Remembering Chitti Babu: Alluri Sitarama Raju's family shares memories of freedom fighter

To carry forward Alluri's name to the next generations, one person in the family is even named after Alluri Srirama Raju

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  14 Aug 2022 3:17 AM GMT
Remembering Chitti Babu: Alluri Sitarama Rajus family shares memories of freedom fighter

Alluri Sitarama Raju: "For everyone, Alluri Sitarama Raju is a revolutionary freedom fighter but for us, my grandfather was a multi-talented person who was great in archery, astrology, horse riding, Ayurveda, and was a great devotee of Kali Matha. My grandfather Alluri Satyanarayan Raju used to say that people never knew the other side of his brother Alluri," said 32-year-old Alluri Sri Rama Raju, the grandson of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju.

The people of Andhra Pradesh know Alluri as 'Manyam Veerudu' who opposed the British in response to the 1882 Madras Forest Act which restricted the free movement of Adivasis (tribal communities) in their forest habitats and prevented them from practicing a traditional form of agriculture known as 'podu'. On India's 75th Independence Day, while the nation celebrates 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', Alluri's family who call him 'Chitti Babu' share their memories of the freedom fighter.

Chitti Babu remembered

"During our childhood, we used to hear many stories from my grandfather about his brother Alluri who often used to visit our village in Mogallu in West Godavari. He was called Chitti Babu but his real name was Alluri Srirama Raju. During the British time, he was given the name Sitarama Raju," said his grandson.

"Aluri is said to be the first freedom fighter who used a pre-announced guerrilla attack against the British. Before attacking police stations in Visakhapatnam and Godavari areas, he used to have a unique way of dispatching messages to the British officials called 'Mirapakaaya Tapa' or 'Chilli Post'. He used to shoot an arrow along with a bunch of chillies and a typed message with his signature 'Alluri Srirama Raju' in the Telugu language," he added.

Family of 38

With 38 family members, the Alluri family has settled down in different parts of Andhra Pradesh. To carry forward Alluri's name to the next generations, one person in the family is even named after Alluri Srirama Raju. "My grandfather is a retired school teacher and lives in Burugupudi village in East Godavari. After Alluri's death at the age of 27, he was always remembered for his actions. My grandfather used to narrate stories about his fight for tribals," said Srirama Raju who is a nutrition wellness coach in Bhimavaram.

In remembrance of their grandfather Alluri, his grandchildren make sure that they are part of his birth and death anniversaries.

Manyam Veerudu

Alluri who is known as 'Manyam Veerudu' was born in Pandrangi village in Padmanabham mandal in the Visakhapatnam district. According to history, following the death of his father, Alluri's education was disrupted, and he went on a pilgrimage and toured western, northwestern, north, and northeastern India during his teen years.

"After a few years, Alluri decided to go to the agency to meditate, leaving behind everything. The socio-economic conditions under the British regime, particularly in the tribal areas, deeply moved him. Looking at the suffering of the tribals, Alluri wanted to start a movement. He taught the tribals Ayurveda, educated them, and made them quit alcohol," said Alluri Srirama Raju.

A proud family

On India's 75th Independence Day, Alluri's family is spreading the message of inculcating patriotism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled a 30-feet-tall bronze statue of Alluri Sitarama Raju in Bhimavaram as part of the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrations. "It is a proud moment for the Alluri family to see Prime Minister talking about Alluri. Now, not just India, other countries are hearing stories about Alluri," said Srirama Raju who visited Delhi to be part of the 75th Independence Day celebrations.

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