Born on 16 March 1901, in Madras (Chennai), Sriramulu spent his formative years in the city his family had made home after moving from their native Guntur district.
Despite a relatively comfortable life, Sriramulu was deeply immersed in the freedom struggle, but a series of personal tragedies drove him to leave behind material pursuits. In 1928, his wife died during childbirth, and a few days later, so did his child. Following the passing of his mother, Sriramulu gave up his government job in 1930 to join Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha for which he was imprisoned. He would go onto play an active role in the Quit India Movement in 1942 and was jailed alongside Gandhi.
However, Sriramulu was his own man as well. Besides fighting for India’s freedom, he also took up the cause for greater social and economic emancipation of the Dalit community. While other Congressmen were focussed on breaking free from the British, Sriramulu undertook a fast unto death demanding that all temples in the Madras Province be open to the Dalit community. He continued the fast until Gandhi persuaded him to break it.
Following Gandhi’s death, however, Sriramulu took up the cause for a separate state for Telugu-speaking areas. After his death because of fasting for 58 days the Telugu-speaking area of Andhra State was carved out of Madras State on 1 October 1953 with Kurnool as its capital city. More than three years later, on 1 November 1956, Andhra Pradesh came into existence with Hyderabad as its capital.
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