'Andhra Tilak' Gadicherla Harisarvothama Rao

Andhra Pradesh produced many great freedom fighters who fought bravely and sacrificed their life for the country. All of them have made Andhra proud. Harisarvothama rao is one of them. This article is about freedom fighter-Harisarvothama Rao and his fight for the freedom.

Harisarvothama Rao's Vande Mataram movement

In Andhra, the phase, dominated by students of Rajahmundry, was popularly known as the Vande Mataram movement. Harisarvotharna Rao or Gadicherla Andhra Tilak as he was called was the leader of the Vande Mataram movement. He was a young MCC graduate and was a teacher trainee at Rajahmundry. He was influenced by the new wave of extremism, and preached, even as a student, the message of Swadeshi.

Gadicherla was not an isolated instance of this new fervor in Andhra. Prominent leaders like Nyapati Subba Rao and K Venkataramana Rao propagated the ideal of Swadeshi and started Swadeshi schools, including the National School at Masulipatnam.

Bipin Chandra Pal's tour in 1907 acted as a shot in the arm to the restive people of Andhra. People came in large numbers on to the roads chanting 'Vande Mataram' despite the prohibitory orders. Fiery in his speeches, Gadicherla championed the need for Swadeshi at Rajamundry for which he was dismissed from college.

Harisarvothama Rao's Fight for Swarajya

The British principal, Mark Hunter, wanted to chastise the nationalist students, and on April 24, suspended Gadicherla and 222 students, and prohibited 136 others from writing exams for the next two years. Gadicherla in particular was barred from entering any government service. That impelled the young Gadicherla to plunge into public service, and he became involved with the Library movement. He advocated Home Rule through his publications. In one of his editorials in Swarajya, he wrote against the police firing of people at Tirunelveli under the heading, "Veepareeta Buddhi" for which he was arrested and a case of sedition filed against him. This was the first time that the Sedition Act was invoked in Andhra.

Gadicherla Harisarvothama Rao's Vande Mataram movement broadened the social base of the freedom struggle with students joining politics for whom Swaraj became a goal. Though he was active from 1916 in the Home Rule movement of Tilak and Annie Beasant, Gadicherla devoted the latter part of his life to Library movement apart from being the editor of Swarajya(1907), Andhra Patrika (1914-17), Nationalist(1919) and Andhra Vartha (1936). With the decline of extremist phase, freedom movement in Andhra became limited to the Home Rule movement of Annie Besant and the rise of Justice Party. The freedom struggle in Andhra underwent a significant shift in its nature and scope with the advent of Gandhian politics 1920.

Non-cooperation movement in Andhra

In Andhra, the first phase of Gandhi's Non-cooperation movement witnessed the rise of remarkable Andhras who achieved eminence for Satyagraha. Khilafat wrongs and the Rowlatt Act formed the immediate backdrop for the movement which was received with considerable enthusiasm by Andhra leaders.

Prominent among them were Konda Venkatappiah, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya, Ayyadevara Kaleshwara Rao and Peta Bapayya. The agenda for Non-cooperation included apart from various things the boycott of elections, renunciation of titles, resignation of government jobs and a complete boycott of government machinery. After the crucial AICC session at Vijayawada in 1921, Gandhi toured coastal Andhra giving a boost to the, Non-cooperation movement.


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