12 Lesser-Known Freedom Fighters of Karnataka Whose Contributions are Unforgettable


It was a time when India was under the brutal rule of the British. A time when Hindustan was literally raped and broke to pieces. Time was so blatant that fighting for freedom had become a sheer necessity. Blood gushed like a running water. People lost their lives. The 200-year long slavery and the immense suffering came to an end when India got its independence on 15th August 1947.

Every year, we celebrate this day to express our deepest gratitude to all the freedom fighters who fought for the country’s freedom. Today, let us know about the freedom fighters of Karnataka who played an active role in India’s freedom struggle. These are the people who sacrificed their careers, aspirations, family, and savings to free the nation and to unite Karnataka as a state.

Noted Freedom Fighters of Karnataka

Karnad Sadashiva Rao (Mangalore)

Karnad Sadashiva Rao is one of the noted freedom fighters of Karnataka who founded Mahila Sabha to help widows and poor women. He was a kind man who gave himself to the country but died penniless, without having money even to perform his last rites.

He is known to be the first one from Karnataka to volunteer for Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement. Mr. Rao played an important role in invoking the spirit of freedom in Karnataka. Sadashivanagar of Bengaluru and KS Road of Mangalore are named after Karnad Sadashiva Rao, as an ode to his sacrifice and atonement.

freedom fighters of karnataka

K.G Gokhale (Belgaum)

Mr. Gokhale was an eminent journalist known for his political writing. He played a momentous role in inspiring people to participate in the freedom movement through his provoking articles. He also conducted the chamar schools and did work of a bhangi (janitor) in the Harijan quarters and toured Belgaum District as a Secretary of Harijan Sangha.

freedom fighters of karnataka

N.S Hardikar (Dharwad)

Hardikar was a graduate in public health from Michigan University who played a vital role in the freedom movement of Hubli. Hardikar and his Hubli Seva Mandal gained national prominence after they refused to apologize to the British authorities to gain a commutation in their prison sentences. Post independence, Dr. Hardikar helped found the Karnataka Health Institute at Gataprabha and was conferred Padmabushan in 1958.

freedom fighters of karnataka

V.N O’key (Mulki)

Born as Vasudev, O’key was the rarest combination of humanism, artistic merit, and humility. Through his art and illustrations, he joined Sane Guruji and played a prominent role in documenting the tribal Indians. He also fought underground in the dark days of emergency before taking his last breath in Panvel home, made for senior citizens.

freedom fighters of karnataka

Aluru Venkata Rao (Bijapur)

The man who is known for the unification of Karnataka was an eminent historian, writer, and an Indian revolutionary. His efforts of bringing Kannada speaking people from Mysuru, Bombay Presidency, and the Nizam’s Hyderabad is truly momentous.

alur venkata rao

Hardekar Manjappa (Banavasi)

Manjappa and his brother were largely involved in the Swadeshi movement. Widely known as the Gandhi of Karnataka, Manjappa delivered more than a thousand lectures on Satyagraha, patriotism, and nationalism.

karnataka freedom fighters

Muduvidu Krishna Rao

Muduvidu Krishna Rao’s locality is unknown but he is greatly known for his fight for the unification of Karnataka.

freedom fighters of karnataka

Kamala Devi Chattopadhaya (Mangalore)

Kamala Devi, an eminent who triumphed in Indian Renaissance became a prominent leader during India’s freedom struggle. She became an active organizer of the women and youth wing of Gandhi’s Congress to mobilize volunteers for Satyagrahas across the country.

freedom fighters of karnataka

R.S Hukkerikar (Dharwad)

He was greatly inspired by the articles of Tilak to start a newspaper called ‘Dharamveer’ to ignite the spirit of freedom among the people. His contributions to the unification of Karnataka is immense. Also, he was one of the initiators of the no-tax movement in Karnataka.

freedom fighters of karnataka

Nittur Srinivasa Rau (Tumkur)

Srinivasa Rau was a hardcore Gandhian who rigorously participated in the Indian Independence movement. It is interesting to note that he provided shelter to leaders like Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay, R.R Diwakar, and others during Quit India movement.

karnataka freedom fighters

Gangadhara Rao Deshpande (Belgaum)

Mr. Deshpande played an important role in getting the 1924 congress session to be held in Belgaum. It was a historic session which witnessed major decisions taken by Congress leaders. The main motto of this session was to reach out to Kannada people in Belgaum. The session began with a Kannada song by the Great Gangubai Hangal.

Gangadhar Rao Deshpande
Image Credits – Quora

Umabai Kundapur (Mangalore)

Umabai was a brave woman who simply came forward to sacrifice her life for Swadeshi movement and Satyagraha. During Quit India movement, many underground workers appeared at her Hubli house seeking food and monetary help. Umabai single-handedly helped everyone at a great risk and sought solace in behind the curtain.

Post independence, she denied to enter politics and continued to contribute behind the screen. She refused Tamra-Patra award (an award to front-line freedom fighters) and also the national and state pensions accorded to freedom fighters.

freedom fighters of karnataka

Others: Narayan Shrinivas Rajpurohit, G.R Pandeshwar, Tekur Subramanyam,
Gangadhar Rao Deshpande, Ranganath Diwakar, Nagamma Patil, S.R Haldipur, Rangarao Tilgul and many more.

These were the Freedom Fighters of Karnataka who on a usual note are not celebrated and acclaimed. Let us take a moment to salute these personalities for all their sacrifices and atonement.

Source: Wikipedia, Kamat Potpourri

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