Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 30-feet bronze statue of Alluri Sitarama Raju at Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Monday, the 125th birth anniversary of the freedom fighter, and as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence.
After unveiling the statue, PM Modi started his speech in Telugu, paying tributes to the revolutionary leader, and hailed him as an inspiration for the whole country. “He is an inspiration to the whole country. The 125th birth anniversary of Alluri Sitarama Raju, along with 100 years of ‘Rampa Kranti’ will be celebrated throughout the year marking 75 years of Independence. Alluri Sitharama Raju is a symbol of bravery and courage of tribals, whose glorious life is an inspiration to all,” Modi said.
Believed to have been born in present-day Andhra Pradesh in 1897 or 1898, Alluri Sitarama Raju is known for leading guerrilla resistance against the British in the region at a very early age. According to Dr Murali Atlury, a professor of history at the University of Hyderabad, at the age of 18, Raju became a sanyasi and began visiting the hill and tribal areas of the region. Raju was not a tribal himself, but as per Dr Atlury, his “great ability” lay in bringing people from various backgrounds together for the anti-colonial cause. He was eventually captured by the British and executed in 1924.
“The government is making all efforts to provide rights to tribals. Tribal regions are being developed as part of the development of backward districts. Quality education is being provided for the tribals and 750 Ekalavya schools, that are teaching in the mother tongue, have been established,” he added. Modi also announced that an Alluri memorial museum will be established in Lambasingi and an Alluri Dhyana Mandir will be developed at Mogallu, besides a tribal research institute at Visakhapatnam.
“The youth will carry forward the spirit of Alluri Sitarama Raju to shape a New India. More youths should participate in national development,” the Prime Minister said, recalling that many freedom fighters like Pingali Venkaiah, Kanneganti Hanumantu and great leaders like Potti Sriramulu Kandukuri Veeresalingam have come from Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said freedom fighters aspired to build a society where there is no exploitation between persons or countries and stated that lakhs of fighters have laid their lives for the freedom of the country. “Alluri Sitarama Raju is one among such fighters, who was born in Andhra Pradesh and fought against foreign rule,” he said.
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The chief minister added that a district in Andhra Pradesh was named after Alluri Sitarama Raju during the reorganisation and a bronze statue is being unveiled in that district as well to mark his 125th birth anniversary. “The nation will never forget a great man like him, who sacrificed his life at a young age. Future generations shall cherish his fighting spirit,” he said.
Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy later felicitated PM Modi and presented him with a bow and arrow. The two leaders also felicitated Alluri Srirama Raju, the nephew of Alluri Sitarama Raju, and Bodi Dora, son of the revolutionary leader’s close lieutenant Mallu Dora.