Andhra Pradesh

The many imprints of Mahatma Gandhi in Andhra Pradesh’s Bezawada

The Bezawada railway station that Mahatma Gandhi had visited during the freedom movement.

The Bezawada railway station that Mahatma Gandhi had visited during the freedom movement.

For Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Bezawada (now Vijayawada) was a special place, which he had visited several times between 1919 and 1946.

Mahatma Gandhi had participated in several meetings and attended a few programmes near the railway station and other places.

Anecdotes of the visits of Mahatma Gandhi and several other leaders serve as an inspiration to the people of Vijayawada as they celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

As per information available with the railway officials, Mahatma Gandhi had first come to Bezawada on March 31, 1919, and spoke about Satyagraha at a public meeting organised against the Rowlatt Act at the Rammohan Library. He had visited the city again on August 23, 1920, and stayed at the Municipal Bungalow. He then spoke about the Non-Cooperation Movement.

As part of the All India Congress Committee meeting, Mahatma Gandhi was again in Bezawada on March 31 and April 1, 1921. He had stayed in the house of Golla Narayana Rao, who had donated ₹25,000 and his wife’s jewellery worth ₹2,500 to Mahatma Gandhi towards his contribution to the ‘Swarajya Nidhi’.

A huge public meeting had been organised in an open area near the railway station in which Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sarojini Naidu, Jawaharlal Nehru and others participated. Later, the venue came to be known as Gandhinagar.

Freedom fighter Pingali Venkaiah had designed and handed over the Tricolour to Mahatma Gandhi at the meeting.

To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s association with Vijayawada, a hill in the One Town area was named as Gandhi Hill.

The hill, located at a stone’s throw from the railway station, was named after Mahatma Gandhi after his visit to the station in 1921 to address a gathering at the foot of the hill.

Babu Rajendra Prasad, in his autobiography, had shared that people had given Mahatma Gandhi a rousing reception as he alighted from the train at the Bezawada railway station.

He had also said that Bezawada turned crucial as it ignited the spirit of freedom among the masses.

Mahatma Gandhi also visited Bezawada on April 10, 1929, as part of the ‘Khaddar tour’ and visited Gunadala and Moghalrajpuram khadi centres.

His next visit was on December 16, 1933, as part of the Harijan Yatra when addressed a meeting at Moghalrajpuram.

On January 23, 1937, Mahatma Gandhi had visited Bezawada again to console the cyclone victims in Guntur district.

His last visit to the city was on January 21, 1946, when he arrived by a special train as part of the ‘Hindi Pracharasabha’ and greeted people and officials at the railway station.

“As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and ‘Azadi Ka Rail Gadi Aur Stations’, we are recalling the imprints of Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters on our premises during the freedom struggle. We are also recalling the role of the Indian Railways during the freedom struggle,” said Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Shivendra Mohan.

The South Central Railway (SCR) arranged many programmes to celebrate the occasion, the DRM said.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 1:38:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-the-many-imprints-of-mahatma-gandhi-in-bezawada/article65765660.ece