Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya - Role in no-tax campaign in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh produced many great freedom fighters who fought bravely and sacrificed their life for the country. All of them have made Andhra proud. This article is about one such freedom fighter-Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya.

About Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya of Andhra Pradesh

Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya undoubtedly was the leader who stood above others for his no-tax campaign at Chirala-Perala. Suave and educated, Duggirala hailed from Krishna district. In England, where he went to work for his master's degree at the University of Edinburgh, he became a friend of Ananda Kumaraswamy. This "upcoming man of your country" as Kumaraswarny described Duggirala to Gandhi, became a professor of history at Rajahmundry. He moved to Chirala and set up the Andhra Vidyapeetha Goshthi in 1918.

Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya's no-tax campaign in Chirala and Perala villages of Andhra Pradesh

dgkThe twin villages of Chirala and Perala had a population of 15,000 which paid a tax of Rs 4,000. In 1919, the Madras government constituted the twin villages into a municipality and raised the tax to Rs. 40,000. Most of the people, who were small ryots and weavers, sent petitions to revoke the municipality, which paid no heed to their pleas. The local population under Duggirala started a no-tax campaign which resulted in mass arrests, including that of an old-woman by the Madras government. Duggirala, who met Gandhi at Vijayawada, was given two alternatives, either to continue the struggle by staying put in the village and face governmental repression, or move out of the village en mass which would automatically mean the disappearance of the municipal legislation.

Duggirala took the latter option. He organised Ramadandu, a volunteer corps with "strict discipline and red uniform," and moved the people to another town. In the height of summer, the mass exodus began. 15,000 people, men and women, carrying their belongings, marched in scorching heat to build a new town called Ramnagar. At that point in Indian history, Duggirala was truly like Moses leading his flock out to Mount Sinai.

Chirala-Perala incident in the Non-cooperation movement in Andhra

Doubts disappeared in his presence/ fears vanished before him and life became a new joy to the new subjects of Duggirala. Chirala-Perala was not an isolated incident in the Non-cooperation movement in Andhra Pradesh. There were the forest Satyagraha at Palnad in Guntur district and several places in Rayalaseema.

In Palnad in 1921, when people under the leadership of Kannuganti Hanumanthu repeatedly violated the forest laws, it resulted in violent clashes. One daring incident, where people led by Hanumanthu tried to rescue impounded cattle, resulted in police firing and hiscitath.


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