When a British revenue officer assembled at their village to forcefully collect tax, the women of Shinganamakki village near Ankola ensured that he found nothing to eat or drink an entire day, to teach him a lesson. When he wanted to make his own tea, they hid the tea leaves, utensils, and sugar. This was their way of mutiny against the British administration.
Like them, thousands of lesser known women from the State were a part of the freedom struggle. To create awareness about such women, the Karnataka Rajya Mahila Dourjanya Okkoota is touring the city, educating people about them since August 1.
The campaign, which is being taken up on the occasion of 75 years of independence, is being supported by other local communities. Two programmes earlier this week were supported by street vendors’ associations in Vijayanagar and Shivajinagar, while Wednesday’s programme in RT Nagar was supported by the transgender community. The women go to market places or educational institutions and other open spaces with banners and the national flag and sing songs, narrate stories of the women freedom fighters, and read the preamble of the constitution aloud. The stories of all categories of women freedom fighters irrespective of caste, class, and religion have been included in the campaign.
“These women were a part of various freedom movements like the Quit India Movement, Salt Satyagraha, Swadeshi movement, and many other for which Mahatma Gandhi had called for. They were present in every corner of the movement and these are very interesting stories. Normally, we only remember a few famous freedom fighters and even history speaks about them. Hence, with this campaign, we are trying to tell the stories of the unseen women to the next generations,” said Du Saraswati, writer and one of the leaders of the campaign.
The group has also visited colleges in Basavanagudi and Malleswaram to spread awareness.
The Okkoota has also released a document which traces the stories of women freedom fighters from the country with special focus on women from Karnataka. A meeting will be conducted at SEM Hall on August 15 where discussions will take place around the topic of “social freedom” and future of the country and also an exhibition of pictures and paintings.