The sleepy Devarampadu village in Prakasam district, where freedom fighter Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu produced salt in response to a call given by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930, was a bee-hive of activity with people from different walks of life taking part in a ‘Heritage walk’ on Thursday.
It was in a mango orchard in the village, Prakasam Pantulu, first Chief Minister of Andhra State carved out of Madras State in 1953, has spent his evening of life. To mark the Salt Satyagraha, another freedom fighter and first President of India Babu Rajendra Prasad erected ‘Vijayotsava Stupa’ in 1935.
“A suitable memorial will be constructed and the ill-equipped library in the village will be upgraded for the present generation of youth to know about the Civil Disobedience Movement organised against the salt tax imposed by the British,” said Prakasam Collector A.S. Dinesh Kumar, while leading the ‘Heritage walk’ organised as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. “Plans are being drawn to develop the historic place into a tourist spot,” he said.
He said the present generation should draw inspration from Prakasam Pantulu, who had left lucrative legal practice and plunged into the freedom movement inspired by Bipin Chandra Pal and earned the epithet ‘‘Andhra Kesari’‘ by baring his chest and asking the police to shoot during a protest against the visit of Simon Commission to Madras in 1928.
‘Andhra Kesari’ stood as an outstanding example of Telugu people’s pride, valour and patriotism, the Collector recalled during the celebrations held to mark the 75th year of Independence.
Prakasam Panthulu belonged to a class of selfless politicians who had sacrificed his enormous wealth during the freedom struggle, said Prakasam Pantulu's grandson T. Gopalakrishna. The present set of rulers could learn from the policies evolved by the first Andhra government led by Prakasam Pantulu after formation of the first linguistic State, he added.