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Appaiah Gowda memorial to honour freedom fighter

Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI: Freedom fighter Guddemane Appaiah Gowda, who led the "Katukai battle" (Amara Sullya Dange) against the British in 1837, is one of the greatest heroes Kodagu has produced, said Lt. Gen. (retd.) B.C. Nanda on Wednesday.

Unveiling a plaque to mark the construction of a memorial for Appaiah Gowda at the Nehru Park here, Gen. Nanda said Kodagu has produced many freedom fighters who fought against Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan or the British, and all of them had great pride in the culture of the region. The "Beerakallu" (stone memorials) found in many parts of the district symbolised the valour of the freedom fighters of the past, he said.

The educationist and philanthropist Kurunji Venkataramana Gowda announced that he would donate Rs. 1 lakh for the construction of the memorial. He donated Rs. 50,000 as the first instalment to the Madikeri MLA, K.G. Bopaiah, who presided over the occasion. He also offered 27 acres of land at Mekeri near here for starting an educational institution.

Precedent

Appreciating the decision of the committee to erect a memorial to Appaiah Gowda, the educationist M.M. Chengappa said that the late freedom fighter had set a precedent for the freedom movement in the country.

The Deputy Commissioner, P. Subramaniam, hailed Appaiah Gowda as the "Father of the Freedom Struggle" in Kodagu. Gowda's heroics should inspire the youth to develop patriotism and enlist themselves more in the armed forces, he said.

Stating that Appaiah Gowda was a symbol of patriotism, self-respect and pride for Kodagu, Mr. Bopiah said the ideals of the late leader still inspired all. Appaiah Gowda, who was hanged by the British in 1837 in front of the Madikeri Fort for leading protests against the colonial power, did not want outsiders to have a say over the affairs of Kodagu, said Mr. Bopiah.

Although a memorial for Appaiah Gowda was deemed necessary in the region from as early as 70s, it is good that it has materialised at least now, he added.

The working president of the Guddemane Appaiah Gowda Memorial Committee, T.P. Ramesh, and the former Madikeri MLA D.S. Madappa spoke.

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