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People and Personalities of Yadgir District

The big stories often make the headlines of our historical narratives, but history is not only about the landmark events - it finds shape and character in the myriad events that led up to a flashpoint of change. An attempt to discover and document stories of people, events, and places linked to the freedom struggle of India at the micro level of the district has led to the creation of a Digital District Repository. Stories in this section can be broadly classified under - People & Personalities.

Atchappa Gowda Subedar

On 15th August 1947, India achieved independence from British rule, but several princely states including Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Junagadh remained under the control of their respective monarchs. Hyderabad comprised of seven districts, including Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgira, Raichur, Bellary, Koppal, and Vijayanagar. Atchappa Gowda Subedar was born into a wealthy family in Sagara village, located in the present-day Yadgir district of Hyderabad State. He worked as a teacher for a living.

Kasim Rizvi, who served as the right-hand man of Nizam Mir Usman Ali Khan of Hyderabad, led the Razakars; a private army that attacked Indian freedom fighters and crushed nationalism in the Hyderabad state. In response to the Razakar attacks, Atchappa Gowda Subedar, a teacher, resigned from his profession and began organizing against the Razakars. He acted as Subedar for the jagir villages granted by Srivenkatappa Nayak of Surpura kingdom. They established multiple teams to plan secret meetings against the Razakars. During these congregations, many young men were given military training. Coincidently, Subedar Atchappa Gowda was found carrying bombs in his handbag at a bus stand in Bijapur exactly around the time of Gandhiji’s assassination. The police suspected Subedar Achappa Gowda’s involvement in the assassination and arrested him. Upon hearing news of his arrest, Rajavenkatappa Nayak was shocked, and Atchappa Gowda Subedar had to spend a month in jail.

During this period, Atchappa Gowda developed expertise in crafting guns and bombs, preparing plans for the struggle ahead. After being released from jail, he went to Delhi and met with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to discuss matters coverning the fate of Nizam’s rule. Meanwhile, Swami Ramananda Teertha established the Indian National Congress and spearheaded the liberation movement in Nizam’s territory. Atchappa Gowda participated in the liberation movement led by Rajavenkatappa Nayaka in Talikoti, successfully thwarting the Razakar's attempts. On 13th September 1948, when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel launched an operation in Hyderabad, Atchappa Gowda actively participated and played a significant role in the surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad on 17th September 1948.

Atchappa Gowda Subedar persistently battled against the Nizam of Hyderabad, rescuing numerous Hindu lives and freeing Karnataka from the Nizam's control. He passed away on 3rd December 1983, yet his accomplishments continue to be sung and admired by people even today. 

Vidhyadar Guruji Sayanna

Vidhyadar Guruji Sayanna was an Indian politician, freedom fighter, and Gandhian. At a very young age, he was inspired by revolutionary ideas. He is said to have been rusticated from school for protesting against the death sentence awarded to Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, and Sukhdev by the colonial regime.

He was a Member of the 1962 Mysore Legislative Assembly (currently the Karnataka Legislative Assembly) from Gurmitkal Constituency. The centenarian had always followed Gandhian principles and became an active participant in the freedom movement as a college student. He also won assembly elections from the Swatantra party against Mallappa Lingappa Kollur from Gurumitkal. In 1984, Guruji contested the parliamentary elections from the same constituency.

The 105-year-old former freedom fighter and Gandhian, Vidyadhar Guruji, passed away in Kalaburagi at Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology Unit in Kalaburagi government hospital. People from different walks of life and Leaders of various political parties paid their last respects to Guruji at the Hindi Prachar Sabha. Guruji’s body was handed over to the Mahadevappa Rampure Medical College as per his wish to be embalmed and used for imparting lessons to medical students.

Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal

Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal was an Indian Politician, Freedom Fighter, and Former Animal Husbandry Minister. He served in the first-ever Janata Party Government headed by Ramakrishna Hegde. He was one of the prominent freedom fighters who fought Nizam's Rule before the Indian government initiated police action to end the same and include the Hyderabad Karnataka region in the Indian Union.

Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal was born on 3 December 1926 in Yadgir of Gulbarga district, Hyderabad State, British India (in present-day Yadgir District, Karnataka). He obtained his Bachelor of Arts LLB (master's and law degrees) from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He was an agriculturist and businessman by profession.

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebration of the formation of the state, Vishwanathreddy Mudnal, (Former Minister and President of Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samiti (HKHS)) rejected the Ekikarana Award which was conferred on him by the Karnataka State Government recognizing his contribution for the unification of Kannada-speaking areas.

He said that he would boycott the award ceremony which is to be held in Bangalore on 1 November 2006 as a mark of protest against the continued neglect of the aspirations of the people of the region (Hyderabad-Karnataka Region) and the failure of the Karnataka state government to put pressure on the Union Government to amend Article 371 of the Constitution to provide special reservation in education and jobs for the people of the backward regions. He pointed out that it would not be right for him to accept the award as the HKHS had decided to boycott the celebrations and observe November 1 as Black Day.

Vishwanath Reddy Mudnal passed away on 2 December 2008.

Kollur Mallappa

Kollur Mallappa was born in the year 1905 and joined the Indian National Congress in 1935 following a visit to Sabarmati Ashram along with his associate Janardhana Desai. The two met Mahatma Gandhi. He took a keen interest in Gandhian constructive activities and acted as the agent for the sale of cotton and woolen khadi and the popularization of Hindi.

In 1941, the Nizam government imprisoned him. He represented the Hyderabad State Congress in the August 1942 Mumbai Session where the Quit India Call was given by Gandhiji. The day after the country gained independence in 1947, his wife Shankaramma died. But that did not deter his spirit. Kollur Mallappa had the distinction of being elected as the President of the Hyderabad State Congress. He also fought against the Razakars of Hyderabad.

On 20 February 2017, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge informed of action being taken. On his demand to build a memorial for this great freedom fighter. On 16 March 2017, the government announced the construction of the memorial.

Kollur Mallappa, aged 99 years, died at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore on 24 October 2004 after a prolonged illness. He was one of the last links between the Congress of Mahatma Gandhi's days and the freedom struggle. He is best remembered for giving up his claim to the office of Chief Minister in 1972 when the Indian National Congress returned to power with a thumping majority. He is recalled as a great freedom fighter from the region.

Raja Venkatappa Nayaka

Raja Venkatappa Nayaka IV or Nalvadi Lakshya was a prominent ruler from the Nayak Dynasty of Shorapur (or Surapur). He refused to accept the sovereignty of the British East India Company and waged a war against them. Shorapur is in present-day Yadgir district, one of the districts of Karnataka state in South India.

Venkatappa was apprehended at Hyderabad. He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. When Philip Meadows Taylor (appointed as the British political agent in colonial India) met him, Venkatappa told him that, he did not wish to live and that if he was to be sentenced to death, he must not be hanged like a criminal but killed at the mouth of a cannon. He was not a coward.

Taylor, who had great affection for Venkatappa, had his life term reduced to four years of the internment by prevailing upon the Governor General, and he was to be reinstated after this four-year term. He was to be taken to Kurnool fort and was to be interned there together with his two queens. While he was being taken to Kurnool, on an early morning when his armed guard had gone out for ablution, Venkatappa is said to have taken the revolver of his guard and shot himself dead.

He is said to have been found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Source :

  • Indira Badiger, Contributor for CCRT
  • Assistant Director, Kannada & Culture Department, Yadgir
  • Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

Last Modified : 8/31/2023

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