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Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu

Andhra Kesari

Tanguturi Prakasam
టంగుటూరి ప్రకాశం
File:T prakasam 20061113.jpg
Portrait of Tanguturi Prakasam, by S.N. Chamkur, located in Rajya Sabha
Chief Minister of Andhra state
In office
1 October 1953 – 15 November 1954
Succeeded by Bezawada Gopala Reddy
Chief Minister of Madras Presidency
In office
30 April 1946 – 23 March 1947
Governor Henry Foley Knight,
Archibald Edward Nye
Preceded by Governor's rule
Succeeded by O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar
Personal details
Born (1872-08-23)23 August 1872
Vinoda Rayudu Palem, Madras Presidency, British India
(now Vinodarayunipalem, Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died 20 May 1957(1957-05-20) (aged 84)
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress,
Swatantra Party
Occupation Lawyer, Writer, Statesman
Profession lawyer
Religion Hinduism

Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu (Telugu: టంగుటూరి ప్రకాశం పంతులు b. 23 August 1872 – d. 20 May 1957) was an Indian politician and Freedom Fighter and the first Chief Minister of the Indian province Andhra state. He was also known as Andhra Kesari (literally, the Lion of Andhra).

Early life

He was born to Subbamma and Gopala krishnaya, in a Niyogi Telugu Brahmin family in a village called Vinodarayuni Palem (or Vinoda Rayudu Palem) 26 km from Ongole in Prakasam District Andhra Pradesh. When he was 11, his father died and his mother had to run a boarding house at Ongole, a profession that was looked down upon at the time.

When E. Hanumantha Rao Naidu, his teacher at school, shifted to Rajahmundry, he took Prakasam along with him as that place had better opportunities for education. He enacted in Gayopakhyanam of Chilakamarthi Lakshmi Narasimham in 1890 along with his teacher.[1] He was interested in becoming a lawyer since childhood, Prakasam failed his matriculation examination. He however managed to go to Madras and become a second-grade pleader. Returning to Rajahmundry, he eventually became a successful lawyer. He was elected as Municipal Chairman of Rajahmundry in 1904 when he was 31 years old. This election was a tough one at that point in time.

In England

During one of his professional visits to Madras on a court case, a barrister was impressed with his legal acumen and suggested that he become a barrister. As a second-grade pleader, Prakasam could not argue cases at higher courts as only barristers were allowed to do so. Prakasam took the idea to his heart and decided to go to England to pursue legal studies. It was considered a sacrilege to cross the seas during those days. However, as Mohandas K. Gandhi had done before him, Prakasam made a promise to his mother that he would abstain from eating non-vegetarian food, smoking and drinking. He reached England in 1904. In England, he joined the India Society and worked for the election of Dadabhai Naoroji to the House of Commons.

In the service of public

After completing the barrister course with a certificate of honour in London, Prakasam relocated to Madras high court. He was one of the prominent Telugu barrister to be successful; until then, most of the successful lawyers were either Europeans or Tamilians. He dealt with both civil and criminal cases. Of the latter, one of the important cases was the Ash murder case. Ash was the Collector of Tirunelveli and was shot dead in 1907. This was at a time when Bipin Chandra Pal, the nationalist leader from Bengal was touring the region, making fiery speeches on nationalism. Prakasam defended one of the accused and ensured that he got away with a light sentence. Prakasam also edited Law times, a legal magazine. The same year he presided over Bipin Chandra Pal’s lecture at Madras when others were afraid to come forward, given that the government of the day considered Pal’s speeches to border on sedition. He started attending the Congress Party sessions regularly after the Lucknow pact and signed the Satyagraha pledge in October 1921. He gave up his lucrative law practice. He also started and was the working editor of a newspaper Swarajya (literally self-rule). Swarajya was published simultaneously in English, Telugu and Tamil.

He also ran a national school and a Khadi production centre. He was elected the general secretary of the Congress Party in December 1921 at the Ahmedabad session. Whenever there was unrest or strife such as a riot, he tried to be there so as to comfort people. He visited Punjab during Akali Satyagraha and the Hindu-Muslim riots in Multan. He toured Kerala during the Moplah rebellion despite a ban on visitors from outside the area and had his property at Ooty attached by the government as a consequence. In 1922, during the Non-cooperation Movement, he organised a demonstration by 30,000 Congress volunteers at Guntur. In 1926, he was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly on a Congress Party ticket.

Andhra Kesari appellation and struggle for independence

When the Simon Commission visited India, the congress party decided to boycott it with the slogan "Simon, go back". There were a host of reasons for this boycott, the most important being that the commission did not have a single Indian in its ranks. The commission was greeted with demonstration of black flags wherever it went. When the commission visited Madras on 3 February 1928, the police did not allow protests in some sensitive areas of Madras. Nevertheless, the crowd grew large and restive near the Madras High Court at Parry's Corner and the police resorted to firing with a view to control it. However, a young man, named, Pardha Saradhi was killed on the spot. The police warned the people that they would shoot if anyone tried to come near the body. At this, Prakasam grew enraged and tore open his shirt, baring his chest and daring the police to shoot at him. Understanding the situation, the police gave way to him and other supporters. After this incident, people respected him with the epithet of "Andhra Kesari" (Lion of Andhra).

