Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MAY 1: Remembering Puchalapalli Sundarayya: Great Freedom Fighter, Social Reformer and Parliamentarian

May 1 Puchalapalli Sundarayya Birthday

Puchalapalli Sundarayya (1 May 1913 – 19 May 1985) was a founding member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a leader of the peasant revolt in the former Hyderabad State of India, called the Telengana Rebellion. He is popularly known as Comrade PS. 

Sundarayya was born on 1 May 1913 in Alaganipadu (in the present Vidavalur Mandal of Kovur Constituency) in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, India. He was the child of a feudal family and, when Sundarayya was six, his father died. He completed primary education and entered a college where he studied at entry level until he left in 1930, at the age of 17, to joined Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested and spent time in a Borstal school in Rajahmundry where he became acquainted with various communists. When released, he organized agricultural workers in his village to protest against bonded labour.

He was mentored by Amir Hyder Khan who prompted him to become a member of the Communist Party of India, which was condemned and banned by the British government during the Second World War. During this period many prominent communist leaders, like Dinkar Mehta, Sajjad Zaheer, E.M.S. Namboodiripad and Soli Batliwala, became members of the national executive of the Congress Socialist Party. While a member, Sundarayya rose to the position of the Secretary of the Congress Socialist Party.

In Communist Movement

After the arrest of Amir Hyder Khan, following the directions of the Central Committee, the task of building the Party in South India fell on his shoulders. During this period, he motivated transition of prominent communist leaders of Kerala like E. M. S. Namboodiripad and P. Krishna Pillai to join the Communist Party of India from the Congress Socialist Party. In 1936, Sundarayya became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India. During the same year, he became one of the founders of the All India Kisan Sabhaand was elected as its joint secretary. When the Party was banned, he went underground between 1939 and 1942.

Telangana Rebellion

When the ban on the Party was lifted in 1943, the first Party Congress was held at Bombay and he was again elected to the Central Committee in the second party Congress held at Calcutta (now called: Kolkata). In that Congress, the Communist Party of India-adopted a line advocating armed struggle, that came to be known as 'Calcutta thesis'. It was closely identified with its main proponent, the then General Secretary B.T. Ranadive. As a result, insurgencies took place in Tripura, Telangana, West Bengal and Travancore.

The most important rebellion took place in Telangana, against the Nizam of Hyderabad state. Sundarayya, was one of its leaders. He went underground between 1948 and 1952. He was re-elected to the Central Committee in 1952 when a special party conference was held. He was also elected to the Politburo, the highest forum within the Party. He was then re-elected to Central Committee and the Politburo in the third party congress in Vijayawada and again in the fourth congress held at Palakkad.

Legislative career

In 1952, he was elected to the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha from the Madras Assembly constituency and became the leader of the Communist group in Parliament. He was elected to the State assembly of Andhra Pradesh and remained a member of that House until 1967. After a long gap he contested again and got elected to the State assembly of Andhra Pradesh in 1978, he continued this up to 1983. Sundarayya held the party’s state Secretary post in Andhra Pradesh and was a member of the Central Committee of the Party from this period to his death on the 19 May 1985.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Text & Pictures: Wikipedia and Internet

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