Ranganayakamma was born in Bommidi village near Tadepalligudem in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. She passed SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) examination in 1955. She could not continue her studies because her parents could not financially afford to send her to a far-off college.
Her marriage was a traditionally arranged one. Due to contradictions, she left the first marriage after 12 years (1958-1970) and came to be known as "Ranganayakamma" ("Muppala" was the surname of her first husband). After she left the first marriage, she and Bapuji (alias Gandhi) started living together without a formal/civil marriage ceremony, along with the children from the first marriage. Bapuji is 10 years younger than her and was not married before. He is a reader and admirer of hers.
She has been writing since 1955. To date, she has written about 15 novels, 70 short stories, and many essays. She published about 60 volumes in all. The main theme in her works is gender equality and the depiction of women's family life in India.
She came into contact with Marxism in 1973 and began to write from that perspective since then. She is best known for her work Ramayana Vishavruksham (meaning "Ramayana: The Poisonous Tree"), published in 1974, criticizing the Hindu epic Ramayana from Marxist point of view. This book was a three volume series and is now (since March 2005) available as a single volume with 746 pages in Royal size. This book is now (since August 2004) available in English. According to an article featured on her own website, she "receives letters from readers saying that they have converted into rationalists and Marxists after reading [Ramayana Vishavruksham]."
Another important writing of hers is the Marx Capital parichayam, an introduction to Marx's Das Kapital in 3 volumes. The first volume was published in 1978 and there were no Telugu translations of Das Kapital available at that time. She wrote a three-volume novel Janaki Vimukti (meaning "Emanicipation of Janaki"), arguing that Marxism is the correct path to gender equality.
The most outstanding feature of Ranganayakamma's writings is that she writes in the most lucid manner, and even her opponents acknowledge this fact.[tone] Her readers and friends are maintaining a website (www.ranganayakamma.org) hosting details of her works.
She won the Andhra Pradesh Government Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel Balipeetam in 1965. However, since she came into contact with Marxism, she started opposing awards, whether governmental or non-governmental.
- Janaki Vimukti (జానకి విముక్తి)
- Rachayitri (రచయత్రి)
- Balipeetham (బలిపీఠం)
- Krishnaveni (క్రిష్ణవేణి)
- Pekamedalu (పేకమేడలు)
- Koolina Godalu (కూలిన గోడలు)
- Stree (స్త్రీ)
- Chaduvukunna Kamala (చదువుకున్న కమల)
- Kala Enduku (కళ ఎందుకు)
- Sweet Home (స్వీట్ హోం)
- Andhkaramlo (అంధకారంలో)
- Ramayana vishavruksham (రామాయణ విషవృక్షం)
- Idndi Mahabharatam