Telugus in the Constituent Assembly

On the eve of 67th Republic Day of India, it is worth remembering those 299 leaders-visionaries tasked to draft the Constitution of India. Among them, the notable Telugus are Kala Venkata Rao (Nadipudi, East Godavari), Mosalikanti Thirumala Rao (Pithapuram, East Godavari), Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu( Vinodarayunipalem, Prakasham), Raja Swetachalapati Ramakrishna Renga Rao (Bobbili, Vizianagaram), Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (Illur, Anantapur), Kallur Subba Rao (Kallur, Anantapur), Nyapathi Madhava Rau (Machilipatnam), Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, Satyanarayana Moturi, Durgābāi Deshmukh, Gogineni Ranga Nayukulu (popularly known as N.G. Ranga), and Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya.

Intrigued by few of the profiles, complied the interesting pieces from the web.

Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer

Born to a priest’s family in Pudur village (in SPSR Nellore district, AP), Sri Iyer pursued history as a major from Madras Christian College, and studied law in his free time. Despite his chronic ill-health, he contributed to the following topics in drafting of the Constitution of India

  • citizenship, fundamental rights, directive principles, judiciary in the Union and the States, distribution of legislative powers, articles dealing with the powers of the President and the Governor, and adult suffrage.

He was vocal supporter of strong Centre, and said the following during the Constituent Assembly debates.

In view of the complexity of industrial, trade and financial conditions in the modern world and the need for large scale defence programmes, there is an inevitable tendency in every federation in the direction of strengthening the federal government. The Draft Constitution in several of its provisions has taken note of these tendencies instead of leaving it to the Supreme Court to strengthen the Centre by a process of judicial interpretation.

He also cautioned that the legislative, and executive should not leave the judiciary to do their job.

The doctrine of independence is not raised to the level of a dogma so as to enable the judiciary to function as a kind of super-legislature or super -executive.
  • On his 50th death anniversary, a tribute written by his grandson and this blogpost maintained by his grandson are worth visiting to know more about Sir Alladi.
  • A Statesman Among Jurists, A biography of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyar was authored by his son, Alladi Kuppuswami, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, and published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (1993).

Satyanarayana Moturi

Hailing from Dondapadu village in Krishna District, Moturi Satyanarayana is known for his active participation in Indian freedom struggle, and contributions towards Language Section in the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of India. Unfortunately, could not find much information about him from the web.

Durgābāi Deshmukh

Born as Revathi Rao in Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), was married at age of 8. She split from the marriage, joined Indian freedom movement, and dedicate her life to uplift the women and underprivileged. Deshmukh’s father was a social worker, and been active in public life since her childhood.

Andhra Maha Sabha was her brain child, and as a Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, she was driving force behind several legislations for social welfare. She was conferred Padma Vibushan for her services to the country, and her husband Chintaman Deshmukh, the former Finance Minister of India was also a recipient of the same.

Two interesting anecdotes from her book “Chintaman and I” are presented below.

In 1921 she was 12 year old, heard about MK Gandhi‘s visit to Kakinada. She wanted Gandhiji to address and inspire a women gathering. The local leaders-organisers asked her to collect Rs.5,000/-, and present it to Gandhiji. She arranged the money within a week, and also acted as translator to Gandhi’s speech.

The next problem was that the hosts would not agree to spare Gandhiji for more than five minutes. I said even two minutes would do. Finally I succeeded in making them agree. Since our Girls’ School was on the way from the railway station to the Town Hall, they brought Gandhiji there first. More than one thousand women were waiting for his darshan. I made one of the elderly women present the purse. They touched Gandhiji’s feet and felt so inspired that even before he started to address them they gave the jewels, bangles, necklaces, gold chains, and whatever they had on their person as additional offerings for his cause. (Deshmukh, Durgabai: 4)

Another one was the participation of women from Andhra Pradesh in Indian freedom movement.

Another book which I plan to write is on “Unknown Soldiers -The Women Freedom Fighters of Andhra Pradesh.” It is with my personal knowledge that nearly one thousand women from Andhra Pradesh, young and old, illiterate, half-educated, and fully educated, jumped into the freedom struggle and faced imprisonment, lathi charge, and even firing. Most of them were from rural areas. Some of them went to jail at a time when they were expecting babies. Most of these women were put into C class prisons where fifty to sixty were kept in a room and had the use of only one bathroom. I do not find many of these heroines living now. I wonder if even a few sentences were written about them while they were alive and fighting the battle for the freedom of the country. About one hundred of these sisters, after they were released, got themselves absorbed in the constructive work suggested by Mahatma Gandhi. Several famous social and educational institutions came to be established as a result of their efforts (Deshmukh, Durgabai: 114).

Gogineni Ranga Nayukulu

Popularly known as N.G. Ranga was born in Nidubrolu village in Guntur District. Studied at Oxford University, Prof. Ranga was a Member of Parliament from 1933 to 1990, takes pride in his agrarian roots, and championed the cause of farmers in India. He fought to abolish the zamindari system. The famous Telugu newspaper “Zameen Ryot” was an off-shoot of his efforts in abolishing the zamindari system.

He was such a great visionary that he opposed to the ideas of ceilings on land holdings, cooperative farming, setting up of Planning Commission, and Five Year Plans. One of his notable achievements in the Parliament was defeating the 17th amendment — meant to empower states to acquire farm lands without paying any compensation.

“Harijan Nayakudu”, a book written by him in Telugu is the most popular works of his time. C.N. Anna Durai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was Prof. Ranga’s student.

Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya

Dr. Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya hails from Gundugolanu village in Krishna district. He was a doctor by profession, and a supporter of linguistic states in India. In his time, he was a popular leader, contested for the presidency of Indian National Congress (INC) against S.C. Bose, and lost. He finally became the president of INC in the year 1948.

He established Andhra Bank (a commercial bank) in 1923, and commended for sparking the entrepreneurial spirit in the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh.

He authored several books — National Education (1912,co-author), Indian Nationalism (1913), The Redistribution of Indian Provinces on a Linguistic Basis (1916), Non-Cooperation (1921), and History of the Indian National Congress (1935)

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