CONTEXT: 75 years of Independence:
I made a study of ten Telugu short stories that came on National movements for Freedom from the British. The short stories were written by the contemporary authors who either participated in the movements or had direct contact and close knowledge of the movements.
I shall attempt to analyze and interpret them keeping their historical context in view.
1: Legal Heir : Author- Not mentioned:
published in Andhra Patrika, Telugu New Year special issue dated 09 - 04 - 1913 :
The short Story portrayed as to how the kings and princes and estate landlords were betrayed and their wealth looted by the British rule making them addicts to British vices such as wines. There was a grand hotel at Bombay popular for the British vices. It looted the Indian wealth through vices and it flowed in Guinness to the British. The wealth of the Kong's dynasty was looted and the legal heir of the dynasty , Dinakararao was left with nothing. He was employed as a sub- inspector of police and provided livelihood. He was also addicted to the vices and was drowned in debts. His mother lived in a rented house and in utter poverty. She preserved the sword used by the kings of her dynasty as a proud historic symbol of her dynasty and it was made up of using gold and diamonds. Unable to tolerate the pains, pressures, insult and shames , she was left with no alternative except to sell the sword and pay back the debts.she did it and paid back the debts made by her son, Dinakararao.
The short story portrays her mental agony and suffering ,as a queen of a kingdom, with minute details and her dignified ethics while selling the sword and paying the debts made by her son.
The short story throws light on the true history of the British and their cruelty , inhumanity and the hateful and mean means they employed in looting Indian wealth. It makes the readers to shed tears while arousing the anger and hatred boiling the blood at the cruel British rule and their looting.
2: Khadi Lakshmi : Written by Kanuparti Varalakshmamma
Published in Andhra Patrika - Telugu New Year special issue -1924 :
The first world war took place in 1914 - 1918. The British sent the Indian army secretly to the war and declared that India was in the war without informing the Indian leaders. The British created a hope that the British would declare Freedom for India after the war was over. They deceived India brutally.In stead of declaring freedom for India, they made Rowlatt act and brought into use in 1919 depriving people of their civil rights. The Gandhi called for non-violent movement against the Act. It was beginning of the civil disobedience movement and the First movement started by the Gandhi. In Amritsar in Punjab, 1919, April 13, General Dyer got killed 379 participants and injured 1200 participants and the British Government supported his bloodshed. But and yet India continued its non-violent movements of civil disobedience. The movement of use of Swadeshi goods started in 1921. In July 1921, Foreign mill textiles were burnt throughout the country. On November 17, 1921, when Prince of Wales arrived at Bombay, the people conducted non - violent Hartal against the British.
The context of the short story brings to light on the glimpses of the history. It enlightens as to how the Khadi movement and the use of the Swadeshi goods spread everywhere including the villages and created employment and livelihood to the starving people in the difficult times of famine created by the British after the first world war exporting Indian food grains to other countries for their business profits.
Venkataswamy earned good profits in the textiles business and became well- to do. After the first world war, the prices of colour materials went high. He went into losses. A fire accident took p!ace and he lost his property and life. In such difficult times, his wife, Lakshmi took up Khadi work and maintained her family.
The short story affirmed as to how the Gandhian movements created employment and livelihood in the famine difficult times. The short story was enriched with realities of life and social living of those times.
3: Patriotism : Written by Gummadidala Durgabai
Published in Barati - monthly - October, 1929 :
The short story was written in the context of appointment of Simon Commission. The British parliament appointed Simon Commission to review the Constitution of India. No Indian was appointed as a member in the Commission. Lord Sinha, who was a member of the British parliament was also Not given place in the Commission. Indian Secretary Birkenhead told that India was not even eligible for Dominion Status. In such situation, all political parties in India boycotted the commission. On 1928, February 3 rd, when the members of the commission arrived at Bombay, boycott hartals were conducted all over India, with the voices " Simon, go back" and " India is for Indians only ". In the hartal at Lahore, a British police officer beat Lala Lajpat Rai ( Punjab Kesari )with his lathi and he echoed voicing " every beat on the Indian becomes a nail for the coffin of the British imperialism and rule." In the hartal at Madras, Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu( Andhra Kesari ) , forced himself towards the police officers shouting loudly " shoot me " and the police stepped back seeing the large crowds of people with him!
The short story brings to light such historical facts and truths and enlightens the readers.
Coming to the short story, a degree college student, Shyamasundarudu , on hearing the Gandhi's call thought within himself " for a degree of two letters, I am making my life useless! I am a fool! I should participate in the movements for freedom from the British and make my life useful " and left the college and participated in the movements. His brother working in the British government persuaded him not to participate in the movement in his vested interests. So, he left his house also and participated in the movements. There was another student , Leela who was participating in the movements. They married and both actively participated in the movements.
