Alluri Sitarama Raju

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For the 1974 film, see Alluri Seetharama Raju (film).
Alluri Sita Rama Raju
Alluri Sita Rama Raju statue.jpg
Aggi Pidugu Alluri
Born 4-July-1897
Pandrangi village, [Visakhapatnam]
Died 7 May 1924(1924-05-07) (aged 26)
Mampa village in the Visakhapatnam District
Cause of death Shooting
Resting place K.D Peta village, Visakhapatnam district
Ethnicity Kshatriya
Known for Freedom fighting
Title Manyam Veerudu
Religion Hinduism
Parent(s) Venkata Ramaraju, Suryanarayanamma

Alluri Sitarama Raju (4-July 1897 – died 7 May 1924) (also known as Alluri Rampa Rama Raju, Rama Chandra Raju, and Alluri Seetharama Raju) was an Indian revolutionary involved in the independence movement.

Raju led the ill-fated "Rampa Rebellion" of 1922–24, during which a band of tribal leaders and other sympathizers fought against the British Raj. He was referred to as "Manyam Veerudu" ("Hero of the Jungles") by the local people.

Early life[edit]

Details of Alluri Sita Rama's early life vary. An official report suggests that he was born in 1897 in Bhimunipatnam taluk, Visakhapatnam district.[1] He was born in a Kshatriya family of Andhra Pradesh, where his mother was from Visakhapatnam and his father was a native of Mogallu, near Bhimavaram.[2][3] The young Raju lived mainly in Mogallu.[4] Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju is brave son of India who laid down his life to free mother India from the oppression of the British. He was born on 4th July 1897. While pursuing his studies at Kakinada, Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju came in contact with a notable freedom fighter, Sri Madduri Annapurnayya, and Rallapalli Atchuta Ramayya, a scholar of high repute. For his further studies he went to Visakhapatnam at the age of 15. Though he didn't have much interest in studies, he was very keen to know more about the political condition of India at that time.

In 1857 during the first war of independence thousands of tribals of Gond land laid their life for their country. Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju went deep into the forests of Gond land to meet the tribals and inspire them to fight for India's independence.

In the tribal areas, the poor and illiterate tribal people were exploited and oppressed blatantly by the Britishers. Since the tribals were not united against the Britishers they took advantage of it and deprived the tribals of their rights. Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju inspired and united the different tribes of the area, trained them in skills of guerrilla warfare and proved to be a terror for the Britishers.

Soon he was ready to attack the enemy with his army. On 22nd August 1922, his tribal army initiated their struggle by raiding three police stations Chintapalli Police Station, Krishnadevipeta Police Station, and Rajavommangi on three consecutive days. After the raids they captured a huge number of guns, bayonets and cartridges and swords. They even freed Veerayya Dora from jail who was a revolutionary.

The British Army was alerted by his actions and platoons of Police and Army were ordered to arrest Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju. He again attacked the British Army at Peddavalasa and defeated them as a result of which they had to bear heavy casualties and finally retreated.

From that day onwards there was a regular warfare between Raju and the Britishers and Raju came out triumphant in all. Nearly for two years(1922 to 1924) he terrorized the British Army and was the ruler of the vast area. Later Britishers were keen to kill him and deployed battalions of Assam Rifles and others. He was killed by the British on one fateful day.

The Department of Posts issued a 50 Paise multicolored stamp in memory of freedom fighter Sri Alluri Sitarama Raju. When Raju turned 15, he moved to his mother's home town of Vishakhapatnam and enrolled at Mrs. A. V. N. College.[5]

Rampa Rebellion of 1922[edit]

After the passing of the 1882 Madras Forest Act, its restrictions on the free movement of tribal peoples in the forest prevented them from engaging in their traditional "Podu" agricultural system, which involved shifting cultivation.[citation needed]

Raju led a protest movement in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh.[6] Inspired by the patriotic zeal of revolutionaries in Bengal, Raju raided police stations in and around Chintapalle, Rampachodavaram, Dammanapalli, Krishna-devi-peta, Rajavommangi, Addateegala, Narsipatnam and Annavaram.[citation needed]

Raju and his followers stole guns and ammunition and killed several British army officers, including Scott Coward near Dammanapalli.[7]

In December 1922, the British deployed a company of Assam Rifles, near Pegadapalle under the leadership of Saunders. Raju, who had by then gone underground, resurfaced after about four months and continued the fight, strengthened by tribal volunteers using bows and arrows under the leadership of Gam Mallu Dora and Gantam Dora.[citation needed]

Following a raid led by Raju on the Annavaram police outpost on 18 September 1923, Gam Mallu Dora was arrested. The Government entrusted the task of containing Raju's activities to the District Collector of Visakhapatnam district, Rutherford, who fired the first salvo when his forces arrested Surya Narayana Raju Pericherla, popularly known as Aggiraju, a devoted follower of Raju.[citation needed]

The British campaign lasted for nearly a year from December 1922. Rama Raju was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli then tied to a tree and shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village. Following the martyrdom of Alluri, the tribal revolt lost its momentum and petered out by October 1923. Police officer Mr. N. Gnaneswara Rao responsible for Raju's entrapment was awarded Rao Bahadur.[citation needed]

Alluri Sitarama Raju's tomb is present in Krishna devaraya peta (K.D Peta) village.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

Alluri Statue at Beach road in Visakhapatnam

Today a statue of Raju stands at Seethammadhara Junction and another on the beach road near The Park Hotel in Visakhapatnam. Another was erected in Pandrangi, his maternal grandmother's village in Padmanabham Mandal near Bheemili, about 28 kilometres (17 mi) from Visakhapatnam.

In 1986 the Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp featuring Raju in the series 'India's struggle for freedom'.[9]

The Telugu-language movie Alluri Seetharama Raju depicted Raju's life.

Andhra Pradesh is to celebrate his birthday, 4 July, annually as a state festival.[10]