Last year, I landed at the Bengaluru railway station for the first time, to join a company and start my professional life. I looked at the station name. It made no sense to me. I thought it was some random Kannada name. Even though I have been a frequent visitor to that station later, I had never bothered to find out what the name really meant.
Only after I took interest in researching about personalities, after whom certain places are named, I found out that Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna was a freedom fighter, after whom the Bengaluru City railway station is named. I was surprised to know this, because even after studying so much about India’s struggle for Independence, I have never heard about this personality.
So, I was interested to know about this person and researched his history. Sangolli Rayanna was the general of the army of the kingdom of Kittur, ruled at that time by Rani Chennamma. He fought many battles against the British East India Company.
Unable to defeat him in open battle, the British captured him through treachery. He was captured in April 1831, and tried by the British. Rayanna was sentenced to death and hanged from a banyan tree, about four kilometers from Nandagad in present day Belgavi district. Rayanna was a tall man, measuring more than seven feet. Therefore, his grave is also larger than usual.
The Bengaluru City railway station was renamed as Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna railway station, to fulfill the long-standing demand of the people of Karnataka. The renaming ceremony happened on 03 February, 2016, and was attended by union ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Suresh Prabhu. While hailing the memory of Rayanna, they highlighted the significance of renaming the station to inspire the younger generation.
Rayanna might not be as popular as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose or Bhagat Singh, but he equaled them in his bravery and patriotism for our country.
Siddharth Abhimanyu Kuber, or Sid, is an ardent admirer of Ramayana and Mahabharata. He’s a medieval and modern history buff, and loves exploring India’s culture and heritage.