The short story brings to light on how the common and ordinary people and the youth with patriotism worked in the movements and made the movements successful.
The Gandhi was arrested on March 10th , 1922 and sentenced six years imprisonment. He called " the gates of the jails should be widened. Fight for freedom standing on the hanging death pillars in the jails, Not sitting in the councils, courts and colleges and schools" and went to the jail.
The short story portrayed the people's awakening and response to his call and the faith the people had in his leadership.
4: Renouncer : Written by Midavolu Padmavati
Published in Gruhalakshmi : monthly : January, 1931 :
The Congress working committee met at Sabarmati Ashramam on February 14th to 16th , 1930 and authorised the Gandhi to start non -violent civil disobedience movement for freedom from the British. " Salt tax was a perfect symbol of Imperialist exploitation of mankind's neediest " the Gandhi declared and started the movement. The Gandhi along with thousands of participants began preparation of salt at the Dandi village on 6th, April 1930 and continued till 13th, April 1930 and disobeyed and violated the British Salt Act.
In that context,the Gandhi made a call to the people " The government servants should resign from their jobs. The students should leave their colleges and schools. The sara ( alcohol ) and wine shops should be picketed. Foreign mill textiles should be burnt. Weave cotton thread. Eradicate untouchability. Build unity between the Hindus and Muslims." The second phase of Independence thus began arousing awareness and commitment amongst the people for making the movement successful. This is the soul and heart of the Gandhi's non-violent strategy with ' Not even a single drop of bloodshed from Indian side' which made the British declare Independence for India.
The short story was written and published in the context of the Salt Movement.
The mother said to her son " my dear son, when all are participating in the movements, why are you sitting in the house like a girl?! Why are you deaf to the call of the Mahatma Gandhi ?!" Rao had in his mind the intention of resigning his job and join the movement but he could not do it for the reason that he could not leave his mother alone in helpless situation and join in the movement. She understood the situation and said " Bharata Mata is more important than me!" She committed suicide secretly so that her son could work in the movement. He resigned for his job and joined in the movement immediately after her death.
The short story enlightens how the common people renounced even their lives for the freedom of mother India and how the Gandhian strategy and leadership could awaken the people at large to make the movements successful.
Could we think of such leadership in India in the present times?!
5: It entered in my house too : Written by Banda Kanakalingeswararao
Published in BHARATI- Telugu monthly - January, 1932 :
In 1902,Arabindo Ghosh, Lala Lajapatirai, Tilak and some other national leaders started a movement to ban import of British goods to India. In 1906, the Muslim League established by the Muslim landlords and businessmen in Bengal opposed the movement and it was hence and then named as Swadeshi movement. In 1907, the Congress Mahasabha held at Surat passed resolutions for abandonment of foreign goods, use of Swadeshi goods, for Indian education and for self-rule . It gave a healthy breath for development of Indian cottage industries and business. The Gandhi also in his Hind Swaraj - Indian Self Rule -1909 , mentioned use of Indian hand made goods as a strategy of movement. The movement of use of Swadeshi goods and Khadi movement strengthened as part of all national movements. The Gandhi ran the Khadi movement through his - Young India - paper from the Jail. He was released from the Jail in February, 1924. He made it a policy that everyone whoever wants to become a member of Congress should weave 2000 yards of cotton thread and it was accepted by the people. This step helped Khadi movement to develop as source of earning livelihood for the people.
In 1930, the Gandhi started his second phase of Civil Disobedience movement and in that context made a call to burn foreign textiles and use of hand woven cotton cloth,that is Khadi cloth. The movement spread everywhere in India and it made every house to have a spinning wheel and weave cotton thread and make cotton clothes.
The short story was written in the context of Khadi movement.
Deputy collector, Narayanarao was a selfish man. He, in his vested interests of ten acres of wet land and for the title of RAOSAHEB, used to suppress the movement and send the leaders and the people to the jails. His son, Suridu, had a friend called Ramudu and he found Ramudu's mother weaving cotton thread using spinning wheel. He learn from her weaving using spinning wheel. He got a spinning wheel unknown to his father and started weaving in his house singing songs on the movement. Narayanarao observed it and was afraid of losing his job. He could not stop his son from doing it. He, therefore used to buy and bring cotton materials secretly and give his son.
The short story brings to light how the Swadeshi movement entered every house and became successful not only as a political movement for freedom from the British, but also as means of earning livelihood.
It also brings to light how even the school students also participated in the movements inspired by the calls of the leaders.
