On 15th August, our 74th Independence Day, my school asked us students to dress up as freedom fighters. I dressed up like ‘Kittur Rani Chennamma” for my class celebration online.
She is one of our greatest freedom fighters but to my surprise some of my friends did not know about her. So I thought I should write about her for my friends who do not know about her.
Kittur Rani Chennamma was born on 23 October 1778, in Kakati, a small village in the present Belagavi District of Karnataka, India. She learnt to ride horses, sword fighting and archery in her childhood. At the age of 14, she got married to Raja Mallasarja. She became the queen of Kittur. After her husband and only son died, she took over the kingdom and adopted a son but the British refused to accept her son.
The British tried to take over her kingdom thinking she will easily give up but she fought them in a war in which she won. The British, angered by the defeat, fought more wars in which despite her bravery she lost and was put in jail where she died.
Like Jhansi Rani, who came several years later, she made a mark on the country for her courage.
She was one of the first female freedom fighters to resist British colonization. She is a national heroine, well known in Karnataka and a symbol of the independence movement in India.
Here is one of the inspiring lines she said in response to the British demanding high-taxes, that people remember her best by:
“Why should I pay you tax (Nimageke kodabeku kappa)? Are you my brother, sister, relative or a friend?”