Basavaneppa N. Munavalli was born on 19 August 1904 in Ramdurg State, a Maratha Princely State that was part of the Deccan State Agency (presently in the Belgaum district of Karnataka). He completed his schooling in Dharwar. Later, he pursued a B.A. and an LL.B degree from the Karnatak College in Dharwar and the Poona Law College. Soon after, he began his legal practice in Hubli.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
Munavalli was part of several citizen-led movements and organisations in Ramdurg. He was the secretary of Hubli’s Textile Labour Union (1932) and President of its Citizens’ League (1934). As a member of the Hubli Municipal Borough, he also held legislative office. He was the Chairman of Hubli’s High School Committee and Compulsory Education Committee (1945).
He also featured prominently in the freedom movement and the fight for a better government within Ramdurg State. The people of Ramdurg were suffering because of the massive increase in land revenues collected by the State authorities, as compared to those collected in the British provinces. Their plight was compounded by the fact that most administrators were Marathi-speaking non-natives brought in from other parts of Maharashtra. The frustration of the people soon found an outlet through the founding of the Ramdurg Samsthan Prajasangha on 13 May 1938, of which Munavalli was the President.
Munavalli, an influential advocate by then, also represented the demands of the people of Ramdurg in other public forums such as the Deccan States’ Peoples Conference. Here, a committee of 6 Congress leaders was formed to evaluate the situation in Ramdurg. After negotiating with the Raja, a Land Revenue Assessment Committee was formed of which Munavalli was a member. But he was not satisfied by the functioning of this committee and its recommendations, and the Prajasangha decided to continue with their agitation.
In April 1939, he was arrested alongside other leaders of the Prajasangha for protesting against the oppressive tactics of the State. Many people gathered the next day to free the political prisoners, but the situation turned violent, leading to the death of many people including police and jail staff. Again in 1942, Munavalli would spend a year in jail for similar reasons.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Munavalli was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Deccan States on a Congress ticket. He did not make any significant interventions in the Assembly.
Munavalli was a member of the Provisional Parliament up till 1952. He participated in the Karnataka unification movement under the platform of the Akhand Karnatak Rajya Nirman Parishad. In the 1957 elections, he contested for the Lok Sabha seat from Dharwar North constituency, losing out to the Congress candidate.
- Who’s Who 1950 (Parliament of India)
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Perception of the Nature of the Ramadurga Revolt: A Re-examination by Ashk Shettar and A.B. Vaggar (Indian History Congress, 2011)