Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju – Freedom Fighter, Martyr (b 1897 Kakinada)
Compiled by – Sri Ramakrishna Prasad – Chennai
Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju is remembered as a great son of India in the annals of Indian History of the early period of the freedom struggle. Born on 4-7-1897, in a renowned kashtriya clan, he fought against the mighty British war-machine, leading tribesmen of Andhra Pradesh with old traditional war weaponry and sacrificed his life true to his clan in the battle field.
While he was studying at Kakinada he got his political contact with Sri Madduri Annapurnayya, a great freedom-fighter, and Rallapalli Atchuta Ramayya, a great scholar. At the age of 15, Raju was shifted to Vishakhapatnam for his studies. Though he had little inclination for school studies, he was very keen and began to accuire knowledge of political situation in India. Sri Alluri Sitarama Raju went deep into Gond land where nearly a thousand tribals had sacrificed their lives during the first war of independence in 1857. In the tribal areas, the poor and illiterate tribal people were exploited and oppressed blatantly by the Britishers. Since the tribals were not united against the Britishers they took advantage of it and deprived the tribals of their rights. Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju inspired and united the different tribes of the area, trained them in skills of guerrilla warfare and proved to be a terror for the Britishers.
He attended the A.I.C.C. session at Gaya in 1916 and at Kakinada in 1923 and got blessings of the top-ranking leaders of India. Raju inspired and organised the tribals to wage war against the British. Soon Raju’s plan of action took shape with vigour and quickness, on 22/8/1922. Raju’s Army raided Chintapalli Police Station, on 23rd Krishnadevipeta Police Station, and on 24th Rajavommangi and captured a good number of guns, bayonets and cartridges and swords. He set free the revolutionary, Veerayya Dora from jail. The British were shocked by his lightening attacks. His name echoed in the House of Commons and even Mahatma Gandhi enquired about him in the National Congress Session at Kakinada.
The British Army got alerted and platoons of Police and Army were sent to capture Setarama Raju. At Peddavalasa, Raju attacked the British Army. They were defeated during this battle and suffered very heavy casualties and retreated. From that day onwards there was a regular warfare between Raju and the Britishers. Raju came out triumphant in all. Virtually for two years from 1922 to 1924 Seetarama Raju ruled over vast area and became a terror to the British rulers. Later British rulers deployed big contigents of Assam Rifles and others. Fighting a fierce battle, Raju laid down his life and attained martyrdom.
Some still believe that the body seized by the English forces was not of Sitaramaraju and he hoodwinked the British and escaped to Burma. The former Chairman of Rajahmundry Municipality and freedom fighter Krovidi Lingaraju also carried the same opinion about Sitaramaraju’s escape, as the British did not announce his death immediately.
The Department of Posts issued a 50 Paise multicolored stamp in memory of freedom fighter Sri Alluri Sitarama Raju.