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A thorn in the Crown

A terror to the alien rulers, Alluri Seetharamaraju was one of Andhra's early revolutionaries. He successfully led the tribals revolting against the Crown. Mobilising them, he launched an armed rebellion against the British.

He was deeply moved by the plight of the tribals at the hands of the British rulers, who used to infringe on their rights. The Madras Forest Act 1882 was formulated to deprive the tribals of their rights. The Act placed restrictions on the free movement of tribals in the forest areas, prevented "podu" (shifting) cultivation, felling and tapping of trees for firewood and toddy.

The British officers despite their superior weapons were no match to Alluri and his men, who were adept in guerilla tactics and knew the hilly terrain like the back of their palm. They used to attack the police stations and seize the arms and ammunition. Alluri carried a reward of Rs 10,000 on his head.

Born in Mogallu village of West Godavari district on May 15 1898, Alluri had his early education at Rajahmundry and Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari district. His father died when Alluri was in his elementary school and he grew up in the care of his uncle Ramachandra Raju, a tahsildar in Narsapur. He shifted to Tuni along with his mother, brother and sister, on the transfer of his uncle. He joined Mrs A.V.N. College in Visakhapatnam on September 20, 1912. He dropped out of the college after having failed in fourth form (Std. IX).

While in Tuni, Alluri used to frequent the agency areas of Visakhapatnam district. Between August and October 1922, he and his men attacked the Chintapalli, Rampachodavaram, Rajahmundry and Addateegala and Annavaram police stations and blasted the Chintapalli police station.

He was trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli. It is said that he did not offer any resistance to the police as he felt that the British officers were harassing the innocent tribals as a bait to catch him. He was tied to a tree and shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village. After the exit of Alluri, the tribal revolt lost its sheen.

The statue of this "Pride of Telugus" stands majestically at The Park junction.

B.M.G.

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