Bangaluru: The Lal Dhari Mutya Ashram in Humnabad witnessed heated debates on Wednesday between devotees of the seer who founded the Ashram and his relatives over whether he was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in hiding.
Some devotees of the seer who died in Humnabad in 2001, said they would take a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a DNA test to see if he was Netaji. This was decided at meeting in the Ashram premises. Santaram Murjani, one of the devotees from Umarga in Maharashtra, who convened the meeting, announced that Ravindra Gaekwad, MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra would lead the delegation.
Their claim rests on an olive green army uniform, caps and knives, some foreign watches and currency found in the late seer’s cupboard. However, the Umadi family from Rajeshwar in Basava Kalyan rubbished these claims and said the Mutya was Revanappa Umadi, their eldest son. Lakshman Umadi, the Mutya’s younger brother and his nephew Vijay Kumar Bammani, a member of the Chitaguppa town municipal council countered the claims and asked them to stop the campaign that he was Netaji.
They had a verbal duel with Mr. Santaram and Naga Reddy, another devotee from Humnabad. Umadi family members told the devotees that efforts to link Revanappa to Netaji was ridiculous and could even be part of a political conspiracy. Mr. Santaram however, refused to believe them and insisted on a DNA test. He alleged that the Umadis were eyeing Ashram property. He declared he had no political ambition and was only interested in proving what he believed was the truth.
Later, Mr. Lakshman told reporters in Humnabad that Revanappa served in the Indian army after independence, and lived an ascetic life after retirement in the 1980s. “Ramanna, another of my brothers, also served in the army,” Mr. Lakshman said.
Shankar Umadi, Revanappa’s grand-nephew who is a banker in Bidar, told The Hindu that the ex- servicemen welfare office in Hyderabad had relevant records of Revanappa’s army service. “Collecting foreign currency and coins was his hobby. He had kept his army uniform as a memory of his service,” he said. He must have been only 80 years old when he died and not 105 as some of his devotees claim, Mr. Shankar said.