Two major movements of the Pre-Gandhian Era during the National Movement were Vandemaataram (1905-1910) and Home Rule (1915-1920). Protesting against the division of Bengal in 1905, deriving inspiration from the song in Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's novel, 'Anandhamath,' Vandemaataram Movement was led by Lal, Bal, Pal (Lala Lajapati Roy, Balagangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal). Proposed by Balagangadar Tilak, ably assisted by Annie Besant, Congress turned into a full time agitational body from 1915 and the Home Rule was the first on the agenda.
Bipin Chandra Pal toured the Coastal Andhra during the Vandemaataram Movement and the Home Rule was led by Annie Besant. A boisterous youth from Kurnool, Gadicharla Harisarvothama Rao participated in both the Movements, first as a student of the Training College, Rajamahendravaram in Vandemaataram Movement on April, 22, 1907.
While Gadicharla was the first person to plunge into the Freedom Movement in Andhra, a young Brahmin widow, Duvvuri Subbamma, shunning orthodoxy and discarding warnings from fanatics, with her participation in the Salt Movement was the first woman Freedom Fighter. Daring and courageous and beautiful and well-read, both attracted audience, wherever they went. Subbamma is remembered by the her only statue at the Freedom Park in Rajamahendravaram.
A member of the Constituent Assembly and a disciple of Gadicharla, Sardar Nagappa, a Harijan was rusticated for wearing Gandhi Cap in the Municipal High School, Kurnool. Amaravathamma, his illiterate wife, followed him in the agitations and shared the cells in the jails; a rare couple. Nowhere, whether in Kurnool or anywhere else, in any public place we find not even a photo of his. My proposal to have his statue in old bus stand area, nearby his residence has not been favoured by the administration. He deserves one on the premises of the Rayalaseema University.
All the above three had actively, with different slogans, canvassed for Khadi, i.e., Swadeshi Movement. Gadicharla used to say: "We experience three variations in weather conditions; hot, hotter and the hottest. Khaddar is the most suitable cloth, wear it with pride." Subbamma was urging the women to wear Khadi Sarees. They complained of the weight. She quipped: "Daily, women are habituated to bear more weight than a Khadi saree." Nagappa's stance is that: "If we do not wear Khadi, our Harijan brethren will lose coolie."
Leave alone the second generation like Tenneti Visvanatham, Kadapa Koti Reddy, Kalluru Subba Rao, Pucchalapalli Sundariah, Tarimala Nagi Reddy and Vavilala Gopalakrishnaiah, the first generation giants like Desabhakta Konda Venkatappaiah, Andhra Rathna Duggirala Gopalakrishnaiah, Acharya Ranga, Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, Bezavada Gopal Reddy, Maharhsi Bulusu Sambamurthy, Unnava Lakshminaryana, Advavi Bapineedu, Pappur Ramacharlu, are seldom remembered, much less recognised and honoured.
Previous regimes, both at the Central and State levels thought of its coterie and their families alone. The present ones must take initiatives to project them, with various measures, such as erecting statues and naming the streets and localities associated with them, issuing stamps and first-day covers, prescribing their biographies in curriculum, celebrating Jayanthies and observing Vardathies, as a constant source of inspiration for sacrifice and selfless service.
Their very names and titles conferred by the people suggest their worth in the pages of history and names in letters of gold. "The future of those who neglect their past, is doomed//Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect//Some frail memorial still erected nigh//With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh (Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray).
By K C Kalkura