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Copyright Category: Other Categories
Type of Work: Dramatic
Copyright Holder: Kesari Harvoo
Year Published / Made Public in: 2010
Date Added to Copyright Register: 02-May-2011 03:09
Last updated: 28-May-2011 18:18

Dramatic Copyright Work Details:




Vigorously Dramatic

Dialectically Robust

Rustically Humorous

Snobbishly Political




                                                                                                                By KESARI HARVOO

This proposal finds its purpose in making a feature film/ mega television serial on the consequences that led to and the after-effects of the Bagur-Navile agitation put forth between 1996 and 1998 by the farmers of over 40 villages in Hassan district. The agitation was extremely sensational at the time, and still hovers painfully in the hearts of Kannadigas for how it was crushed by nightmarish police atrocity. 



The writer of this proposal lived in the Bagur-Navile region between May 2003 and April 2006 and embarked on a study of the crisis & agitation. The study searched for human stories. It tried to peep into the lives of farming families with intimate and direct human interaction. Through such participatory inquiries that probed into the past, present and the uncertain future of the people, the study attempted to understand the economic, ecological and socio-cultural effects of the development on them, their resistance to it and of the political influence on their lives.




The Irrigation Department undertook in 1979 to provide Hemavathi water from the Gorur reservoir (Hassan District) to Tumkur district by digging a channel and in its route a tunnel underneath 12 villages from Bagur to Navile in Channarayapatna taluk, Hassan district. The 9.8 kilometre long tunnel is 80 to 220 feet deep under the ground.

·         During its digging, people of villages around the tunnel experienced the native groundwater seeping into it, drying out open wells and tanks, and desiccating their rich agricultural and farming lands.

·         The traditional coconut growers of those villages claimed that their plantations had begun yielding in abysmally low quantities, even affecting the size of the nuts.

·         The irony hit downright when the state endeavoured to extend its benevolence over its people of a certain district, it had deprived the same to another.

·         The Department took up two compensatory lift-irrigation schemes to irrigate the Bagur-Navile cluster of villages. But they were completed at an extraordinary delay of almost two decades. They are yet to function regularly and satisfactorily even to this day, proving to be mere eyewash.


·         The sycophancy of the local people towards their political bosses that doubled as ‘feudal’ subjugation had restrained them from any resistance - either at the proposal stage or during the digging of the tunnel.

·         The next generation held two minor and secluded agitations. However, they were faction ridden and failed to rouse the masses for a unified protest against the deprivation.

·         At last, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) organised the farmers of many affected villages and launched a prolonged massive agitation in 1996 against the state. This came to be popularly known as the BAGUR-NAVILE AGITATION in the country, considered by some eminent social scientists as one of the most important peasant movements in post-independent India.















The agitators contended that the tunnel had snatched away their rightful usage of groundwater and demanded monetary compensation for the coconut crop loss, along with other demands.

·         Bowing to the pressures of the agitation, the state’s Horticultural Department conducted a survey of 24 villages falling within one kilometre on both sides of the tunnel. The assessment showed that the advent of the tunnel and the seepage thereby had affected the health of over 235,000 coconut trees. It estimated that the farm owners had incurred a loss to the extent of Rupees 25.61 Crores in the previous ten years.

·         Thereupon, the farmers’ agitation gained an unprecedented mass support and the number of agitating villages swelled to forty-two.

·         The agitators blocked the main canal that opened into the tunnel, prevented flow of water into the tunnel, and pressurised the state to release the Rupees 25.61 Crores as compensation to farm owners immediately.

·         The Government did not yield to the demand of monetary compensation, but offered to meet most of their other minor demands.

·         The agitators stuck upon the monetary compensation. One of the leaders went into an indefinite hunger strike in July 1998, on the 90th day of their blockage of the tunnel. Hundreds of women began hunger strikes on relay basis.

·         The ruling political machinery began thinking of ways to politically subdue the agitation.

·         A section of people of Tumkur district began a counter strike demanding release of water to their district through the tunnel and blocked the Bangalore-Mangalore National Highway.

·         With pressure mounting, the state deployed a huge posse of armed police at the venue of Bagur-Navile agitation on July 19 1998, threatening to remove them and the blockade forcibly.


