Andhra Pradesh

When Mahatma permeated people’s consciousness at Cocanada

Mahatma Gandhi with Bulusu Sambamurthy, Pydah Venkatanarayana and Kala Venkata Rao during his visit to Cocanada.

Mahatma Gandhi with Bulusu Sambamurthy, Pydah Venkatanarayana and Kala Venkata Rao during his visit to Cocanada. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

On the 2nd of April in 1921, Mahatma Gandhi had set his foot on Cocanada (now Kakinada) where he made an appeal to the people of the Andhra province on three issues — untouchability, Hindu-Muslim unity, and khadi.

As per a book titled ‘Gandhi 1915-1948: A Detailed Chronology’, published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation, Mahatma Gandhi had addressed a programme arranged by the Cocanada Municipality on April 2. The previous day, he had addressed a gathering of carpenters and municipality workers in Bezwada (now Vijayawada). The following day (April 3), he had addressed a meeting at Ellore (now Eluru) and Bezwada before visiting Andhra Jateeya Kalasala at Masulipatam (now Machilipatnam).

“Mahatma Gandhi was accompanied by my grandfather Yellajosyula Venkateswarlu, Cocanada Municipal Chairman. Untouchability, Hindu-Muslim unity and Khadi Movement were the key issues raised by him during his address,” Y.S.V.S. Murthy, secretary, Kakinada Gandhi Bhavan, told The Hindu.

At least 40,000 people had turned up for the Mahatma’s address at Elvinpet in Cocanada.

“The place where Mahatma Gandhi had addressed the gathering later turned out to be Gandhi Nagar. In fact, this speech had played an instrumental role in the conduct of the Indian National Congress at Cocanada in December 1923. The National Congress had also been organised at the same place, which was designated as Gandhi Nagar,” Mr. Murthy said.

“Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Khadi Movement had inspired many people to adopt ‘Charka’ on the Cocanada coast. In response to his call on untouchability, doctors and lawyers had established the East Godavari Harijan Sevan Sangh, which is now known as Gandhi Bhavan,” recalled Mr. Murthy.

Cocanada missed the presence of Mahatma Gandhi at the 1923 National Congress as he had been arrested in 1922 for writing articles in Young India. Mahatma Gandhi was then serving six-year imprisonment at the Yervada prison.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 11:09:17 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-when-mahatma-permeated-peoples-consciousness-at-cocanada/article65761620.ece