Great Personalities of India

Karnad Sadashiva Rao

Karnad Sadashiva Rao was an Indian Freedom Fighter from Mangalore, Karnataka. Born in a wealthy family, Karnad Sadashiva Rao spent all his wealth on the development of the nation. He was a social reformer, Gandhian, a great patriot, a tireless organizer, a fatherly figure to the downtrodden, and a humanitarian who is often referred to as “Dharmaraj” (embodiment of charity) by Dr. Shivaram Karanth.

Karnad Sadashiva Rao Information

  • Born: 1881, Mangalore
  • Education: Presidency college(autonomous)
  • Movement: Indian National Congress
  • Parent(s): Ramachandra Rao (father); Radhabai (mother)
  • Died: 9 January 1937, Mumbai

Early Life & His Work

Karnad Sadashiva Rao was born in the year 1881 in Mangalore, Karnataka, and was the only son to lawyer Ramachandra Rao and Radhabai. Even during his early years, Karnad used to donate books to the poor section of the society which his father used to punish him for that. His father was a strict disciplinarian.

Karnad studied at Presidency College, Mumbai, and later continued to study law in Bombay. He was an exceptional student and played Tennis and Cricket, he was a member of the elite sports club of the college.

While he was studying, Karnad was attracted to the Indian nationalist movement that was happening in the country and he changed his path towards being a member of the Indian nationalist movement.

With his devoted wife Shantabai, together they formed ‘Mahila Samaj’ to help the widowed and downtrodden women where he provided funds to educate and find the means for self-support. With this, several women studied and became nurses, teachers, and tailors.

Sadashiva Rao also worked for the betterment of Harijans and was a president for the organisation called “Mission for Depressed Classes” for many years. He also organised re-marriage for child-widows which was a huge social problem in those years. He also opened a school in his home premises and called it “Tilak Vidyalaya” where Hindi language, weaving, and other handicrafts were taught.

His Involvement in Freedom Movement

Karnad Sadashiva Rao fully involved himself in Freedom Struggle when Mahatma Gandhi launched his first Satyagraha in the year 1919 and Sadashiva Rao was one of the first Volunteers in Karnataka to take the pledge and be a volunteer for Independence Movement.

He was the person who worked for the upliftment of the Congress Party in Karnataka where he moved from Town-to-town to create awareness and inform people about freedom and independence. He lost his youngest daughter in the year 1923 and later he lost his son and wife which shattered Sadashiva Rao.

This is when he went to Sabarmati Ashram to seek solace and help people during an unprecedented deluge. He organized relief camps and shelter with his personal funds and Sadashiva Rao is a front-end leader for the No Tax campaign for salt and also the main member for Salt Satyagraha.

Sadashiva Rao is also responsible to unite various communities of South Canara district for the cause of freedom and during this time he was jailed 3 times. His health slowly started deteriorating. Seeking equality for all inmates, Sadashiva Rao refused to use the mosquito curtains as it was not provided to all inmates.

Due to his generosity, he had lost all of his ancestral properties, inherited assets, and also treachery of some people made him penniless.

His Last Days

In the year 1936 when Faizpur Congress Session was supposed to be held, the hut he stayed leaked and he succumbed to fever, although he had a fever he traveled to Bombay which is when the fever worsened, and soon after reaching Bombay, he died at the age of 56. He died penniless without having enough cash to perform his final rights.

Hearing the death of Sadahiva Rao, Gandhiji went to his mother and bowed before her and said “Blessed are you mother, for having borne a son such as he”.

Many prominent personalities paid their obituaries and in the memory of Karnad Sadashiva Rao, the Sadashivanagar area in Bangalore and KS Rao Road in Mangalore is named after this great freedom fighter.

[ Also Checkout: List of Freedom Fighters in Karnataka ]

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