The native high profile political lords suppressed the human rights to assert their ‘feudal’ rights over their stronghold.              

-   Prof. G. Ramakrishna

The leaders foresaw a heavy showdown by the police, armed with sophisticated weapons and the state’s grant, on the over 8000 innocent peasants who had gathered at the venue on the day. They volunteered to court arrest and withdrew their 96-day-old extraordinary resistance.

·         Further, the state quelled the resistance with the reserve police force crashing into over ten villages and unleashing a brutal reign of terror on unprovoked and innocent people for the next two days.


It was but natural and logical when the traditional coconut-growers of the affected villages staged their protest and launched a prolonged peaceful agitation against the state which had snatched away their rightful usage of groundwater. It was still more natural for the state to quell the resistance, where in a democratic set up ‘resistance’ meant to bring a loss of image to the ruling party and an opportunity in the power-game for the Opposition.

    ...ನನ್ ಮಾಂಗಲ್ಯದ್ ಚೈನೂ ಬುಡ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ ಸಾ...ಇಲ್ಲ್ಯಾರೂ ಗಂಡುಸ್ರಿಲ್ಲ ಕಣ್ರಪ್ಪಾ ಅಂತ ಅರುಚ್ಕಳ್ತಲೇ ಇದೀನಿ... ನೀನೇ ಸಾಕ್ ಬಾರಲೇ ಬೇವರ್ಸೀ ಮುಂಡೇಅಂತ ಬಾಯಿಗ್ ಬಂದುದ್ ಅನ್ತಾ ವಳೀಕ್ ನುಗ್ಗೇ ಬುಟ್ರು... ಮೂರು ಜನಾ ಸೇರ್ಕಂಡು ಕೈಯಾಲಿದ್ದ ಕೋಲಿಂದ ಪಟಾಪಟಾಪಟಾ ಹ್ವಡುದುಬುಟ್ರು... ವಬ್ಬಂತೂ ನನ್ ಜುಟ್ ಹಿಡ್ಕಂಡು ಚಟ್ ಚಟ್ ಅಂತ ನನ್ ಕಪಾಳುಕ್ಕೇ ಹೊಡ್ಯೋನೂ,

ನನ್ ಗೌಡ್ನೂ ಒಂದ್ ಸರ್ತಿಯಾರೂ ಹಂಗ್ ಹ್ವಡ್ದೋನಲ್ಲ, ಅವುನ್ ಹೆಂಡ್ರು ಮುಂಡ್ಯಾಗಾ...

ನನ್ ಕೊಳ್ಳಿಗ್ ಕೈಯಾಕಿ ನನ್ ಮಾಂಗಲ್ಯದ್ ಚೈನ್ ಕಿತ್ಗಬುಟ್ಟಾ ನನ್ ಹಾಟಗಳ್ಳ...                                              


It is evident from reports that the Bagur-Navile agitation was systematically and at the end brutally vanquished by the state represented by some of its power-lords whose dictum maintained that a discordant voice against them from the peasants ‘who were at the mercy of their magnanimity’ was an ‘unpardonable sin’.


Politicians, writers and intellectuals, several organisations and the general public all over Karnataka condemned the police action on the people of Bagur-Navile. Team after team visited the villages, spoke to the people and consoled them. The AIKS along with a few politicians, lawyers and retired justices lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission to inquire into the police atrocity.

The NHRC in its report titled “Violation of human rights during unprovoked attacks on the farmers by the police in Bagur-Navile tunnel agitation (dt. 19.8.99)” described the police action as: “… indiscriminate use of force against the villagers… the police barged into houses, beat up mercilessly people including some old women and children and two deaf and dumb boys. Even pregnant women were not spared by the callous men in khaki wielding lathis and hurling filthy abuses on women fold. … A reign of terror was created in the entire area forcing the men folk to flee their villages for 7-8 days…”

Today, with the unceremonious death of the agitation and brutality that followed, the affected farmer of Bagur-Navile seems to have lost his spirit and morale in every walk of life. His voice has been benumbed, his rightful livelihood snatched.



