Alluri Sitarama Raju
|Alluri Sitarama Raju|
|Born||4 July 1897|
Pandrangi village, Bheemunipatnam, Visakhapatnam District
|Died||7 May 1924 (aged 26)|
Koyyuru, Visakhapatnam District
|Cause of death||Capture and execution by the British|
|Resting place||Krishnadevipeta, Visakhapatnam District|
|Known for||Rampa Rebellion of 1922–24|
|Parent(s)||Venkata Rama Raju (father), Suryanarayanamma (mother)|
Alluri Sitarama Raju was an Indian revolutionary involved in the Indian independence movement. 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. Raju led the Rampa Rebellion of 1922–24, during which a band of tribal leaders and other sympathisers fought against the British Raj, which had passed the law. He was referred to as "Manyam Veerudu" ("Hero of the Jungles") by the local people. Raju led a protest movement in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam regions of Madras Presidency, in present-day Andhra Pradesh.
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. With his followers, he stole guns and ammunition and killed several British army officers, including Scott Coward near Dammanapalli. Raju was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli, then tied to a tree and was executed by gunfire in Koyyuru village. His tomb is in Krishna Devi Peta village.
Details of Alluri Sitarama Raju's early life vary. Several sources report his birthdate as 4 July 1897 in Bheemunipatnam, Visakhapatnam District, with more recent news stories naming the village of Pandrangi, which lies in the Bheemunipatnam legislative assembly constituency, as his precise place of birth. Some other sources claim his birthdate as 4 July 1898.
At the age of 12, Raju lost his father. Then his paternal uncle took him to Narsapur and later he moved to Kovvada. He didn't show much interest towards studies but was interested in Vedanta and Yoga. While in Tuni, in 1918, he used to tour the hills where he came into contact with tribals and witnessed their pitiable condition first hand. Finally he quit studies and started his campaign in East Godavari and Vizag. 
Rampa Rebellion of 1922
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. Raju led a protest movement in the border areas of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. 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. Raju and his followers stole guns and ammunition and killed several British army officers, including Scott Coward near Dammanapalli.
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.
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. The British campaign lasted for nearly a year from December 1922.
Raju was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli. He was tied to a tree and shot dead in Koyyuru village. Police officer Gnaneswara Rao, who had been responsible for the entrapment of Raju, was given the title of Rao Bahadur by the British.
In popular culture
- In 1986 the Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp featuring Raju in the series 'India's struggle for freedom'.
- The Telugu-language movie Alluri Seetharama Raju, featuring actor Krishna, depicted Raju's life
- Andhra Pradesh is to celebrate his birthday, 4 July, annually as a state festival.
- Alluri Sitarama Raju Cricket Stadium in Eluru is named after him.
- On 9 October 2017, at the request of Members of Parliament, Thota Narasimham and V. Vijayasai Reddy, the Government of India decided to install a statue of Raju at the precincts of the Parliament of India in recognition of his work as a freedom fighter, and for the welfare of the tribal people.
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