Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Jallianwala Bagh of the South

Ninty four years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, visited the site and expressed his sorrow. The massacre, perhaps the most horrific in British India, drew worldwide revulsion.
The massacre took place in the a public garden called Jallianwalla Bagh on April 13, 1919. The shooting, which the British themselves claimed led to 379 deaths and 1100 injured, was ordered by Brigadier-General Reginald E H Dyer.
The then Indian National Congress claimed that the massacre left more than 1,500 dead with approximately 1,000 dead and 1,500 injured.
What people do not know is that there was another incident of a similar kind in Karnataka and it took place nineteen years after the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. This is popularly called the south Jallianwala Bagh and more than 32 persons, all of them from Karnataka, lost their lives in the firing by ordered by the British.
This deeply despicable incident occurred in the small village of 
Viduraswatha, six kms from Gauribidanur of Chikaballapur district.
This is how the horrifying incident happened.
The Congress had called for the hoisting of the Indian national flag on April 25, 1938. A large number of  people had gathered at the sprawling open grounds near the Ashwatha tree in Viduraswatha. Though the British had imposed prohibitory orders, people had gathered at the grounds.
The police opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd killing 32 people and leaving scores injured. Only ten bodies could be recovered and identified. Of them one was of a woman who had nothing to do with the protest. She had just come to the Naga temple and the Ashwatha Katte to pray. Her name Gowramma.
The names of Gowramma and nine others are on a plaque at the site of the brutal massacre. The others who died are: Bhajantri Bheemappa, Naama Ashwathanarayana Sreshti, Narasappa, G T Hanumantappa, Venkatagiriappa, Sulagitti Narasappa, Gacchannagaru Narasappa, Naagam and Mallaiah.
Even today, s handful of people in their 80s and 90s still can recall the incident. Almost all of them say that the firing was unprovoked and it began when they started shouting Vande Mataram.       
As news of the massacre filtered out, it shocked the nation. A deeply grieving Sardar Patel and Acharya Kriplani visited the place on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi.
Today, a plaque marks the spot of the massacre. There is not mush written material about the event. This is really unfortunate.
Apart from this gory incident, Vidurashwata is known for the Ashwatha tree planted by Vidura during the Mahabharata period. The Naga shrine nearby too is supposed to be as old as the tree.
Vidurashwata is just a few kms within the Andhra border and Hindupur is nearby amd it is 18 kms away. The name Vidurashwatha is derived from a big Ashwatha (Ficus religiosa) tree located in this village.
In 2001, this tree fell to the ground and there is only an offshoot of the original tree.
There is a Raghavendra Swamy temple nearby.
Bangalore is just 100 kms from Vidurashwatha. The Lepakshi temple is 30 kms from Vidurashwatha. This place can be easily reached by bus or train.


  1. The British had not "imposed prohibitory orders" and the British were not responsible for the firing and killing. Mysore was a Princely Kingdom in 1938. So, the blame squarely lies with His Majesty The Colonel Maharaja Sri Sir Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, who was the ruling Maharaja of the Princely State of Mysore from 1894 until his death in 1940. Can't Blame this one on the Britishers.

  2. Any Article on the Mysore Ramaswamy Circle Incident??