Alluri Sitaram Raju & Rampa Rebellion


    In News 

    • Recently, the Vice President of India visited the birthplace of noted freedom fighter and revolutionary, Shri Alluri Sitarama Raju in Pandrangi village near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

    About Alluri Sitaram Raju 

    • He was an Indian revolutionary involved in the Indian independence movement.
    • Birth and Early life: Born on July 4, 1897, into a humble middle-class family in a small village near the Coastal city of Visakhapatnam
      • He  was strongly influenced by patriotic discourse quite early in his life. 

    Contribution to freedom struggle and welfare of Adivasis

    • Initially, Sitarama Raju, under the influence of Gandhi’s Non-cooperation movement, inspired the tribals to seek justice in the local panchayat courts and boycott the colonial courts
      • However, these steps did not alleviate their suffering.
    • He made Adivasi areas in the Eastern Ghats (the forest area along the Visakhapatnam and Godavari district) his home and decided to work for the Adivasis, who were living in abject poverty and being fleeced by police, forest and revenue officials, in ‘Manyam’ (forest area). 
    • He started working amongst them and helped them by educating them and providing medical help, using the vast knowledge he gained from his extensive travels. He decided to make this area the hub for his fight against the British.
    • He learnt from the Adivasis, the time-tested methods of war and added his own tactics to put up a formidable fight against the British. 
    • In August 1922, he launched the Rampa Rebellion against the British. 
      • He had plenty of local support and hence successfully evaded the British for a long time.
      • Though his battle with the British lasted only for two years, he made an indelible mark in the history of the Indian Freedom Struggle and found a permanent place in the hearts of the countrymen.
    • Response of Britishers
      •  His two-year armed struggle (1922-24) against the British frustrated the authorities to such an extent that a reward of Rs.10,000/- was announced for anyone who could capture him dead or alive. 
      • Meanwhile, the British continued inflicting misery on the tribals. In a bid to alleviate their suffering, and being the just man, Sitarama Raju surrendered, with the expectation that he would be given a fair trial in return.
        • However, on 07 May 1924, he was treacherously trapped, tied to a tree, and shot dead.
          •  He was cremated on 08 May, thus marking the end of his glorious fight against the British Government. 
    • Legacy 
      • He has left behind an inspiring legacy of anti-imperialist rebellion.
      • He was honoured for his valour and fiery spirit with the title, “Manyam Veerudu” (Hero of the Jungle). Every year, the Government of Andhra Pradesh commemorates his birth date, the 4th of July, as a state festival. 

    Rampa Rebellion 

    • The Rampa Rebellion of 1922, also known as the Manyam Rebellion.
      • It was a tribal uprising, led by Alluri Sitarama Raju in Godavari Agency of Madras Presidency, British India. 
    • The Rampa administrative area was home to about 28,000 tribes. 
      • These tribes followed the ‘Podu’ system of cultivation, whereby every year some amounts of forest tracts were cleared for cultivation, as it was their only source for food. 
        • While for the tribes, the forests were essential for their survival, the Britishers wanted to evict them so that they could plunder these areas for wood, which would eventually help in building their railways and ships. 
      • To get the forests cleared, ‘The Madras Forest Act, 1882’ was passed, thereby restricting the free movement of the tribal communities and prohibiting them from engaging in their traditional Podu agricultural system. 
        • This oppressive order was the beginning of the Manyam Rebellion.
    • It began in August 1922 and lasted until the capture and killing of Raju in May 1924.