From 1997 onwards several development activities have taken place in this historical site. A cenotaph and a Veerasoudha (Hall of Heroic doers) came up in memory of the martyrs. The year 2006 witnessed the opening of a picture gallery that depicts the national and state level struggles covering both pre-Gandhian & Gandhian phases. A theme-library consisting of around 2000 books is also thrown open to scholars & the public. The Union Govt. has created the Freedom Memorial Park consisting of an open air theater & a children play area. The Govt. of Karnataka has built an auditorium in the Memorial Complex to conduct film shows and cultural programmes. Recognizing the work of national importance carried out by the local team on my initiative the State government in 2012 constituted Vidurashwatha Freedom Memorial Development Committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner of the district to take care of the Complex and carry out further developments.
Till 2013 the picture gallery consisted of 9o panels though more than 100 panels were required to depict the various significant and inclusive aspects of the freedom struggle which was fought for more than 180 years. Bringing the exhibition a full circle was not possible then because of the paucity of funds. The necessity of adding some more panels was often felt in order to make the gallery more inclusive by depicting the events till the Liberation of Goa Movement. This perspective prompted us to come up with the proposal of enhancing the number of picture panels from 90 to 105. It was also strongly felt to give face-lift to the gallery by adopting latest display technology. We could accomplish both these works from the MPLAD Funds made available by Dr.Veerappa Moyliji, the former Union Minister and the Member of Parliament from Chikkaballapur Constituency in addition to the funds I contributed from MLACD Funds. The upgraded gallery with necessary renovation was inaugurated by Sri. Siddaramaiah, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka on 26 January 2014.
The gallery now stands as a proof to the commitment, scholarship and imagination of the persons who are involved in this endeavor. As the soul of the Freedom Memorial Complex at Vidurashwatha, the gallery attracts virtually thousands of people from all walks of life and the Opinion Log reveals visitors’ (dignitaries, academicians, bureaucrats, students and the general public) accolades for the packaged learning value of the gallery aiming at the post-independence generation. We are of the reasonable opinion that at a time when general reading public is showing less or no interest in themes related to our freedom struggle the best-read would be to take them to ‘see & read’ method which can provoke quite a few of them to go to literature on the subject and discover for themselves the real nature and ethos of the struggle. Besides we are shortly launching a novel programme coordinated by the Department of Primary Education at the taluka level. Under this programme all the school-going children above the lower primary level will have weekly scheduled visit by turns to the Memorial Complex through out the year during term days to spend their weekends escorted by their teachers.
Now we have planned to create an “Andaman Gallery” which could not be taken up along with the work of the existing gallery due to want of funds and conceptual inputs. Recently two persons (Prof.B.GangadharaMurthy and Mr.Jagadeesh) who conceptualized and designed the existing gallery visited Andamans (sans government funding) and extensively toured the neighborhood islets of Port Blair in search of materials connected with the establishment of the Penal Colonies including the notorious Cellular Jail which has recently acquired the status of a National Museum. I learn that they had discussion with Dr. Rasheeda Iqbal, the curator of the Museum. In addition to this fruitful confabulation they have also brought inputs which reveal reliable account of the happenings during the years of British and Japanese occupation of the Penal Colony (known as Kalapani in the lore of freedom struggle) where thousands of freedom fighters (including many from Karnataka whose names hitherto remained obscure) were incarcerated and inhumanly tortured to death.
The proposed gallery depicting the Andaman story in 32 picture panels and a prototype of the infamous Cellular Jail will be housed in the adjacent II-unit of Veerasoudha. Since this gallery will perhaps be the first of its kind in Karnataka the people of the state will have the rare opportunity to know about the world of extreme cruelty and extreme suffering on the vast canvass of the Great Indian Freedom Struggle.