ALLURI SEETHARAMA RAJU THE FORGOTTEN MARTYR
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
Alluri Sita Rama Raju (born July 5, 1897 – died May 7, 1924). He was also known as , Rama Chandra Raju, and Alluri Seetha Rama Raju). He was also known as Manyam Veerudu ( Hero of the forests). He was a revolutionary from the state of Circar districts ( Coastal) in Andhra Region which is a part of Andhra Pradesh now. He was the contemporary of all our senior freedom movement leaders. He shot into fame with his armed rebellion against the British Government in India inspiring the tribals from the coastal districts of Andhra. He was educated and if required could have settled in a job and led a peaceful life. But he could not see his motherland in shackles of a foreign power and preferred an armed confrontation during 1922-1924 that became famous as Rampa rebellion. He knew his limitations, yet he preferred armed confrontation to an uninspiring Gandhian peaceful movement. Thus he belonged to the group of fire brand revolutionaries of India such as Shaheed Bhagat singh, Raj guru, Sukhdev, Ramprasad bismil, Chandra Sekhar Azad, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Shaheed Uddham singh of 20 th century. As destiny chose, his efforts failed against the monstrous military strength of the British govt aided by the traitors within the country. There was no dearth of traitors in this country during freedom movement as it happened earlier too right from the days of Mohammed Ghori and Prithviraj chauhan of 12 century. However his deeds have inspired the other freedom fighters in the country and kept the torch alive and finally India attained independence not before the nation was partitioned by the selfish leaders who were in a hurry to capture political power. The dreams of our martyrs were shattered by partition. Sadly his deeds are not much known outside the AP state. Thanks to our history books.
Raju was born on July 5, 1897 in Pandrangi village in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh . His mother was from Visakhapatnam and his father was a native of Mogallu, near Bhimavaram, and was an official photographer in the central jail at Rajahmundry. Raju's mother died when he was in school at Vullithota Bangarayya school and he grew up in the care of his uncle, Rama Chandra Raju, a tehsildar in Narsapur in the West Godavari district. He studied at Taylor High School in Narsapur then moved to Tuni along with his mother, brother and sister. While there, Alluri visited areas of the Visakhapatnam district and became familiar with the needs of the indigenous people.When Raju turned 15, he moved to his mother's home town of Vishakhapatnam and enrolled at Mrs. A.V.N. College. He was dropped out of college after failing in the fourth form (Std. IX )
In 1882 Madras Forest Act was passed , its restrictions on the free movement of tribal peoples in the forest prevented the tribals from engaging in their traditional "Podu" agricultural system, which involved shifting cultivation. Raju led a protest movement in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. Inspired by the patriotic zeal of revolutionaries in Bengal, Raju raided police stations in and around Chintapalle, Rampachodavaram, Dammanapalli, Krishna-devi-peta, Rajavommangi, Addateegala, Narsipatnam and Annavaram.Raju and his followers stole guns and ammunition and killed several British army officers, including Scott Coward near Dammanapalli .In December 1922, the British deployed a company of Assam Rifles, near Pegadapalle under the leadership of Saunders. Raju, who had by then gone underground, resurfaced after about four months and continued the fight, strengthened by tribal volunteers using bows and arrows under the leadership of Gam Mallu Dora and Gantam Dora.
Following a raid led by Raju on the Annavaram police outpost on September 18, 1923, Gam Mallu Dora was arrested. The Government entrusted the task of containing Raju's activities to the District Collector of Visakhapatnam district, Rutherford, who fired the first salvo when his forces arrested Surya Narayana Raju Pericherla, popularly known as Aggiraju, a devoted follower of Raju.The British campaign lasted for nearly a year from December 1922. Rama Raju was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli . He was tied to a tree and shot dead summarily with a rifle in Mampa village. Following the martyrdom of Alluri, the tribal revolt lost its momentum and petered out by October 1923. Police officer Mr. N. Ganeswara Rao responsible for Raju's entrapment was awarded Rao Bahadur. The rebellion was thus contained.
In 1986 the Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp featuring Raju in the series 'India's struggle for freedom'. The Telugu movie Alluri Seetharama Raju was made about Raju's life directed by V. Rama Chandra Rao and starring Krishna as Seeth ramaraju. His staues have been erected in Hyderabad and at his native place. Like many revolutionaries, he has faded into pages of history.
The real heroes of Indian freedom movement are forgotten while the pseudo leaders today are masquerading as patriots and all important Institutions, air ports, highways, Roads and projects are named after members of a particular family thus making mockery of the real heroes who laid down their lives without thinking for a second moment.