KALABURAGI: As a youngster, he was rusticated from school for organisng a protest against the death sentence awarded to Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev by the British in 1931.
At 104, he has lost none of the revolutionary zeal which made him an icon of the freedom struggle. Vidhayadar Guruji also faced the ire of the Nizam government of Hyderabad who awarded him a three-month jail sentence.
On the eve of Independence Day on Sunday, you ask him how he feels now and he quips, “Power is vested in self-centered, corrupt leaders, who have forgotten Gandhian principles.”
Revolutionary zeal in him never dies
At 104, he has lost none of the revolutionary zeal. For him the real heroes of the Independence struggle are Subash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Raj Guru and other revolutionaries. His eyes light up and his voice grows louder when he recalls the supreme sacrifice of these leaders for the liberation of the country from the clutches of Britishers.
He is Vidhayadar Guruji, a multi-faceted personality. He is not only a freedom fighter, but also a social reformer, educationist, literateur, spiritualist and linguist.
Born at Gurmitkal village in Yadgir taluk on December 30, 1914, Guruji’s personality was shaped by the teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, Swami Vivekanand, Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Rajaneesh and other social and religious reformers.
Guruji was drawn to revolutionary ideas at a young age. He was rusticated from school when as a seventh standard student, he organized a procession to protest against the death sentence awarded to Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev in 1931. Though he had only raised slogans against the Biritishers, the Nizam government of Hyderabad not only got him removed from school, but also awarded him a three month jail sentence.
Guruji joined the Arya Samaj and actively took part in the underground activities against the tyrannic feudal rule of the Nizam.
When an arrest warrant was issued against him by the Nizam government in 1946, he escaped to Sholapur, which was outside the Nizam’s domain, by train. After Independence, like many freedom fighters Guruji was drawn to the Congress. But soon he was disenchanted with the party and left to join hands with emerging leader Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal. In 1962, he contested from Gurumitkal constituency against Congress leader Kolur Mallappa and won. Guruji played a pivotial role in running Hindi classes in Yadgir and along with late Shri Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal formed Young Men Association to spread the ideals of Subash Chandra Bose. With a view to eradicate untouchability, he married a lower caste woman.
Guruji, who was a member of the Upper House from 1988 to 2004, strongly feels that the freedom that the country got in 1947 was not real Independence but a mere transfer of power. “This freedom is not the freedom dreamt of by leaders like Balagangadhar Tilak, Subashchandra Bose, Bhagat Singh and others. Power is vested in self-centered, corrupt leaders, who have forgotten Gandhian principles”.
“If democracy has to survive, the first thing we should do is limit the term of office of an elected representative by amending the Constitution. If we look at the Lalus, Mulayams, Gowdas, democracy has disappeared because eight-ten members are elected from a single family. The rule should be that a single member should be elected from a family and his/her term of office should be restricted to only two terms”.
“Secondly there should be unfettered freedom of speech. And thirdly, agriculture which is the mother of all professions should get its due importance”.
“It’s highly regrettable that our education system has been commercialized and our youth are running after money. We have to reverse this system. Can we expect good contributions from those who spend lakhs and crores to acquire education? It’s impossible”.
“The country can develop and progress only if we build citizens of good character and moral values and not by mere enactment of rules”, concludes Guruji.