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32nd Conference of the AIKS

History of AIKS in Guntur pages
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History of AIKS from Guntur Pages :

Guntur district as one of the centres of peasant struggles

 

          Before and after the formation of Andhra Pradesh, Guntur is one of the centres where political and cultural movements took place. Though its history as a district in the state could be traced in 1794(Under British rule) it was restructured twice, one in 1904 and another in 1970. The district is endowed with diversified agro-ecosystems and wide ranging natural resources that facilitate to develop agriculture as well as other dependable occupations. Its potential of red and black soils, sandy loams, river waters sufficient sea- coast habitats as well as mineral sources is worth mentioning. A population of 45 lakhs (2001 census) living in 57 revenue mandals, 13 municipalities including Guntur corporation, is specific strength of the district.

            Guntur is synonym for pungency of red-chillies. The production and trades of tobacco, cotton, rice, spices (turmeric, chillies, onion) besides several other horticultural crops gained momentum with the back-up of green revolution technologies of recent origin. However, its distinction in the usage of agro-chemicals, corporatisation of education and health sectors in the light of new economic liberalisation and deregulation policies was realized in the shape of suicides, kidney selling, massmigrations(both skilled and unskilled).

            The district was in fore front in responding to the demands of National movements. The prominent role played by Konda Venkatappaiah, Kanneganti Hanumanthu, Parvathaneni Veeraiah, Duggirala Gopalakrishnaiah, and Vunnava Lakshminarayana in the independence movement was unique and unusual. The people’s response to the “Home – Rule – Movement” of Anne Besant and “levy-boycott” struggles of Palanadu and Pedanandipadu found a place in the annals of the district-records. The sacrifices made by several youngsters of Tenali, Bapatla, Pedanandipadu, Sattenapalli, Mangalagiri regions could be seen in the movements installed for those martyrs in the district. Similarly it has a distinct role in contributing to the historical Telengana Armed Struggle (1946-1951). The contributions of political leaders like Makineni Basavapunnaiah, Moturi Hanumantha Rao, Kolla Venkaiah, Puthumbaka, Amanchi, and Koratala, Lavu Balagangadhara Rao etc besides other leaders like NG Ranga, Nadimpalli NarasimhaRao, and Vavilala GopalaKrishnaiah reflect in the contemporary growth of democratic movements of the district. Some of the literary and cultural contributors like Chalam, Jashuva, Kondaveeti Venkatakavi, Kodavatiganti, Sthanam, and Nazer etc also started their career in this district.

            In the wake of new transformations in agriculture, many of the agricultural laborers and marginal farmer’s opted tenancy farming. In many revenue mandals their -number started swelling (70-80%). The impact of crisis was clearly seen in this group of peasants. Rythu sangham – AIKS was in fore front to mobilize them during the past one decade here in this district.

            Above all its role in shaping the destiny of farmer’s movement of the state as well as country AIKS – Rythu sangham’s contributions can be seen as narrated in the following way.

            The credit of witnessing first peasant agitation in rytwari areas goes to Guntur district. High rents, sky racketing cost of inputs and non-remunerative prices accompanied by hostile natural conditions during foreign rule worsened the economic status of the farmers in this district. Gradually the farmers of the district, as their counter parts in the country, realized that the unruly of the British is the sole reason for their pathetic condition and started agitations against this misrule. Informal peasant gatherings were recorded in this district as early as during the first decade of 20th century. By 1920 peasant meetings, anti government campaign picked up great momentum in the district.

 

            The first two known anti tax-movements in the State took place in Guntur district as a part of non-cooperation movement during-1921-22. The first was the Pullari (Pullari means tax imposed by the British on forest produce) movement of palnadu region and the second was the no-tax campaign of pedanandipadu. The first agitation was against the draconian forest laws of the British which required the farmers of the forest villages to pay tax to use the forest produce and even to collect fodder from forest.  Taxes were imposed even on cattle which grazed in forest area.  The farmers resisted the laws and revolted.  All the government officers including the collector of the district were socially boycotted.  The District collector who was on tour in that area could not get even milk and eatables.  All the village messengers boycotted their duties.  Similar is the supplies to revenue and police officials.  As the villagers refused to lend or rent their cattle carts supplies to revenue and police officials became difficult.  Two prominent congress leaders were arrested and sentenced for one year for supporting and campaigning for Pullari agitation.  Total hartal was observed in Guntur district condemning the arrest of those leaders.  With in months the agitation took serious turn.  Scuffles became routine between the revenue and police officials and farmers.  Each attempt by the officials to seize the grazing cattle was successfully resisted.  The British decided to settle the issue by using the brutal force.  On 16th February, 1921 the police seized a large number of cattle in Minchalapadu village.  When the villagers tried to resist, the police opened fire killing Kanneganti Hanumantu, a local peasant leader and Ellampalli Seshu, a close associate of Hanumanthu.  On the next day District Collector personally led a large number of forces and raided the village.  Every male of the area was taken into custody.  Police looted all the movable property.

 

            Anti-tax campaign of Pedanandipadu was another glorious struggle of that era.  The District Congress Committee passed a resolution urging the people not to pay taxes as a part of non-cooperation.  The call inspired the farmers of Pedanandipadu, Duddukuru, Addanki and Santanutalapadu Firkas.  Anti-tax campaign was launched with majority of village officers resigning to their jobs.  Situation became so serious that the Madras Provincial Government sent armed regiment including Governors body guards and cannons to provide protection to the officials who visit villages to collect tax or auction the property of farmers.  The agitation and public support to it was so overwhelming that the government found nobody to purchase the auctioned property.  The resistance continued till the Congress Party called off the agitation.

 

            The first association of the farmers was formed in Guntur District in 1923.  Since its inception it tried to educate and organize the farmers.  However, it is the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha that gave a clear direction, programme and organizational strength to the farmers.  The farmers of the Guntur District had been in the forefront when ever farmers cause took an agitations form.  When the long march of the farmers (Rytu Rakshana Yatra) was held in 1939, the Guntur farmers actively participated in it.  The contribution of the Guntur farmers to the glorious Telangana Armed Struggle was praise worthy.  They not only provided the necessary logistics to the struggle, hundreds personally participated in the struggle and also 73 people lost their lives for that great cause.

 

             Thousands of activists regularly participated in each and every struggle launched by the Kisan Sabha.  Agitation to force the government to construct a Dam on Krishna River, repeated struggles for the land reforms, and for the implementation of land reform acts, struggle for support prices etc. were some of the agitations in which the farmers of the District took leading role.

 

            Sri N.G.Ranga played a leading role in the peasant movement of the nation hailed from this District.  Comrade Nanduri Prasada Rao, though a native of neighbouring Krishna District started his political carrier from Guntur District, played a crucial role in building the peasant movement in the country.  Together both of them lead the AIKS either as presidents or general secretaries for more than 12 years.  Several Leaders contributed for the growth of peasant movement – AIKS at State and country level.

 

           The role of AIKS-Rythu Sangham in defusing the electricity regulatory and protecting the interests of tenant farmers and mobising people for anti-price rise of agri.  Inputs etc was significant during the post two and decals in the district.      


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