6: Neelaveni : Written by Rayasam Venkatasivudu
Published in Bharati - Monthly - December, 1934 :
The short story portrays the facts and truths of non-violent salt movement that occurred and continued from 6th April, 1930 to 13th April, 1930 at Dandi under the leadership of the Gandhi. The movement took place in Andhra in large scale at the coasts at Bandaru, Gunturu, East Godavari, West Godavari, Nellore, Vizag and Madras. In the movement throughout India, lakhs of leaders and participants were put in the Jails. Hundreds of participants lost their lives in the movement at the hands of the British suppression. Adding to all that, there were miserable conditions of famine. From both the Indian side and the British side, a fear arose that it would lead to huge bloodshed. Talks were held between the Gandhi and Irwing, viceroy of India between 17th February, 1931 to 5th March, 1931 and Gandhi - Irwing Pact was signed. The British agreed to form' Responsible Government' in India, but there was no mention of complete freedom from the British rule. According to the pact, the movement was called back from the Indian side and all the prisoners were released from the British side.
The short story was written in the context of the Salt Movement and the Gandhi- Irwin Pact.
Prasadarao, who participated in the Salt Movement was tortured by the police. He was found fallen unconscious by the fishermen of Neelivada village. They saved him. Neelamma, a fishergirl took care of him to recover from the police torture. He recovered and she also grew up as an activist. They both married and worked in the movement together. They were arrested and sent to jail. After the Gandhi- Irwin Pact, they were released from the Jail. They continued to work in the movements together more actively for freedom for India after release from the Jail.
The short story throws light on some worthy aspects of the movements. It shows how the people and the youth of all classes and castes selflessly participated in the movements for freedom. The movement for social reforms and Freedom joined hands together and progressed strengthening each other. Intercaste marriages took place. The untouchability began to be eradicated.
The short story presented the realistic view of the achievements of those movements.
7: Telugu Samkramti : Bhogipanduga : Written by Vajjhala Venkateswarakavi
Published by Gruhalakhmi - Monthly - January, 1935 :
Social reforms were used as part of the movement for building UNITY amongst the people. The Gandhi learnt from Ramayanam that there was no concept of Untouchability in Hinduism. He said " In my opinion, Untouchability is a blot on humanity and therefore upon Hinduism. It can not stand the test of reason. It is in conflict with the fundamental perspectives of Hinduism "
The short story was written in the spirit of what the Gandhi said on Untouchability and how untouchability began to be eradicated.
The bread earner of the house was jailed when he participated in the movement of burning the Foreign textiles. His wife and four children were facing lot of difficulties to meet the minimum needs. She used to earn by weaving cotton thread and kill their hunger. She saved small amount out of her small earnings and prepared good food and sweets for the festival. They sat together to eat the food eagerly. It was a Brahmin family. At that time, a scheduled caste Mala girl came there and told the that they had no food to eat for the last two days. The Brahmin woman collected the food served to her children and took the collected food to the girl's shed and gave to the girl's mother. They ate the food with immense joy with gratefulness. The Brahmin children also felt happy for what their mother did.
The short story portrayed how the Untouchability was eradicated in the movement times. It showed how the dreadful poverty was created by the British cruel looting.
8: Third Man on the Wall : Written by Gopichand
Published in Andhra Prabha - Daily News paper - Sunday Special : 1945 :
In the First world war( 1914 - 1918 ), the British army made war against Ottaman Regime in Turkey and made them flee towards the Arab regions. In that context, Khilafat movement started in India to hand over the political power to Calipha in Turkey. Indian National Congress supported the movement. The All- India Muslim League under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Indian National Congress joined hands and worked together in the movement. Mohammad Ali Jinnah separated Muslim League from the Congress in 1924. He declared in 1925 that the Muslims need protection from the majority of the Hindus and that the Muslim League in India was the only representative party for Muslims in India. He was leader of the Muslim League since 1913.
He demanded in 1935 a separate Muslim Nation for Muslims. The Communists also supported - Separate Muslim Home Land . But,the Gandhi and the Congress leaders determined that Unity should be built between the Hindus and Muslims to be freed from the British rule and for Independence. The British always applied their - divide and rule - policy and supported the Ambedkar for eradication of Castes while the Gandhi wanted eradication of untouchability amongst the castes and Mohammad Ali Jinnah for separate Muslim Nation to create disunity and make the freedom movement fail to perpetuate British rule in India.
The short story was written in the context of building UNITY between the Hindus and Muslims.
