Andhra Pradesh

Ranarang Chowk: enduring symbol of sacrifices of freedom fighters

The Ranarang Chowk in Tenali.

The Ranarang Chowk in Tenali. | Photo Credit: T. VIJAYA KUMAR

One cannot miss the sight of seven grey pillars standing tall amid a patch of greenery at the end of the road over-bridge in Tenali. The martyr’s memorial called Ranarang Chowk has emerged as the most enduring symbol of the spirited defiance shown by the people of the town in the heydays of the Quit India Movement.

The seven pillars have been erected in memory of the seven martyrs who were shot dead by police on August 12, 1942 during the Quit India Movement.

On Friday (Aug. 12), Tenali MLA Annabathuni Siva Kumar lined up a special programme to mark the occasion as the nation celebrates its 75th Independence Day.

It was in 1942 that the whole Andhra region was simmering with discontent against the British rule. Paying  heed to a passionate call given by Mahatma Gandhi at the Congress session held at Bombay on August 8, 1942, local leaders Kalluri Chandramouli, Velavolu Seetharamaiah and Avuthu Subba Reddy unveiled an action plan at the district Congress office located at Tenali in those days.

They called for a bandh on August 12 protesting the arrest of Gandhi. The protests turned violent as irate mobs ransacked a hotel near the railway station. A section of the mob set fire to an oil tanker near the north cabin, then to the station and later to the Chennai passenger train.

By afternoon, the protesters left the station but a curious crowd of onlookers gathered there. Hours later, the Collector and SP arrived from Guntur with battalions of reserved police. The SP ordered the police to open fire on the unarmed mobs.

Seven persons — Majeti Subba Rao, Srigiri Lingam, Lakshminarayana, Tammineni Subba Reddy, Gali Ramakotaiah, Prayaga Raghavaiah and Jasti Appaiah — were killed in the police firing.

The then British government cracked down on the unrest with brute force. Hundreds of people were charged with arson and were punished by special courts. A huge penalty of ₹2 lakh was levied on the town.

The incident attracted worldwide attention and was broadcast by Berlin and Tokyo radios.

After independence, Municipal Chairperson Alapati Venkatramaiah erected the seven pillars in memory of the martyrs and renamed the area as `Ranarang Chowk.’ On December 20, 1959, the memorial was inaugurated by AICC president Kamaraj and then Chief Minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy.

The leaders were taken in a procession on a horse-drawn chariot and as hundreds watched, they dedicated the Ranarang Chowk to the nation.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 7:32:49 pm |