By Dr. A.V. Narasimhamurthy
It was 1946 and I was studying 8th standard in Hardwicke High School. At that time, over 1,000 students from Sarada Vilas, Banumaiah’s and Dalvoy Schools were shouting slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’. They were demanding freedom from the British.
The house of Banavara Ramaswamy Shastry and his wife Lakshimidevamma was like a Poornaiah’s Choultry. Anybody who comes to Mysuru used to stay at their home. Since student Ramaswamy was poor, Shastry arranged lunch for him at the houses of his acquaintances.
Student Ramaswamy was yearning to take part in the freedom struggle and was ready to sacrifice his life for this cause. It was one particular day in 1946 and the time was about 11 am. A large gathering of students assembled at Hardwick School shouting “We want Freedom.’
Nagarajaiah was the Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru then. He was informed by the Police about the gathering and their fight for freedom. Riding a horse, the DC came to where the students had assembled. Ramaswamy was holding a flag in his hands and on seeing this, an angry Nagarajaiah shouted at him and asked him to drop the flag.
But Ramaswamy ignored and chanted ‘Vande Mataram.’ Provoked by the act of a student ignoring his order, the DC Nagarajaiah shot a bullet straight into his chest, even though there was a rule that the bullet should be fired first at the leg. Ramaswamy collapsed on the spot and became a martyr.
Accusing Nagarajaiah of committing a ‘Bramha Hatya Dosha,’ an unwritten restriction was imposed barring purohits from attending or performing any religious ceremonies at his house. Saddened by this, Nagarajaiah moved out of Mysuru.
About a furlong away from DC Office there was a circle with five lights. It was called Ramaswamy Circle. Ramaswamy thus became immortal.