaum district) member Anantkumar Hegde, and 18 other legislators from the district were conspicuous by their absence. Tatyasaheb Desai, a descendant of Rani Chennamma was present.

Later, talking to The Hindu, Kittur Rani Chennamma Smarak Samiti president Shivanand Koujalgi, former MP, said the State Government had contributed Rs.10 lakhs for the project.

A sum of Rs. 16 lakhs was spent on the statue.

The parents of children studying in the Kittur Rani Chennamma Residential School contributed handsomely for the project and there were generous donations from the local people. The statue has been beautifully sculpted by Vijay Gujar.

But one is disappointed that the hand wielding the sword has not been raised high. When asked, Mr. Gujar attributed the change in the design to the suggestion of the samiti members.

Rani Chennamma was born in 1978. She was married to Raja Mallasarja, one of the illustrious rulers of the princely state of Kittur in Belgaum district.

After the death of her husband in 1816, the young queen took over the reins of the state.

The then collector at Dharwad Thackeray held the adoption of Shivaling Rudrasarja as her son invalid. This enraged the queen.

In the battle that followed the British army was defeated and Thackeray was killed on October 23, 1824.

On December 3, 1824 the British with their superior weaponry defeated the Kittur army and took Rani Chennamma captive, by deception.

The Kittur territory was merged with Belgaum district and the queen was kept in confinement at Bailhongal where she breathed her last on February 21, 1829.

Her revolt against the British imperialism became legendary with Rani Chennamma being glorified as the first woman freedom fighter of India.

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