Vidurashwatha: The forgotten Jallianwala of the South India
Just like April 13, 1919 is etched in the minds of Indians for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, April 25, 1938 is one of the days that the people of Vidurashwatha village in Karnataka find hard to forget.
Vidurashwatha, a nondescript village in the Kolar district of the state. It gets its name from a banyan tree (ficus religiosa) said to have been planted by Vidura. Vidura is known for being staunch supporter of truth. When all the great men like Bhishma and Dronacharya sat helpless and looked on helplessly the excesses of Duryodhana, he was the one to protest and chastised these elders to do something to stop Duryodhana’s excesses. He sided with truth and earned the wrath of Duryodhana.
Banyan trees are considered very auspicious throughout India. Siddhartha became Buddha while meditating under the Bodhi tree which was a Banyan tree. The tree belongs to fig family. It is a very long lasting tree.
However, the village has more than just its mythological inheritance to be proud of. It was here, 75 years ago, that a freedom movement was bravely fought and brutally suppressed.
At a time when India’s freedom struggle was at its peak, a group of villagers, taking out a peaceful procession, were indiscriminately fired upon by the police – a massacre that sent a chilling reminder of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that had happened just 19 years earlier, proving that British here did not had any qualms about what they did. No repentance and repeated the crime again.
The group was headed towards a maidan (ground) near the village temple for a non-violent flag Satyagraha. However, as they congregated and rent the air with cries of Vande Mataram, the police opened indiscriminate fire killing 10 people.