Amara Jeevi Potti Sreeramulu

Sri Potti Sreeramulu (16 March 1901 – 16 December 1952), became famous for his hunger strike demanding the formation of a separate Andhra state. He lost his life in the process. His sacrifice led to linguistic re-organisation of states in India. He is well known as Amarajeevi (Immortal being) in the Andhra region.

He was born in Chennai (erstwhile Madras city) on 16th Mar 1901 to Guravaiah and Mahalakshmi. Their ancestors hailed from Padamati Palem village in Sri Potti Sreeramulu Nellore district. He studied in Madra until he was 20 and then enrolled for Sanitary Engineering course in Bombay. Later he took up a job in Great Indian Peninsular Railway where he worked for about 4 years.

Having lost his child and wife at an early age, he renounced family life by the age of 25 and joined Gandhiji in freedom struggle. During 1943-44 he worked to spread awareness on Charakha among Nelloreans. In 1946, he went on a hunger strike fighting for entry of Harijans into Venugopal Swamy Temple of Mulapet, Nellore.

He spent his later days in Nellore district fighting for the upliftment of Harijans. He breathed his lost on 15th Dec 1952 while on a hunger strike demanding separate statehood for Andhra.

The State of Andhra was formed on October 1, 1953, with Kurnool as its capital. On November 1, 1956, Andhra Pradesh was formed with Hyderabad as its capital.

No wonder, Mahatma had remarked “India would have attained Independence long back, if only it had a few stalwarts like him”.

Further reading:

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/03/30/stories/2003033000040300.htm

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/11/11/stories/2002111101540200.htm

Ponaka Kanakamma – Freedom fighter from Nellore

When I first heard of Ponaka Kanakamma I couldn’t believe what I’ve heard. How is it possible for someone born and brought up in Nellore not to know about such a great lady who is possibly the first women freedom fighter from Nellore. I asked people of my age if they knew about her, none of them knew. I asked my father and a few of  his age, most of them vaguely heard of her. It was only after I met an 80 year old man who met Kanakamma few times in his life, that I am writing about her. My guilt is subsided, now that I at least know someone who knew Kanakamma first hand.

Ponaka Kanakamma was born to  Marupooru Konda Reddy and Kaamamma in Minagallu village in Nellore, on 10-June-1892. She hailed from a very rich landlord community. In 1913, she started ‘Sujana Ranjani Samajam’ in Potlapudi village, near Nellore. She worked for the upliftment of Harijans and poor. She became a devoted disciple of Mahatma Gandhi.

On 7-April-1921 Gandhiji inaugurated the ‘Pinakini Satyagraha Ashram‘ in Pallipadu village. Chaturuvedula Krishnaiah, Digumarti Hanumantu Rao and others founded the Ashram and Kanakamma donated 13 acres of land to establish the Ashram. She participated in the non-cooperation movement and Salt Satyagraha. She was imprisoned twice at Rayavellore. She hosted Bipin Chandra Pal during his visit to Nellore in 1907.

 

In 1923, she founded Sri Kasturidevi Vidyalayam, a school for girls in Nellore, as a part of Gandhiji’s constructive programme. Gandhiji laid the foundation stone for the permanent building in 1929. This sprawling Kasturidevi Vidyalam campus is about 23 acres. She was a member of  AICC, and was also served as the vice-president of Andhra Congress committee.

She became a devotee of Ramana Maharshi and Ramayogi of Annareddy palem, after the death of her only daughater, M.Venkatasubbamma who was a writer and social worker. She founded the Jamin Ryot, a Telugu weekly at Nellore in support of Zameendari Raitu movement in Nellore district. She lost her property fighting for the causes she espoused.

She established an industrial training centre for under-privileged women. During her life, many eminent freedom fighters and poets visited her at Potlapudi. She received  ‘Grulakshmi Swarnakankana’ sanmanam . In connection with the silver jubilee celebrations of Madras Mahila Sabha organisation, Smt. Durga Bhai Deshmukh honoured Kanakamma with a silver plank.

Ponaka Kanakamma died in Nellore, on 15-September-1963.  In 2011, her auto-biography in Telugu by name “Kanakapushyaragam” was released by Dr.K.Purushotham.

Ponaka Kanakamma’s story will make any Nellore citizen proud and will continue to inspire future generations. I plan to visit Sri Kasturidevi Vidyalayam as my own little homage to her. I still have no idea as to how to make her known to the current and future generations.

Wikipedia article on Ponaka Kanakamma

– Nellore Lover