This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (August 2012)
Shri Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya
|Born||2 June 1889|
|Other names||Andhra Ratna|
|Education||M.A., The University of Edinburgh|
|Alma mater||The University of Edinburgh|
|Organization||Rama Dandu, Indian National Congress,|
|Movement||Indian independence movement , Library Movement in India, Social Reformer, Philosopher|
Andhra Ratna (Telugu: ఆంధ్ర రత్న, translates to "Jewel of Andhra" or "Gem of Andhra." Shri Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya (Telugu: దుగ్గిరాల గోపాలకృష్ణయ్య) was a great freedom fighter of India, born on 2 June 1889 in a village called Penuganchiprolu in Krishna District of present-day Andhra Pradesh. Shri Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya, was a very captivating poet, speaker, songwriter, philosopher, singer and an extraordinary revolutionary with a philosophy of non-violence. Shri Nadimpalli Narasimha Rao worked in tandem with Shri Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya. For his exemplary work and sacrifices for freedom movement in Andhra, he was fondly conferred the name 'Andhra Ratna' (Jewel of state Andhra Pradesh state)
Shri Duggirala Goapalakrishna was British educated with the financial help of his friend nadimpalli narasimha rao who also studied Law at the University of Edinburgh. When he returned to India, he served for some time in the Government College at Rajahmundry and the National College at Machilipatnam, AP. He was, however, not satisfied with the kind of education that was imparted there. Moreover, after attending the Calcutta Congress session in 1920, he was attracted to principles of 'Non-co-operation' and 'Satyagraha', and resolved to dedicate his life to the achievement of Swaraj(Native rule).
For this purpose, he trained a band of a thousand volunteers who were self-disciplined and brave warriors. He gave them the name `Ramadandu' (Army of Lord Rama). He put them to work to test their patience at the All-India Congress Session in Vijayawada to maintain peace and order. All-India leaders were immensely pleased with the kind of work they did. National leaders like Nehru and Gandhi have been well convinced that such a disciplined force of volunteers was need at the time, and praised Shri Duggiralas' mobilising skills and inspirational living.
Chirala - Perala Movement
Chirala and Perala were two contiguous villages in Prakasam (then part of Guntur) district with a population of 15,000. The British Government wanted to combine them into a municipality in 1920, to obtain more taxes from people who are already suffering due to misrule of British on one hand, and their repressive measures on the other. In January, 1921, the residents refused to pay the municipal taxes. Several of them including a woman ,Duvvuri Subbama were prosecuted, tried and sentenced to imprisonment.she was considered to be the first woman in the country to be imprisoned on political grounds and she was bestowed with a tittle called Desabandhavi .
After the All-India Congress session at Vijayawada, Gandhiji came to Chirala. Gopalakrishnayya sought his advice on the future course of action to be taken. Gandhiji suggested two alternatives, (1) to continue the No-Tax Campaign in a non-violent manner and (2) mass exodus of people to the vacant areas beyond the municipal limits. The second would automatically end the municipality. But he made it clear that whatever course they chose the Congress would bear no responsibility and that they must stand on their own legs. Gopalakrishnayya had enough confidence in himself and the people, and in spite of the warning, he persuaded the residents to move to the area outside the municipal limits and raise temporary tenements which he called `Ramanagar'.
It was an unprecedented step in the history of the country. For eleven months people lived there in thatched huts braving the severity of weather. Gopalakrishnayya and his Ramadandu kept up the morale of the people. Their aim was to establish a parallel government and demonstrate to the outside world what Swarajya, as conceived by him, would be like. He constituted an Assembly comprising members elected from each caste and established an arbitration court. Sankirtans and Bhajans kept up the morale of the people. He, however, faced financial difficulties and he went to Berhampore in 1921, when the Andhra Conference was in session to collect some money. There he was prohibited to address the public meetings but he defied the orders. He was arrested and sentenced to one year's imprisonment and sent to Trichinapally. There was no other person who could occupy his place. The Government also took repressive measures against those who built sheds on government lands. People returned to their homes in the municipality at the end of eleven months and reconciled themselves to its constitution. Though the movement succeeded partially, the qualities of courage and fearlessness they developed stood them in good stead in the subsequent stages of the freedom movement. Later, the British realised the anti-government sentiment in the people and reconciled to keep both Chirala and Perala separately, as earlier.
- Title The Journey of my life: an autobiography, Volume 1.The Journey of My Life: An Autobiography. Authors Shri T. Prakāsam, Prakasam Institute of Development Studies.Publisher: Prakasam Institute of Development Studies, 1992. Original from :the University of Michigan.Digitized 3 Sep 2008,ISBN 81-85194-07-6, ISBN 978-81-85194-07-3