Saturday, 4 August 2018

Patriot Alluri Sitarama Raju who gave his life for the tribes of Andhra - British Raj


Patriot and freedom fighter Alluri  Sitarama Raju.  Veethi
Patriot who fought for the hill trbes Alluri Raju. Twitter
  When I did my high school in my native tongue 'Tamil' decades ago there was a misinformation in the high school  text book on 'Indian History' about how India got  her freedom from the  British. It was mentioned in Tamil as follows :  ......."Kathiyendre  rathammindre  naam swathanthiram petrrom'' meaning  Without sword and blood we got freedom from the British.''  You can make your own judgement as to the veracity of the historical information given in the school text book.  During the colonial rule scores of people including women scarified their lives  to get India freed from the British, who literally bear-hugged the vast Indian subcontinent for the benefit of Britain  and British society, reducing the rich Indian subcontinent  to a country of paupers and emaciated poor people. They took away their lands,  exploited them and , destroyed the vast village cottage industries, particularly textiles and pocketed the profit - every penny from this land leaving the gullible people in the lurch, forcing them to have hand to mouth life. 
Freedom fighter  Alluri Raju Andhraheadlines

As their atrocities were unbearable, a section of daring and courageous people  across the country, in rage, raised their voice against the merciless and selfish British rulers. Including  among them were some tribal people who too lost their lands to the British.  Alluri Sitarama Raju was an Indian revolutionary from Andhra who could not brook the the oppressive British rule  and their interference in the tribal lands over which they had been enjoying rights for several centuries. He led the tribes against the colonial rulers. 
Patriot who gave his life for the hill tribes, British India Geni
The early childhood of Alluri Raju is sketchy and vague (birth 4th July 1897), any way, he lost his father at a young age.  Brought up by his his paternal uncle, he neither showed interest in studies nor in learning Vedantha and yoga. While in Tuni in 1918, he spent time  visiting near-by villages and developed  a close rapport with the hill tribes. They were living in abject poverty and their condition was pathetic.  After quitting school he  started his campaign in East Godavari and Vizag.  The British government now under the Crown administration passed the 1882 Madras Forest Act. This act was introduced to restrict the free movement of tribal peoples in the forest / jungle land and prevent them from  engaging in traditional agricultural work / system, involving shifting cultivation. The owner can not decide what to cultivate on his land!!  Alluri Raju became the voice of the voiceless tribes and led the Rampa Rebellion of 1922–24  and  a band of tribal leaders and other sympathizers joined him to protest  against the British Raj which had passed the law. The  protest movement  was popular in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh of Madras Presidency. His leadership was so aggressive he motivated lots of tribes to fight the British and their unjust, discriminatory Forest laws.  He was  called "Manyam Veerudu" ("Hero of the Jungles") by the local people.

Krishna Devi Peta village Tomb of Alluri Sitarama Raju famousplacesinindia.in
 At one point of time,  Aluuri Raju lost  his patience with the British Bobs and their attitude toward Indian natives, not to speak of tribes. He heard a lot about revolutionaries in Bengal who took to violence as a means to deal with treacherous British officials  whose focus was to squander India as much as they could. Inspired by the Bengali patriots and revolutionaries, Alluri Raju, now freshly  charged with patriotic zeal, along with his band of followers, raided many police stations in and around places like Chintapalle,  Dammanapalli, Krishna Devi Peta, Narsipatnam, etc. During raids he stole arms and  ammunition  from those places  and had no hesitation to kill  several British army officers, including  one Scott Coward near Dammanapalli. This was done to get their attention and express their abomination for the the way they treated the hill tribes.
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The British  decided to catch Alluri  Raju at any cost and he had been at large  near Pegadapalle for a few months. In December 1922, the British brought in a company of Assam Rifles under one Saunders, and deployed it near Pegadapalle where Alluri Raju went underground. Soon  he came out of the hide out and continued to his battle against the Raj with support from  tribal volunteers. They mainly used  bows and arrows to fight the British. They did not have any modern weapon; however their spirit was way high to get the British thrown out of India soon.
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In the wake of a  raid led by Raju on the Annavaram police outpost on 18 September 1923,  one or two leaders  of his group were arrested.  Soon his ardent follower Surya Narayana Raju Pericherla, popularly known as Aggiraju  was arrested under the direction of  the District Collector of Visakhapatnam district, Rutherford. The British campaign  against Alluri Raju and his followers continued for one more year from December 1922 with no solid lead.
Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation
Above image: Alluri Raju was caught and tied to a tree. On orders from the British officer, an Indian police inspector shot him dead; 7th May 1924. ..........
As for Alluri Raju, Dame Luck ran out on him and he was finally caught and arrested in the forests of Chintapalli.  He was tied to a tree and shot dead in Koyyuru village on 7 May 1924. He was just 26 years of age.  Police officer Gnaneswara Rao, who trapped Raju got a special award from the police - the title of Rao Bahadur.  In Krishna Devi Peta village one can see Alluri Raju's tomb.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alluri_Sitarama_Raju
 http://famousplacesinindia.in/Tombs/Alluri-Sitarama-Raju-Tomb.aspx