04 October Wednesday

Swarajyam - Inspired By Novel 'Mother' and Prodded By Her Own

Web Desk(Kannur)Updated: Thursday Apr 7, 2022

Swarajyam was born in a semi-feudal family in 1931 at Thungathurthy. Lost her father in an early age and grew up under mother who named her  Swarajyam after hearing of Gandhi's Satyagraha. She discontinued study in fifth standard and happened to read Maxim Gorkys Mother'. This left a lifelong impression on her. Mother Chokkamma  paved  way to social thinking. Thus began a stint in public life at the age of 11.

In response to a call by Andhra Mahasabha to end bonded labour, she defied family norms  and distributed rice to  dalits. Even her uncles were against that. Swarajyam  was firm that they deserved their share. That awakened the entire area where bonded labourers started demanding pay. Under the influence of elder brother B N Reddy, Swarajyam was drawn to the National Movement. At  the age of 16, picked up gun to fight landlords. She emerged commander of a dalam. She  was known for fiery speeches. Swarajyam who became  Communist Party member was fully dedicated to the Telangana struggle. In large areas, the movement succeeded in driving landlords, distributing land to landless and for a period of one and half year  establishing gram raj in those areas.

Swarajyam was the organiser of the militant movement in 1946 in Suryapet. An inspiring  photo of her guerrilla days by Sunil Janah became the talk of those days. Standing with comrades-  in- arms, balances rifle on left shoulder. It is no wonder that faced with such as her, the Nizam and razakars had to bow down. Before Party called off the struggle in 1951, Swarajyam remained in the Godavari forest belt  with the Koya tribals and led the guerrilla forces. Inspite of all hardships and dangers faced, she  never surrendered. The Nizam announced a reward of Rs 10,000 (today's ten lakh rupees) for her head. But evaded arrest with  the support of toiling masses.

Naa Maate Tupaki Tuta  Autobiography

Swarajyam's  autobiography Naa Maate Tupaki Tuta (My word is bullet) is highly inspiring. She  was elected twice from Thungathurthy Assembly constituency. Was member of a committee appointed by the N T Rama Rao government for granting property rights to women.  

During  split in party (1964) Swarajyam stood with  CPI-M. She retained fighting spirit and commitment till last breath. Worked hard to build womens' organisation, Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sangham. Later   formed  AIDWA in 1981 and became state  president. She was elected to  CPI-M central committee in 2002;  remained special invitee till death. Swarajyam had a very strong relationship with Kerala. Play Suryapet  based on  PVK Panayal's novel  is about the resistance movement led by her.The song "Vooyyallo' written by Swarajyam  praising martyrs  inspired several people to be part of various struggles.  She served as an editorial board member in "Chaitanya Manavi' magazine published by leftist women.