My travels is all about... My views on random places of interest, persons, things, events & issues etc,.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Something Called 'COURAGE'

(Tribute - Prose)

{c.1924 CE, Manyam Agency areas (Now Part of Northern Coastal Andhra Pradesh), Madras Presidency, British India.}

His battle-cry was heard. It echoed village after village, raising a glimmer of hope among the native tribes. From across the teak trees of Srikakulam to the coast of the Godavari River there was a sudden surge of optimism and zeal. Legends told in his name & folks of men, women and children rallied to his call, cherished his words. To them, he was a hero, always called as ‘Raju’ (Literally – a King).

But to the empire on which the Sun never sets, he was just a popular fugitive and a minor headache. They always had a way with the people. The brilliance of imperialism lays in the fact that tyranny could be concealed by legislature and their commercial interests clothed in the name of welfare. They needed the forests of Manyam in Andhra. The animals and birds for hunting sport, the large trees for timber, and the land for commercial farming – long live the empire at the cost of its colony! A few tribal communities stood in their way; they could neither be reasoned with nor browbeaten into submission.

So, the empire responds – The passing of the Madras Forests Act, 1882 – a brilliant law which had simply illegalized the very existence of Forest based-tribal communities of the entire Madras Presidency region. Their traditional cultivation (Shifting Cultivation – Podu System) was now an illegal activity, and people of all tribes were completely prohibited from free moment among forests. Conquer, Crush and let them crumble seemed the motto. But then, this popular fugitive comes along and he educates those who need not be educated.

And for two years, the forest-lands of Manyam burned. With Guerrilla-warfare techniques and inspired by Bengal revolutionaries, People revolted, ably led by Raju. The newly laid lines of communication were cut, Police stations were raided, munitions depots were looted and the panic that had begun inside these forests had traveled through the Saint George fort of Madras and reached the Durbars of Delhi.   
The empire did respond again – On the one hand, a new humanitarian collector assigned, who wooed the people with the talk of co-operation (Rutherford). On the other hand, a company of troops (Assam Rifles) deployed; a ruthless Major was given the task of settling Raju’s question forever. (Major Goodall).

The rebels lost.  There was no doubt in that, it was going to happen. How can bows and Arrows fight Muskets and Cannons? How can the scantily clad tribes withstand the assault of perhaps the world’s most ruthless army of that time? All his sub-commanders were swiftly executed on sight, or arrested for life (Gam Mallu Dora, Gantam Dora, Aggiraju). Their beloved leader Raju, Caught, tied to a tree and shot.

The empire, as always won. But the lessons were learnt. They could never risk another rebellion. To their credit, they did focus on a more humanitarian and development oriented approach. Alluri  Sita Ramaraju became a martyr, sacrificing a better life, for the sake of his fellow countrymen. He knew he had no chance against the empire and yet never betrayed his follower’s confidence. He had something. A surge of fervor crept in among the people, and they now had that same thing, a thought – something called ‘COURAGE’.  

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Home Sweet Home, # 16-7-16, Sree Bhramara, Saladi Jamindar Street, Palakollu, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh - 534 260
On -4th of July, 2016

2. Subject - Alluri Sita RamaRaju - "Something called 'COURAGE' (Tribute - Prose)"
( Alluri Sita RamaRaju [c. 1897 - 1924 CE]  was a Revolutionary, Freedom Fighter and a Tribal Leader. He organized the 'Rampa Rebellion' against the then British Government's Oppression of native forest based tribals.His name and fame are well celebrated across Andhra Pradesh, especially in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari. Today i.e, 4th of July, 2016 is his 119th birth anniversary. 

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