At 13, I defied my family and joined the freedom struggle: HL Venkatasubbu

The prison term was extended by another 10 days for failing to pay the penalty amount.

Hassan: Heeding the call to join the freedom movement during the famous Salt Satyagraha in Salagame village in Hassan taluk, a 13-year-old boy, H.L. Venkatasubbu, now 102, got inspired and made his mind to plunge into the freedom movement, defying his family.

Known as Kasthuri in Hassan, he says, “It was a euphoric decision to join the freedom movement. None of my family members were into the struggle, I made a firm decision to get involved.”

“We used to get orders from our leaders and I used to contact people in nearby villages and select a day for speeches on the freedom movement. My area of activity was Salagame hobli in Hassan taluk,” he says.

“My father had told my father-in-law not to give his daughter in marriage to me since I was in the freedom struggle and did not have a job. But my father-in-law had faith in me and gave his daughter Kamala in marriage to me,” he discloses.

Recalling his days, Mr Venkatasubbu says he was put behind bars thrice for involvement in the freedom struggle and once was imprisoned for three months and imposed a penalty of Rs 20. The prison term was extended by another 10 days for failing to pay the penalty amount.

“I was warned by the police not to join the struggle but I defied them,” he says. Mr Venkatasubbu cherishes a moment in his life when he met Mahatma Gandhi in Chennai during 1938-39 and says, “I fell at his feet on seeing him and Gandhiji hugged me. It was the only time I got to see him from so close.”

When India secured freedom, he got the news from members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who went around villages beating drums. “I too joined the celebration holding a flag,” he recalls.

Now, Venkatasubbu stays with his son Ranganath, a retired PDO at Pragati Nagar in Hassan city. He says that even at this ripe age, he reads newspapers and is in good health.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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