NELLORE: Women of Nellore region did not remain behind in the freedom struggle. Many of them contributed in their own way, some donating their lands, most parting with their jewellery and few turning radical; unmindful of British police taking action against them.
Speeches of Mahatma Gandhi during his visits to Nellore in 1920s inspired men and women alike in the region. Many women joined the freedom struggle. They raised funds for Handloom and Harijan funds.
One among the popular freedom fighters from Nellore was Ponaka Kanakamma. She had donated 13 acres of land for Pinakini Satyagraha Gandhi Ashram at Pallipadu. Kanakamma is remembered by both old and new generations. She contributed to starting of Sri Kasthuri Devi Vidyalayam, a popular girl’s school of Nellore City.
Born in 1896, Kanakamma was a poetess and first woman president of Nellore Congress Committee. She took part in Vande Mataram and Salt Satyagraha movements. As a result, she had to go through incarceration in both Vellore and Nellore jails for more than two years.
According to Volume 3 of Who’s Who of Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh, edited by Sarojini Regani and published by AP Government in 1982, as many as 25 women came out on to roads during the freedom struggle and jailed for fighting against the British in Nellore region.
One among them was 1900-born Paturu Balasaraswatamma. Inspired by the radical stance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, she handed over all her gold ornaments to a group of people for purchasing materials to make bombs. She ran “Simhapuri” newspaper to highlight the news of independence struggle. She was jailed twice between 1930 and 1932.
Other prominent Nellore women who participated in the freedom movement are Tikkavarapu Sudarshanamma and Bezawada Lakshmikanthamma. Sudarshanamma was the wife of famous freedom fighter Tikkavarapu Rami Reddy. She went house to house collecting foreign clothes and held their bonfires in streets of Nellore.
Lakshmikanthamma was the daughter of Rami Reddy and Sudarshanamma. A student of Shanthiniketan, Lakshmikanthamma was sentenced for three months and fined ₹500 in 1941 for individual satyagraha. She was the wife of late Bezawada Gopal Reddy, who went on to become a Governor of Uttar Pradesh in Independent India....