|Rampa rebellion wikivisually.com/|
|Andhra Tribal revolt against the British shareyouressays.com|
Not to be confused with Rampa Rebellion of 1879, the revolt of the same name in 1922, often referred to as the Manyam Rebellion, was organized by the tribes in Godavari Agency of the then Madras Presidency, British India. Led by none other than Alluri Sitarama Raju, a well-known freedom fighter and a saintly figure, this tribal uprising lasted from August 1922 until the capture and killing of Raju in May 1924.
What is now part of present day Godavari districts of new Andhra Pradesh state, the Rampa administrative area, a hilly region, was made of about 700 square miles (1,800 km2), inhabited by about 28000 tribes. The tribal population was dependent on food production from their land for their needs and they traditionally followed what was called ''Podu System'', a sort of shifting of cultivation from one place to another. Every year some areas of jungle land were cleared by way of burning them and then the land would be used purely for cultivation purposes.
The colonial rulers - British Raj took control of the forest land mainly for commercial exploitation. They needed the produce from the area for building railways and ships. They wanted wood for their railways. In the tribal land there was prevalence of malaria and black water fever and the administrators wanted to improve the utility of the lands and income in Godavari Agency. This could be done by making the tribes move out of that place. The traditional cultivation activities by the tribal communities had an impact on the proposed commercial exploitation of money- spinning opportunities from forest lands by the Raj that was more concerned about taking the project forward and relegating the welfare and needs of the tribes to the back stage, not giving priority to their land rights that they had been enjoying for a pretty long time. In 1923, the government took into account one Agency Commissioner's opinion spelled out in the previous year that the real value of the forest was not fully explored and much food grains had been lost due to unwanted tribal operations.
The legal system followed by the Raj was in favor of zamindars (estate landowners) and merchants of the plains areas and the people who were dependent on the forest lands felt the pinch and now faced starvation and loss of their livelihood. The passing of the 1882 Madras Forest Act, put restrictions on the free movement of tribal people in the forest land and prevented them from engaging in their traditional podu agricultural system.
They strongly objected to the new and biased policy introduced by the Raj as they had to find an alternative to sustain their lives; it meant they had to work as daily wage-earners/coolies. To register their anger and sustained objection, they refused to work as forced labor in the construction of roads and railway lines in the hilly area.
|Alluri Sitarararaju RajuFreedom fighter .wikiwand.com|
Alluri Sitarararaju Raju who happened to be a Sanyasi, a person of justice and strong will power, could not contain his fury over the plight of innocent native tribes who had been attached to the hill lands for centuries and now were landless and out of work. They were the victims of colonial rulers' greed and Raju wanted to overthrow the oppressive and unjust British rule by harnessing the discontent and resentment of the tribes. With support from tribal communities and those muttadars who were sympathetic to their cause instead of being narrow-minded in their pursuit of a revived status for themselves, Raju took the cudgels against the British and their intrusion into the tribal lands. Some muttadars were ambivalent about fighting for what Raju perceived to be the greater good. During the ensuing rebellion, Alluri Raju used guerrilla warfare to fight against the mighty British. Raju led the Rampa Rebellion along with a band of tribal people and other sympathizers. They fought in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam regions. Taking advantage of some aspects of earlier non-cooperation movements and of his own reputation among the tribal people, Raju raided police stations in and around Chintapalle, Rampachodavaram, Dammanapalli, Krishna Devi Peta, Rajavommangi, Addateegala, Narsipatnam and Annavaram. He with his followers, not only stole guns and ammunition but also killed several British police officers, including two near Dammanapalli. These British officers intimidated the tribal communities and gave them all kinds of problems without any remorse. The skirmishes and fighting continued unabated until May 1924 when Raju was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalle. He was tied to a tree and 'instant justice' was dispensed with by the British Raj. He was executed by gunfire in Koyyuru village; no commission of enquiry on the problems being faced by the tribes and the reason for the rebellion. His tomb is in Krishna Devi Peta village. He was referred to as "Manyam Veerudu" ("Hero of the Jungle") by the local people.