Did you know Mahatma Gandhi's connection with Bengaluru?
Mahatma Gandhi had visited Bengaluru five times; 1915, 1920, 1927, 1934, and 1936.
On this auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti, it is worth recalling the contribution of the great nationalist and freedom fighter- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi- in the independence movement of India. However, it is also true that much has already been said about that. Nevertheless, little is known about the Mahatma's South Indian connect, especially with Karnataka.
So, here are some unknown facts about his visits to Karnataka:
He made five visits to Bangalore- in 1915, 1920, 1927, 1934, and 1936.
He typically stayed at Nandi Hills and the Kumara Krupa Guesthouse.
In 1927, while travelling to Belgaum as part of a South India tour to popularize Khadi, Gandhiji suffered from high blood pressure and a mild apoplexy. His followers took him to Nandi Hills, a hill station, to recuperate.
On April 20, he conducted community prayers on the station platform and proceeded to Nandi Hills.
While recuperating, he restricted himself to a strict vegetarian diet, with the exception of goat milk. He wrote articles and letters on natural diets, experiments in dairying, labour, civil disobedience and social reform. After recovering at Nandi Hills, Mahatma Gandhi moved to the Kumara Krupa Guesthouse in Bangalore from June 6 onwards. He was accompanied by Pt Madan Mohan Malviya.
The guesthouse happened to be adjacent to the office of William Smith from the Imperial Dairy Farm (today’s NDRI South Station). Gandhiji used this opportunity to meet with Smith every evening to discuss a subject close to his practices- the improvement of cattle farming across the country.
Gandhiji was also invited to the farm to learn about various techniques to improve dairy farming in the country.
Gandhiji considered himself to be a student and was a disciplined one too. He used to be at the institute at 5 pm every evening. He also insisted on being treated as any other student in the class who had come to learn about the basics of the farming.
Gandhiji came across a highly productive cross breed cow named Jill (offspring of an Ayrshire bull cross-bred with a Haryana cow). She had given birth to 18 calves and had yielded approximately 1.5 lakh pounds of milk during her life span.
On June 19, 1927, the day of his departure, Gandhiji was asked to sign the visitor's book. Acknowledging him as the farmer of Sabarmati, he wrote, "Now I must put into practice what I have learnt in Bangalore."