Updated: May 26, 2021 5:49:51 pm
Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, who recently recovered from Covid-19, died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Bengaluru on Wednesday afternoon.
The 103-year-old Gandhian was recently admitted to Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research in Bengaluru due to post-Covid complications.
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Born in Bengaluru on April 10, 1918, Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy, is known for his participation in the Quit India movement and Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement. He was also a familiar figure in civil society movements in Karnataka as he had campaigned to revive lakes in Bengaluru.
A physics and maths teacher, Doreswamy joined the freedom struggle in June 1942, on Mahatma Gandhi’s call. He was also jailed for arson but was released in 1943.
In his lifetime, Doreswamy took up several causes, from the protests against the Kaiga nuclear plant in north Karnataka to the rights of landless farmers.
In 2014, Doreswamy and slain journalist Gauri Lankesh were part of a civil society platform that helped Naxalites return to the mainstream.
He was also a journalist and ran a newspaper called Paura Vani, which voiced the aspirations of an independent India. He remained a committed activist till the end; his last campaigns were against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the controversial farmers’ bill.
In March 2020, Doreswamy found himself at the centre of a political storm. It began when the BJP MLA from Bijapur, Basangouda Patil Yatnal, called him a “fake freedom fighter” and a “Pakistani agent,” seeking proof of his involvement in the Independence movement. Several senior BJP leaders, including Union minister Pralhad Joshi, had backed Yatnal.
Reacting to this, Doreswamy had said in an interview to indianexpress.com, “I don’t belong to any political party, I have my own politics, they (BJP) are trying to remove me from the movements. That seems to be their idea. I am really pained by it.”
While recalling his time as a freedom fighter, he said in the interview, “We would place small ‘time bombs’ in post boxes near government offices. They were not meant to kill people. They would burn documents, disrupting government communication. Sometimes, we would tie bombs to tails of rats and throw these into record rooms.”
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and many of his cabinet colleagues, Karnataka opposition party leader Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar and JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy condoled Doreswamy’s death.
B S Yediyurappa described him as “a man who lived his life like the conscience of Karnataka”.
Siddaramaiah said, “Deeply shocked to know the passing away of senior freedom fighter and centenarian Shri. H S Doreswamy. He was like my family member and his death has disturbed me.”
“H S Doreswamy was our conscience keeper. He used to warn when he sees injustice and supported the right causes. He was an inspiration to millions for his truth and honesty. He never hesitated to hit the streets to protest against the wrong,” he added.
“Many times I have visited him personally to take guidance and It was my luck to get his blessing. His century of struggle and tireless social commitment is his unique,” former chief minister and JDS Leader Kumaraswamy said in a statement.
The Karnataka government has announced that his cremation will be conducted with State honours.
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