Tuesday October 16, 2018

Rani Chennamma – India’s first woman independence activist

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By Harshmeet Singh

Most history books regard the sepoy mutiny of 1857 as the first rebellion against the British East India Company. The heroes of this mutiny, including Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, Tantya Tope, Begum Hazrat Mahal and Nana Saheb are household names till date. But long before this mutiny, Karnataka’s Kittur saw the rise of India’s first woman independence activist who took on the mighty British Empire all by herself – Rani Chennamma.

Rani Chennamma was all of 15 when she was married to Kittur’s ruler Mallasarja Desai. Her married life turned out to be quite turbulent with her husband passing way in 1816 and her son meeting the same fate in 1824. With the entire Kittur empire at her helm, he decided to adopt a boy named Shivalingappa and planned to make the boy the heir to Kittur’s throne. The British weren’t happy with her move and asked the queen to expel Shivalingappa from the throne – an order which the queen defied. The British administration sent a message to Kittur, asking the Queen to surrender her empire to the British.

The response of the British was a precursor to the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’. When Lord Dalhousie took over as India’s Governor General in 1848, he introduced the much debated ‘Doctrine of Lapse’, according to which, the rulers of the princely states were forbidden from adopting a child if they didn’t have a natural heir to the throne. Instead, their territory would be acceded by the British Empire.

With no common ground between the two parties, an armed battle ensued. The first round of war saw Rani Chennamma’s forces humiliate the British and kill the British collector. She went on to release the British hostages on the British promise that war won’t be continued. But true to their deceptive nature, the British came back to Kittur with a much larger force and took Rani Chennamma prisoner after a long and fierce battle. She spent the last 5 years of her life in the Bailhongal Fort before breathing her last on 21st February 1829.

Her strong resistance against the British gave them enough indication that their policies won’t be taken by the Indians hands down. Her victory in the first phase of the battle against the British is still remembered fondly in Kittur and surrounding areas. The tales of her bravery have inspired many folk dance and music performances in Karnataka that still continue to be a part of the popular tradition. The Kittur Utsava (22-24 October every year) commemorates her memorable victory that dented the British pride severely and showed everyone that the British forces were far from invincible.

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)

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