Memories of the day: What I felt on August 15, 1947

At Gannavaram, hoping for free train travel

Journalist Turlapati Kutumba Rao

Journalist Turlapati Kutumba Rao   | Photo Credit: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar

A veteran recalls many shades of celebrations in Krishna

For 85-year-old Turlapati Kutumba Rao, memories of the historic day of India achieving Independence remain vivid.

The senior journalist, known for his speeches, was just 14 when he witnessed the new dawn, freedom from the shackles of foreign rule.

“I was living at Gannavaram in Krishna district and was a high school student then. My friends and I got on to our bicycles and went around shouting Swatantra Bharat Ki Jai... and hailed Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru for their contributions to the freedom struggle. For youngsters they were demigods those days ,” he says.

No radio to listen to

Mr. Rao, however, regrets he could not listen to the historic speech of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as there was no radio at home. “Radio was premium those days. We had one at the George Fifth Coronation Club. We used to listen to the speeches of our great national leaders in the evenings,” he recollects.

“We all eagerly waited for Andhra Prabha and Andhra Patrika the next day to read about the momentous Parliament session.”

Sharing his experiences of that historic day, he says that for the gullible Gannavaram villagers freedom meant free train travel. “They thought everything will be free after Independence. So naive they were.”

Mr. Rao remembers the festivities at Ramalayam, the one-stop temple for all the villagers where prayers were offered to celebrate the historic day.

It was a day to celebrate for all political parties and even Communists joined others to welcome the new dawn, he says.

Journalistic work

Mr. Rao remembers his first article published in March 1947 in Mathrubhoomi, a Telugu weekly published from Madras (now Chennai).

“When British Prime Minister C.R Attlee announced in the House of Commons in London in February 1947 that the British would leave India, we knew that it was matter of time before India got Independence. I immediately wrote an article, Swarajyam lo Swarashtram (Our State in Independent India), which was widely appreciated. That was the beginning of my 50-year-long career in journalism,” he says.

Mr. Rao is reported to have written over 4,000 biographies and delivered over 16,000 public speeches.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:37:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/specials/independence-day-india-at-70/at-gannavaram-hoping-for-free-train-travel/article19491901.ece

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