Khasim Khan and Seetharamayya and their families lived with close friendship respecting each others traditions and culture. The religious conflicts and struggles arose through out India and in their village also. The British army set up a unit at the village in the name of maintaining peace, but they aggravated the conflicts secretly in their vested interests of building disunity amongst the Hindus and the Muslims. It led to enmity between Khasim Khan and Seetharamayya and their families. Both of them realised that it was the conspiracy of the British. They together collapsed the wall built by the British between the Hindus and Muslims and as a result, the British sitting on the wall with their conspiracy itself collapsed.
The short story enlightened people to understand the British conspiracy and that that the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims could make the British declare freedom and Independence and leave India.
9: The Only Saree : Written by Veluri Sivarama Sastry
Published in his short story collection of Katha Bharati : 1985 :
The Capitalism in India is altogether different from the western and other capitalisms. I understand that it is imperialistic capitalism.
The British Parliament made a Charter Act in 1833. It permitted the British citizens to settle in India, to purchase lands and properties and do business. Many British companies began business in India.
The British made an Act in 1813 permitting the Christianity to operate in India. The British government gave many benefits, incentives, rights, appointments and promotions in higher positions to the converts and thereby spread Christianity in India.
In 1853, the British made another Charter act establishing Indian civil services to carry out their despotic rule and help aggravate economic looting of Indian wealth.
Romesh Chander Dutt proved that high incidence of land tax, production of raw materials in India for British Industries, the consumption of British manufactures in India, heavy home charges and military expenditure were the main causes of utter poverty and famines in India.( Economic History of India- 1904 - 2 volts by Romesh Chander Dutt).
The above British Acts and such other acts were brought into use as step by step preparation with political motive of making India British India.
The Economic motive was dreadful. The British government was looting the Indian wealth as proved by Romesh Chanderdutt.
With the above Acts, they created a second method, means and source of looting Indian wealth by the British capitalists and businessmen. The second source of looting Indian wealth could be safely called as Imperialistic Capitalism.
Why I have referred to the Imperialistic Capitalism is that it did not end in India on India getting the freedom and Independence , but it continued and continuing in India during the 75 years of democracy in one way or other in looting the people and the national public ( government ) wealth. When democracy began to move in the direction of one party - one family - one person, the Imperialistic
Capitalism began to grow high. It made many politicians as imperialistic capitalists With the result that political power and economic power accumulated in the hands of family and professional politicians reducing the people to the helpless state with nothing in their hands except to vote for the Imperialistic capitalist politicians. It also made hundreds of imperialistic capitalists who find place in the lists of the world's richest. It is the naked truth before the eyes of the people.
The short story brings to light that naked truth.
Nagaraju of that village was a very rich man. He owned lands, mills, buildings and such properties. He was so rich that the whole wealth of that village belonged to him. When he found that the villagers were starving, he arranged supply of boiled rice water with salt to the villagers. He found a woman, Matharamma working in his mill came and drank the boiled rice water. He also found that used Saree was given to her by his wife. After some minutes, he found another woman in the same Saree drinking boiled rice water. He understood that Matharamma and her daughter- in- law had only one Saree which had no tears and they wore it when they went outside one after another and while in the house, they wore the sarees with tears.
Nagaraju represents the Imperialistic capitalist politician.
The women with only one Saree represent the miserable living conditions of the poor people. The only one saree unfolds the true economic history of India.
10: Patriotists : Written by Seetharam
Published in BHARATI - Monthly - May, 1946 :
The Quit India Movement was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All- India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 9th August, 1942, during second World War demanding an end to the British rule in India. The movement demanded an orderly British Withdrawl from India. Almost, the entire leadership of the Indian National Congress was imprisoned without trial within hours of the Gandhi's speech.
The short story portrayed the true incidents of cruel and brutal torture of the patriotists by the British police.
Madhu and Santhi were patriotists who worked actively in the movement. Madhu and all the men in the village were imprisoned and put in the jail. The British police and army men raped the women in the village brutally and cruelly. Santhi saw it, took a gun from the police and fired and killed three rapists. Ten army men saw it, raped her and killed her. Madhu was beaten daily by the police with a whip and he also died with the torture in the jail along with many prisoners.
The short story is a true evidence of brutal and cruel suppressions, tortures, killings and rapes of the British and of their police and army.
The study portrayed the glimpses of historic importance with realities, facts and truths of the freedom movement.
It portrayed the historic selfless sacrifices made by the people for freedom and Independence along with their troubles, sufferings, tortures,
Imprisonment, deaths and rapes with realities, facts and truths.
It is a study of true history of the people in the freedom movement Through Literature.
Literature is the heartbeats , voices and aspirations of the people and a social revolution.
History speaks of the rulers and leaders. Literature being a minute investigation and study, speaks of the people.