Udupi: Veteran freedom fighter Bantakal Laxminarayana Sharma passed away at his native town Bantakal in the district here, on Wednesday, October 21, due to old age. He was 97 and is survived by 3 sons, including district Krishika Sangha President Ramakrishna Sharma and 5 daughters.
Sharma was born in 1917 as the 3rd child among the 7 children of Katpadi Kote Grama’s Pandit Gururaja Tantri and Bhagirathi.
During 1934, when Gandhiji came to Katpadi, Sharma saw him from a close distance. Inspired by Gandhiji’s talk, he launched himself into the freedom movement. Later, he studied Hindi at the National College, Bengaluru. During this time, he had spun 840 feet of thread and earned membership into the Congress.
In 1939, he worked in the Congress Office in Bengaluru without taking any salary, unlike people of today. Later, he worked in the Khadi Bhandara for a salary of Rs 15 per month. He earned a “Visharada” degree in Hindi.
He participated in the freedom movement, was jailed in the central jail and then was transferred to Thumkur jail, to be released after 9 months. He travelled by train without ticket on 9th August, 1942 to Pune Agha Khan Palace to see Gandiji on the day of the Quit India Movement. Along with 5 others, he conducted a thiranga-padayathra shouting ‘Bharath Matha Ki Jai, Mahatma Gandhiji Ki Jai’ and was arrested, jailed inside an electric fence and then released after a month. In 1956, he participated in the land donation movement of Vinobhji, in which land received from the rich was distributed to the poor.
On the 25th silver year of Independence day celebrations in 1972, he received the ‘brass award’ in Delhi by Indira Gandhi. In 1949, he joined the Hindu High School in Shirva as a Hindi teacher and served for 26 years as a teacher.
On behalf of the state government, district minister in-charge and state urban development minister Vinay Kumar Sorake visited Sharma’s house and paid his last respect to the freedom fighter. Sharma was cremated amid full state honours at his farm in the evening.