Today 16 March is the birth anniversary of Potti Sreeramulu, the martyr who achieved the present day Andhra Pradesh by sacrificing his life on hunger strike in December 1952.
He was born in Chennai (erstwhile Madras city) on 16th March 1901 to Guravaiah and Mahalakshmi. Their ancestors hailed from Padamati Palem village in Sri Potti Sreeramulu Nellore district. He studied in Madras until he was 20 and then enrolled for Sanitary Engineering course in Bombay. Later he took up a job in Great Indian Peninsular Railway where he worked for about 4 years.
Having lost his child and wife at an early age, he renounced family life by the age of 25 and joined Gandhiji in the freedom struggle. During 1943-44 he worked to spread awareness on Charakha among Nelloreans. In 1946, he went on a hunger strike fighting for entry of Harijans into Venugopal Swamy Temple of Mulapet, Nellore.
Sri Sreeramulu Potti began his last fast on 19 October 1952 at Chennai for a separate Andhra state and continued his fast until he died on the night of 15 December 1952. This resulted in widespread disturbances and opened the eyes of Nehru's government. Thus Andhra State was formed in October 1953, which catalyzed the formation of other linguistic states. On November 1, 1956 Andhra Pradesh.
Commenting on Sreeramulu's dedication and fasting ability, Mohandas Gandhi once said, "If only I have eleven more followers like Sreeramulu I will win freedom [from British rule] in a year."
Sri Sreeramulu Potti has become Amarajeevi (immortal) for Telugus. To commemorate this great personality India post has released 300 paisa (3 Rupee) postage stamp in 2000.
Image Courtesy: Mintage World