Acharya NG Ranga of Andhra Pradesh - Introduction
If we carefully examine Andhra politics between 1930-1947, we see that it was dominated by three mutually antagonistic personalities: Prakasam, Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Acharya NG Ranga. The struggle for leadership in Andhra however, did not undermine their Single-minded devotion to the national cause.
In the changing nature of political leadership in colonial Andhra and the concomitant growth of nationalist struggle one can distinguish between those who worked within the paradigm of Gandhian politics and those who focused on the immediate problems of the masses. Gandhi had the rare capacity to understand both these aspects.
Acharya NG Ranga's Politics in Andhra Pradesh
In Andhra, though not a Gandhian in the conventional sense, N G Ranga, a lesser known figure among the stalwarts of Andhra movement, brought into focus the existing contradictions between the peasant and the zamindar. Ranga's political leanings sometimes were confusing, moving to and from Congress as he often did. But what was unquestionable was his empathy for peasant cause. He, in fact, forms a major continuum between Andhra's colonial past and its future after 1947.
Acharya NG Ranga's efforts in abolition of the zamindari system in Andhra Pradesh
Ranga, a B. Litt from Oxford, and a professor of economics and political science at Pachiappa College, gave the alternative framework for the peasant struggles. He denied the Gandhian logic of the co-existence of the peasant and the zamindar. During the Civil Disobedience movement, Rana organized a No-tax campaign in Krishna and Guntur districts. During this campaign he understood , the problems of the Andhra peasantry and from then onwards worked for the abolition of the zamindari system.
He set up a Peasant institute at Nidubrolu in 1934 where political classes were conducted for peasant leaders. His classes became popular in Andhra, while his writings such as Credo of World Peasantry, Revolutionary Peasant, Working of Handlooms, reflect the aspirations of the Andhra peasantry and artisan communities.
In fact, the works of Ranga provided an alternative way of looking at the peasant which was radically opposed to the Marxist economics or the Gandhian. With the abolition of zamindaris in 1949, Ranga's efforts at the emancipation of the peasantry had become a reality. In the power struggle in the Congress between him and Pattabhi-Prakasam he left the Congress and joined the Swatantra party of Rajaji and for a brief period he founded Krishika Party. He, however, rejoined Congress in 1971, and till his death he was the only octogenarian parliamentarian the country had produced.