International Women’s Day Special

Warangal: To choose between one’s own child and struggle against tyranny might be a difficult choice to make for an ordinary person, especially if the person is a woman.

Such is the person Chenna-­boina Kamalamma, whose valour has earned her International Women’s Day Award, to be presented in Hyderabad on Tuesday by Telangana government for the first time.  

Displaying indomitable spirit, she chose to give up her newly born son for the sake of innocent people, for whose protection she joined the armed struggle against the oppressive rule of erstwhile Nizams of Hyderabad and their merciless army of Razakars and feudal lords.

Now 87 years old, she joined the post Independence armed struggle to fight the Razakars as part of Telangana Liberation Struggle by Communist Party of India at the age of 15. She wanted to be with her husband, Chennaboina Mukundam alias Appanna, in his struggle much against his persuasion to make her live with her in-laws.

Prior to joining the struggle, the couple left their elder son with their in-laws. While in underground, they had another son. The dalam commander M Omkar told them to quit the struggle or to give up their son, fearing the child’s presence could make the dalam vulnerable to enemy attacks.

‘It was a tough decision but I decided to give up the son and handed over the child to a Koya family,’ she recalled while narrating her awe-inspiring tale to The Hans India here on Monday. Now, none of the family members know the whereabouts of the child, who was left at that time.

Kamalamma, while participating in armed fight, served as a nurse and a member of a cultural troupe, besides being an armed fighter in the dalam. She inspired hundreds of armed fighters and common people with her songs and courage. After the integration of Hyderabad state into Indian union, the couple continued to actively take part in Communists’ activities. Kamalamma served as secretary of the CPI Mahila Samakhya for a long period.

The accounts of her life were recorded by Russian Central Library and German National Library. A lesson on her struggle for Hyderabad liberation has been included in eighth standard social sciences text book.

According to Kamalamma’s son Ravinder in 2008, the Centre has planned to propose her name for Noble Peace Prize at the behest of National Federation of Indian Women. But the proposal could not be sent in time.

‘The Telangana government did a great job by choosing her for the International Women’s Day award. It not only recognises her contribution to the freedom of suppressed people but honours all such women,’ opined Ravinder.

James Edwin