Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao of 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-Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao of Andhra Pradesh.He was an Arya Samajist and played a crucial role in the state's fight against the Nizam of Hyderabad.

How Ramachandra Rao got the title of 'Vandemataram'

What was the significance of Vandemataram to his name?

Bankim Chandra's Vandemataram had already become a national mantra. Not just the British, but the Nizam himself used to be worried when he heard young people greeting each other with Vandemataram. In 1937 he banned the song in the state. Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao was arrested when he was only 15- years old for singing Vandemataram.

He was thrown into the Chanchalguda jail , moved from cell to cell and threatened by the director of police, a Hollins that if I didn't stop singing the Vandemataram, he would face severe punishment. Revolver in one hand, he slapped him. There was a certain procedure to this flogging. Before the prisoner is flogged he is stripped naked, made to ascend a tripod, his hands and legs tied and bound in the waist with leather.

Dawood a hardened criminal was given the task of torturing Vandemataram Rao. Even as he went on beating him, he continued to pray and sing Vandemataram till he finished 24 strokes. Two others who were flogged, Ramlal and Motilal died after they were released. His name in reality is Vavilala Ramachandra Rao .

But in a big conference in Pandarpur, the great Veer Savarkar himself started his speech by saying here is a fellow from Hyderabad . He was incarcerated and flogged and at every stroke he raised the slogan Vandemataram. From today he'll be known as 'Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao' . It's not a title or anything but from that day onward he got the prefix.

Role of Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao in the fight against the Nizam of Hyderabad

By 1940s, the Hindus in the state had lost all hope of civilized rule in the state. Arya Samajists were the first to call for a division of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad . Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao had addressed a large gathering of people at Ram Mandir in Gowliguda in 1940. In that anti-Nizam speech he said unless all that the Nizam of Hyderabad stood for was annihilated there would be no peace in the state. Lorry loads of police encircled the meeting place and resorted to lathi charge. He was taken to jail once again.

India became independent in 1947 but with the joy was the sorrow at the partition of India. The Nizam claimed for all purposes his domain had acquired the status of paramount power

Nehru had feared that if the Indian government resorted to some kind of action against the Nizam he and his followers would resort to mass killings. But Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao wrote to Nehru saying that the Hindus were prepared for any eventuality. On the contrary, he felt that the lives of Muslims might be endangered as the spirit of retaliation may gain the upper hand among the Hindus if Indian troops marched into the state.
Though they were Arya Samjists for all purposes, they carried on espionage activities about the Nizam's army, Razakars and even the secret movements of the Nizam. Much before the Operation Polo in Hyderabad , the army action on September 13, 1948, it was planned by Sardar Patel to finish the entire operation in a few days. The Arya Samjists in no small measure played a crucial role in this action by collecting information and passing it on to K M Munshi, the Indian Agent General in Hyderabad.

Through contacts with the people in the army Vandemataram Rao had come to know that the Japanese type of 303 rifles were being manufactured for the Nizam's army near Golconda. They passed on this information to K M Munshi. Through others they got to know that some guns, 25-pounders, were set up in Andur, the entry point into the Nizam's dominion. These guns which had a range of 10 miles could hit the Indian army from a distance and cause heavy damage. This information was conveyed to K M Munshi. The Indian army, thus so forewarned, managed to outwit the Nizam's army and save themselves.


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