(This article was contributed by Ratnakar Sadasyula)
Endharo Veerula Tyaaga Phalam
Mana Desa Swecha ke Mooladharam
Mana Devi ki ivvali haarathalu
Both the Telugu states, have had some great freedom fighters, who though not so well known, have been famous in their own way. Some like Alluri, Tanguturi Prakasam have been legends in their own right. Hyderabad State had it’s share of well known freedom fighters. Many of the freedom fighters here had to wage a twin struggle, both against the Nizam’s oppressive rule as well as the British Raj.
Alluri Sitarama Raju, one of the fiercest opponents of British rule, a folk hero of sorts in Andhra Pradesh. Born into a prosperous Kshatriya family in W.Godavari district, he renounced everything for the freedom struggle. He took up the cause of the tribals in the Agency areas, who were being harassed by British officials under the Forest Act, and led an armed rebellion. Uniting the various tribes in the region, Raju embarked on an armed revolt against the British, raiding police stations, capturing weapons, indulging in guerilla attacks,in what is referred to as the Rampa Rebellion.
Pingali Venkayya, a devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who was also known as Diamond Venkayya for his knowledge on Diamond Mining. He did research on cotton farming too, and his major contribution would be designing the Indian National Flag.
Source: The Hindu
Potti Sreeramulu, another devout Gandhian, who took part in the Salt Satyagraha, Quit India Movement, and was imprisoned thrice. He also undertook fasts for entry of Dalits into temples, and strove for Dalit emancipation too. He is more remembered for his fast unto death, demanding creating of a separate Andhra state.
Source: The Hindu
Acharya N.G.Ranga who joined the freedom struggle in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call in 1930. Led the ryot agitation in 1933, founder of the Kisan Congress and had many discussions with Gandhi on a farmer state. He was in Parliament for 6 decades from 1931 to 1991, and considered father of Indian peasant movement.
Sardar Goutu Lachanna, born in Srikakulam district, son of a toddy tapper,hailing from a poor family. Arrested when he was just 21 for taking part in the salt satyagraha at Palasa, He also took part in Quit India and was named Sardar for his fearless attitude. He served in Tekkali and Narasannapeta jails, and later served rigorous imprisonment at Berhampur jail. One of the foremost leaders of freedom movement from Andhra Pradesh, he organized Satyagraha in Barua and organized picketing of foreign cloth shops in Srikakulam district. He welcomed soldiers of the Indian National Army, founded by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, and also fought against untouchability. He was wanted by the British Govt during Quit India movement in 1942, for his frequent raids. He was a strident advocate of the rights of backward classes, trade unions and weaker sections of society.
Tanguturi Prakasam, also known as Andhra Kesari, and was the first Chief Minister of Andhra State. He started his career as a lawyer, but was drawn towards the freedom movement, and gave up his practice in 1921 after taking a pledge for Satyagraha. One of his most famous acts, was in 1928 during the protests against Simon Comission in Madras. The police had imposed a ban on protests in some areas, and had warned of shooting people who violated it’s orders. He faced the police, tore open his shirt, bared his chest and dared them to shoot him if they could. This singular act of defiance won him the title of Andhra Kesari( Lion of Andhra).
Kanneganti Hanumanthu, who led a fierce revolt against the British in Palnadu region over payment of tax. He died when he was just 30, shot dead by the British, leading a revolt against tax payment.
P.V.Narasimha Rao, apart from his stint as Prime Minister and Union Minister, also took active part in the freedom struggle in Hyderabad State. He hoisted the national flag in Osmania University, defying the diktats of the Nizam, and was constantly underground to escape the Nizam’s secret police.
Swami Ramanananda Teertha, was the main leader of the Hyderabad State Congress, and led the struggle against the autocratic rule of the Nizam. His real name was Venkatesh Khedgikar, and hailed from Latur. He was given the name of Ramananda Teertha, after he took up Sanyas, and waged a relentless struggle against the Nizam and his British backers.
Makdhoom Mohiuddin, born in Medak district of Hyderabad state, one of the most versatile Urdu poets, and also founder of the Communist party in Andhra Pradesh. He was one of the most wanted men, during the Nizam reign, as he rallied fearlessly the people against his rule, and also pushed for merger with India.
Kaloji Narayan Rao, writer and poet, who took part in the uprising against the Nizam, and was arrested twice for it. Worked with both the Arya Samaj and later the Andhra Mahasabha.
Raavi Narayana Reddy, was one of the main leaders of the Telangana rebellion, against the Nizam’s autocratic rule.
Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, hailing from Kalwakurthy in Mahbubnagar district, was one of the co founders of the Hyderabad State Congress along with Swami Ramananda Teertha. Led the struggle against the Nizam for merger of Hyderabad state with India, and was arrested twice for his role in the Quit India movement in 1942 and later in 1947. He later became the first elected Chief Minister of Hyderabad State.
Let’s not forget to sing praises of these great people from our Telugu land today!
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