The storyline for the serial would be partially fictional interwoven with facts and true incidents. Tens of major characters, all belonging to different villages of the Bagur-Navile region, would lend the main frames to the fabric. Each of these characters, typical and strong, groomed by his/her cultural traits, social psychology and political standing, contributes his/her arm to connect to the issue and the agitation. Innumerable support roles further contribute to the framework to unfold the saga of the peasant movement and the consequences that led to it. Though the identities of real life and living characters are concealed, we shall live through their true spirit of life and human strengths or weaknesses in the serial.

Lakkavvaof Kamanayakanahalli:

·         Late Patel Shankaregowda household of Kamanayakanahalli is great joint family of seven sons and three daughters. While the daughters have been married off to surrounding villages, the brothers, their wives and children totalling to sixty-three members eat from one huge kitchen and sleep under the same roof.

·         The family’s open well that used to supply water for the household needs, dries out dramatically, thanks to the groundwater seepage into the tunnel.


Household Dramas

Romantic        Sweet-nothings

Moving Moments  of Humanity

Cultural Festivities

Folk Performances

Religious Rituals

Bicycle   Jathas

Mass Protest Rallies

Human Chains

High Level Meetings

Political Strategies

Police Actions

& More…


The drying up of the well brings about a series of unpredictably altering dynamics - economic and domestic - in the joint family, finally pushing the brothers to call it quits and divide their home, lands and property..

The case is not unique. Households of Kalegowda of Rangapura, Ramegowda of Honnenahalli, Manjamma of Tagadur, Shastry of Bagur, and Marianna of Navile have their own stories to tell: unique stories of a common cause and different effects.

·         The modalities of the division of the great family itself pose a great challenge to the family as well as the village headmen and mediators. Several episodes of emotional and high voltage drama unfold before the breakage.

·         The eldest daughter-in-law Lakkavva moves her family that includes her husband, a son and three daughters to a different house in the village.

·         She has to nowmanage her family with a sizeable, but never yielding coconut farm and dry land that come as a share to her couch-happy husband.

·         Somehow, her eldest daughter has been married off with the money from the joint family account before the break up. Now she feels the heat rising as she thinks of the marriage of the remaining two daughters. They have to be married off within a year or two, lest she would listen to unwanted comments from all corners.

·         The hardships that the family undergoes prove to be unfathomable.

·         The courage and grit shown by Lakkavva would only enable the family sail through such testing times and adapt to the new realities.

Huchchegowdaof Obalapura:

·         Huchchegowda is one of those in the village to stop every politician in power who passes through his village and submit a memorandum pleading justice for the wrong done by the tunnel to their villages, only to receive empty promises and no action.

·         With the family’s income touching all time low and the demise of his father, there occurs the division of the family between his elder brother and himself.

·         Yet, Huchchegowda’s socio-cultural psychology had not prompted him to nurture any thought to strike against Government that was the root cause for this, until he hears an inspiring speech at the taluk HQ by the future leader of the Bagur-Navile agitation, GOPAL.

·          Huchchegowda responds to Gopal’s call for an agitation demanding justice and dedicates his time and energy to mobilise people. Soon he draws close to Gopal and identifies himself with the decision making panel.


Living Personalities

Shrewd Farmers

Gutsy Women

Young Lovers

Witty Waywards


Snobbish Politicians

Theory-Happy Intellectuals

Evasive  Govt. Officials

Callous Cops

Seeing his leadership qualities, his widowed mother, who initially disapproved his ‘unproductive’ head-hitting efforts against the government, begins to nourish his ideals and pray for his success. And, his wife learns to be more accommodative.

·         His spirit of resistance gradually brings about such an influence in his village and the surrounding that even the most debased and ignorant of the peasants jump into the agitation.

·         Huchchegowda gets voluntarily arrested as the talks fail with the Government and armed forces are deployed to evict them.

·         His mother and wife suffer utter disillusionment after the failure of the agitation and the terror that their village underwent with the police molest.

·         The failure of the agitation renders Huchchegowda disgusted and wayward for a span of time.

·         Adding more to his misery, his earnest friends who had followed him in the agitation detach themselves from him and his idealism succumbing to local political allurements.

·         His episode with the issue and the agitation draws parallel to the deterioration of the once socially unite village.

·         It takes a long time before he accepts hard ground truths and looks forward to a new beginning.

Ashaof GollaraHosahalli:

·         Much against her parents’ disapproval, ASHA, a PU student, returns home to her village and jumps into the agitation with her idealist grandfather.

