PM Modi unveils 30ft statue of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju in Andhra Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday unveiled a 30ft bronze statue of Alluri Sitarama Raju at Bhimavaram in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, on the freedom fighter’s 125th birth anniversary, and as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence.

After unveiling the statue, Prime Minister Modi began his speech in Telugu, paying tribute to the revolutionary leader and hailing him as an inspiration to the whole country. “He is an inspiration to the whole country. The 125th anniversary of the birth of Alluri Sitarama Raju, as well as the 100 years of “Rampa Kranti” will be celebrated throughout the year marking the 75 years of independence. Alluri Sitharama Raju is a symbol of tribal bravery and courage, 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 to have led guerrilla warfare against the British in the region at a very young age. According to Dr. Murali Atlury, a history professor at Hyderabad University, at the age of 18, Raju became a sanyasi and started visiting the hills and tribal areas in the region. Raju was not a tribal himself, but according to Dr Atlury, his “great ability” was to bring together people from diverse backgrounds for the anti-colonial cause. He was eventually captured by the British and executed in 1924.

Explained: Who was Alluri Sitharama Raju, whose PM Modi statue unveiled?

“The government is doing everything possible to give rights to the tribals. Tribal areas are developing as part of the development of backward districts. Quality education is provided to the tribals and 750 Ekalavya schools, which teach 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 in Mogallu, in addition to a tribal research institute in Visakhapatnam.

“Young people will carry on the spirit of Alluri Sitarama Raju to shape a New India. More young people 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 came from Andhra Pradesh.

Addressing the rally, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said freedom fighters aspire to build a society where there is no exploitation between people or countries and said thousands of fighters sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country. “Alluri Sitarama Raju is one such fighter, 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 has been named after Alluri Sitarama Raju during the reorganization and a bronze statue is also being unveiled in this district to mark his 125th birthday. “The nation will never forget a great man like him, who sacrificed his life at a young age. Future generations will cherish his fighting spirit,” he said.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy then congratulated Prime Minister Modi and presented him with a bow and arrow. The two leaders also congratulated Alluri Srirama Raju, nephew of Alluri Sitarama Raju, and Bodi Dora, son of the revolutionary leader’s close lieutenant, Mallu Dora.

Thelma J. Longworth