Bhimavaram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the history of the country's freedom struggle was not about a few years or some people but was about the sacrifice from every nook and corner of the country.
In his address after unveiling a 30-ft bronze statue of Alluri Sitarama Raju here, Modi said the legendary freedom fighter's 125th birth anniversary and the centenary of the Rampa Rebellion will be celebrated throughout the year.
"On one side the country is celebrating 75th year of independence and along with that the 125th birth anniversary of Alluri Sitarama Raju and also 100th year of Rampa rebellion are also being celebrated,Â he said.
Alluri led the Rampa rebellion, which was launched in 1922. He is referred to as "Manyam Veerudu" (Hero of the Jungles) by the local people.
Modi said, "the freedom struggle is not just the history of a few years, some regions or some people. It is the history of sacrifices from every nook and corner of the country." .
Paying rich tributes to Alluri Sitarama Raju, the PM said he involved himself in the country's fight for independence early, dedicating himself for Adivasi welfare and the country and was "martyred" at a young age.
His life is an inspiration, he said, adding Alluri "was a symbol of India's culture, Adivasi identity and values". He dared the British to stop him, Modi recalled.
Modi said no one can stop from making a 'New Bharat' when our youth, tribals, women, dalit and the downtrodden lead the country.
"I am fully confident that inspiration from Alluri Sitarama Raju will take the country to infinite heights," he said. "I bow to the great freedom fighters born in Andhra Pradesh. We have not forgotten our freedom fighters, we will not forget and we will move forward by taking inspiration from them," he said and recalled icons from the state including Pingali Venkayya, "who prepared our national flag," and Potti Sriramulu.
Much like the youth joined the freedom struggle in hordes, they should now come forward to realise the dreams of the country, Modi said exhorting the younger sections of the population.
Dwelling on tribal welfare, the Prime Minister said that for the first time since independence, tribal museums are being established to highlight tribal pride and heritage.
Through programmes like Skill India Mission, tribal art was receiving a new identity while Vocal for Local was ensuring income for the community members.
The government has changed decades old laws, that prevented the tribal people from cutting forest produce like bamboo and gave them rights over them, he added.
Earlier, Modi unveiled the 15-tonne statue of Alluri, carved out at a cost of Rs 3 crore and installed by the Kshatriya Seva Samiti in the Municipal Park at ASR Nagar in Bhimavaram, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
State Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, former Union Minister and film star K Chiranjeevi and others were present on the occasion.
The dignitaries paid floral tributes to Raju on the occasion.
Modi felicitated Alluri Srirama Raju, Alluri's nephew, and Bodi Dora, son of Alluri's close lieutenant Mallu Dora. Popularly known as "Manyam Veerdu", Sitarama Raju, also referred to by his surname Alluri, was born on July 4, 1897 at Pandrangi village in the then Visakhapatnam district.