·         While she participates in the agitation, she is attracted to VASANTH who contributes writing slogans and signboards, and acts in motivational street plays to rouse the masses.

·         Before their love for each other blossoms fully, the agitation meets with its abrupt end. Vengefully eyed by the police for his enthusiastic involvement, Vasanth is arrested, tortured and sent to Bellary jail.

·         While Asha languishes over Vasanth’s arrest, police barge into her village the next day and beat up as many as they accost. In their wild spree, they arrest her along with a few others. She is sent to the Mysore jail, but not before she is repeatedly shifted from one police station to another and beaten overnight. 

·         Months later after their releases, Asha and Vasanth meet in Bangalore. They share their nightmarish experiences with the police. This only binds their emotions firmer ending up in marriage a year later.       


·         Suspended from Government service for his Trade Union activities, Manjunath is pivotal in bringing his dynamic friend and AIKS state Secretary Gopal to build an agitation in the Bagur-Navile region.

·         He stands by Gopal throughout the agitation. With his local contacts, he is fully instrumental in mobilising the villages for the agitation.

·         The mass support the agitation gains in the region pushes Manjunath’s secretly nurtured idea to the fore: to run for the assembly elections.

·         However, his ambition is cut short by local political manipulations as the agitation suffers a sudden death.

·         The people of Bagur-Navile begin shedding the high opinion they had held on him once they smell his political motives.

·         As the time tames him, he returns to his service getting his suspension revoked, of course favoured by a prominent politician of his constituency.    

Nanjegowda of KalleSomanahalli:

·         Nanjegowda is a Gram Panchayat ex-chairman. People shower affection to him on the outside, but utterly hate him in their inside. He is known for his thick-and-thinness with the veteran politician of the district and a high profile ex-minister who has lost in the previous election.

·         He has a vital, but covert role to play in the agitation: to report, to his political boss, the strategies of the leaders of the agitation and of those who owe their allegiance to an opposite political party.

·         He brings the ex-minister to the hub of the agitation at a time when the popularity of the leaders of the agitation rides its peak. Through his intelligent speech, the ex-minister derides the leaders in the guise of praising them. He also uses the platform to re-establish his lost glory among the people of his constituency. The move would help the ex-minister emerge victorious in the next general elections, after the end of the agitation.

Mahadevappa of Bhaktarahalli:

·         Mahadevappa, a staunch follower of the sitting MLA from the ruling party, is a farm owner and an irrigation contractor.

·         He opposes the agitation to tooth and nail, though his village is severely affected by the tunnel, for he thinks it would bring a loss of image to the MLA.

·         He plays a strategic role along with the MLA, and other local supporters to derail the negotiations with the Government in the course of the agitation.

·         However, the group’s designs fail invariably as the issue grows beyond their scope and constituency, when state level political strategies take care of subverting the agitation and bring the impasse to a halt with the state machinery.

Doddanna & Chikkanna

·         Inseparable and always together, Doddanna & Chikkanna are like the same face minted on both sides of the same coin.

·         Sceptics by birth and brought together by their age and wit, they doubt everything on earth: be it a politician, a govt. official, or a leader of the agitation or their every move.

·         Why, they even doubt if there has been any loss to the coconu

Dramatic Keywords/Search Tags:
Bagur Navile, Kesari, Huchchegowda, Lakkavva

This Dramatic This work is copyrighted and may be used and/or cited as follows:
This is a screenplay idea suited for a feature/non-feature film and also a television serial design submitted to Television channels in India. This contains historical facts, dramatised storylines and character sketches based on my research on the historical events. The idea and content carry a risk of being used by anyone and developed into a detailed work that can suit a novel, a screenplay, a teleserial script and any/all of them. I am protecting this as my research material and imaginary work from any kind of plagiarism and infringements.

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Date Added: 02-May-2011 03:12

Submission Details: Dramatic Work submitted by Kesari Harvoo from India on 02-May-2011 03:09 (Last edited on 28-May-2011 18:18).
The Copyright work has been viewed 12723 times (since 22 Nov 2010).

Kesari Harvoo Contact Details: Email: kesarih@rediffmail.com Phone: +91-80-23185442

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