An unrecognized freedom fighter from Srikalahasti


His assigned task was to spark the quest for independence among the illiterate masses, but he went beyond that to burn foreign clothes to promote the Swadeshi movement and even ambush a train carrying British soldiers. to light the embers of the struggle for freedom. But today, Talisetti Venkatachalapathi remains an “unsung hero”.

Born into a single family in the Bahadurpet locality of Srikalahasti town, he became a revolutionary leader and became known as a close disciple of Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu. When Mahatma Gandhi visited the towns of Srikalahasti, Madanapalli and Punganur in May 1929 to mobilize support for the boycott of foreign clothing, Venkatachalapathi organized mass clothing fires on the banks of the Swarnamukhi River in Srikalahasti.

During the Quit India movement, he actively followed his fellow freedom fighter P. Subbarama Dasu in 1933-1944 and ransacked a train carrying British soldiers at Akkurthi station. His valiant act earned him three years in prison, which subsequently removed him from the active freedom movement.

For the sensational train incident, Venkatachalapathi was presented as an “angry young man”, but he was actually a more sensitive, sensitive person who cared about an egalitarian society. “He created the Harijana Seva society and fought for the entry of Dalits into temples. After independence, he created a leather unit in 1948 to reach out to the Harijans, ”said Mr. Deenadayal, academic consultant in history at Sri Venkateswara University.

Mr. Deendayal’s research article “Freedom Movement in Chittoor District and the Role of Sri Talisetti Venkatachalapathi of Srikalahasti” was published in the National Seminar entitled “Perspectives of Social Movements in Rayalaseema Region of Andhra Pradesh ”organized in 2018, under the aegis of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi.

After independence, Venkatachalapathi moved to Madras to work as a teacher and later as a personal assistant to the then mayor, O. Venkataswami Setti. Returning home to Srikalahasti, he opened a home for Dalit students and continued to lead an insignificant life until his death in 2002. His son, Talisetti Ramamurthy, now in his eighties, suffers from illnesses and financial hardship, but his representations of support for successive governments have fallen on deaf ears.

Apart from the name ‘Talisetti Veedhi’ given to a street, there is no other trace of the existence of such a ‘precious stone’ from this small town of Srikalahasti.


Thelma J. Longworth