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The story of Kittur Rani Chennamma

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In the era of British rule in India, only men didn’t fight for India’s Independence. Women too fought with equal strength and dedication for independence. Kittur Rani Channamma was one among such great women freedom fighters who fought against British with amazing strength. She was born on 23 October 1778 in a Lingayat community in Kakati, Belgaum. As her keen interest, she learned horse riding, sword fighting, and archery when she was a kid. At the age of 15, she was married to Raja Mallasarja who belonged to the Desai family. 

 

The year 1824 was quite a hustling time period for Rani Channamma. As she lost her husband and her son in the same year and was left with the state of Kittur to save from the British empire. I the same year she adopted a child Shivlingappa and made him heir to the throne. This was disturbing to the East India Company and so they ordered Shivlingappa’s expulsion according to the pretext of Doctrine of Lapse.

 

The doctrine of Lapse was a pretext which stated that if a ruler who doesn’t have any child dies in any situation then the province of that ruler will be ruled by the sovereigns only. Hence, the Kittur state came under the administration of Dharwad and the administration did not recognize the new ruler and notified Kittur to accept British regime. When Rani Channamma sent a letter to the Lieutenant Governor in Mumbai, the letter was rejected. This brought to a situation where the war broke out.  

 

In the first round of war, the British lost and the collectorate St. John Thackeray was killed in the war by Amateur Balappa who was a lieutenant of Channamma. Other two British officers were also kept as a hostage by Channamma. But when she sealed with Chaplin for the end of the war, both the officers were released. After the release, Chaplin didn’t stick with his words and again started the war with more forces.

 

During the second war, Sub collector of Solapur, Mr. Munro was killed. Rani Channamma fought with no fear with her lieutenant, Sangoli Rayanna. But hey were captured and prisoner at Bailhongal fort. On 2 February 1929, Channamma died due to the tricks played by the Britishers with her. Rayanna didn’t end her fight here itself. Until he was caught and hanged, he continued the fight against the Britishers fiercely. 

 

Still, the first fight victory of Rani Channamma is commemorated in Kittur Utsava. Pratibha Patil, the first woman president of India Nivea statue of Rani Channamma at the Indian Parliament Complex on 11 September 2007. 

She was a great woman to fight with enthusiasm against the Britishers and mark a victory in the first war. 

 

On this occasion of India’s Independence Day, it’s a pleasure to commemorate such a wonderful woman. She is a role model to all the women in enhancing the strength to fight against any odd situation fearlessly. 

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Varadh Kulkarni
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