In 1930, when the Congress wanted all the legislators to resign, he did so but was not convinced about its alternative programme and hence contested and won the by-election. He joined the Congress Party led by Madan Mohan Malaviya but resigned from it as well and persuaded others to do so after Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Party decided to break the salt tax law with the Dandi March. Prakasam also resigned as a legislator and was at the forefront in breaking the tax law at Madras. In the meantime, he had to suspend the publication of Swarajya due to the high deposit demanded by the government. It was revived after the Gandhi-Irwin pact of 1931 but it had to be suspended again due to cash flow problems. Unsuccessful attempts were made to restart it again in 1935.

In 1937, Congress Party contested the provincial elections and achieved majority in Madras province, among others. Though Prakasam was in the running for Chief Minister’s post, he made way for Rajaji, who returned to active politics as per the wishes of the Congress Working Committee. Prakasam became the revenue minister – his major contribution was the founding and chairing of the Zamindari Enquiry Committee which looked at the structural distortions in agriculture perpetrated due to the Zamindari system followed by the British Government. With the onset of World War II, the Congress ministries resigned from office as they were not consulted by the government about India’s participation. Prakasam was the first prominent leader from South India to offer individual Satyagraha against the war effort in 1941.

He was arrested for more than three years for participating in the Quit India movement of 1942. After his release in 1945, he toured South India to get back in touch with the masses.

Chief Minister of Madras Presidency

In 1946, after the Congress' victory in elections in Madras Presidency Prakasam became the chief minister on 30 April 1946, as he and Kamaraj, a Tamil leader, were against Rajaji — the choice of leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru — becoming the chief minister. However, the government lasted for only 11 months, as it was felt that Prakasam was not accommodating enough to various varying interests.

During his tenure as Premier, Prakasam publicly declared his intention to scrap all textile industries in the province and replace them with khadi manufacturing and weaving units.[2] In February 1947, Communists broke into a full-scale revolt.[2] On Vallabhbhai Patel's advice, Prakasam responded with widespread arrests and tough crackdown on arsonists.[2]

Prakasam's Cabinet
Portfolio Minister
Tanguturi Prakasam (Also Chief Minister)
Labour and Industry V V Giri
Health Rukmini Laxmipathi
Food T. S. S. Rajan

Post-independence

He visited Hyderabad state in 1948, while the Nizam was still in power, although Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru warned against doing so because of concern for his personal safety. He met Qasim Rizvi, the leader of the Razakars and warned him about pushing his luck too far. The Razakars were impressed by his courage and accorded him a march of honour.

In 1952, he formed the Hyderabad State Praja Party (Hyderabad State People’s party) and ensured that all the sitting ministers of the Congress Party were defeated. However, Praja party could not come into power by its own and the coalition that he cobbled up collapsed even before a show of strength could be contemplated.

Meanwhile, in December 1952, Potti Sriramulu died fasting for the cause of a separate state for the Telugu-speaking people. On 1 October 1953, the state of Andhra was created and Prakasam was unanimous choice for Chief minister for the new state.He was a not only party's choice but peoples choice too. However, due to opposition from the communists and halting support from the socialists, the government fell after a year. Mid-term elections were held in 1955 by which time Prakasam had more or less retired from active politics. On 1 November 1956, Telugu speaking parts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state were merged in the Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh. Marathi speaking parts (Aurangabad region) of the Hyderabad state were merged with Bombay State (which later split into Gujarat and Maharashtra) and Kannada speaking parts (Gulbarga region) were merged with Mysore State. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, a future President of India and a staunch follower of Prakasam became the chief minister. Prakasam was active in touring the state promoting Harijan issues(Dalit issues). On one such visit to a Harijanwada near Ongole, he suffered from severe sunstroke. He was admitted in a Hyderabad hospital and died on 20 May 1957.He died as a poor man and a hungry man.His Grandson is a bachelor class V employee in Ongole even today and stays with his mother, Annapurnamma (Prakasam's youngest son's wife).

Institutions named after Prakasam

  • Sri Prakasam Govt Junior College & High School (1974) - Addanki, Prakasam Dist
  • Andhra Kesari Centenary Junior College * Degree College - Rajamundry
  • Prakasam Engineering College Kandukur, Prakasam Dist
  • Sri Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu Government Junior College - Yanam, East Godavari
  • Andhra Kesari Yuvajana Samiti, a Socio Cultural Organisation was formed on 30-04-1962.
  • Andhra Kesari Prakasam Junior College,Chirala, Prakasam Dt.
  • Prakasam Public School,Inkollu, Prakasam Dt.
  • Andhra kesari vidaya kendram junior college, Ongole
  • Sri Prakasham Vidya Niketan High School, 6-3-609/150/1, Anand Nagar Colony, Hyderabad
  • Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu Govt High School (AKTP High School), Satyanarayana Puram, Vijayawada.

Autobiography

The autobiography of Prakasham was titled as "Naa Jeevitha Yathra"(My life's Journey) published by Telugu Samithi. This book is actually divided into four parts first two are about his early life and his involvement in freedom fighting in India. third part is about getting independence and government formation in Andhrapradesh. Fourth actually written by Tenneti Viswanadham explaining about his political career and changes he brought to Andhra. [3][4]

Titles held

Andhra Kesari

Prakasam institute of development Studies, ISBN 81-85194-07-6, ISBN 978-81-85194-07-3

References

Preceded by
Governor's rule
Chief Minister of Madras Presidency
30 April 1946–23 March 1947
Succeeded by
O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar
Preceded by
None
Chief Minister of Andhra
1 October 1953–15 November 1954
Succeeded by
Bezawada Gopala Reddy

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