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Dusanapudi Virataraju

West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

March 17, 2023 to March 17, 2024

Dusanapudi Virataraju was born on 22.07.1921, to Narasiah and Somamma in Ravula Parru village of Guntur district. He received his education in Ravulaparru and Narayanapuram, where he had the opportunity to study alongside Chithalapati Varaprasadamurthyraju, Chitturi Subbarao Chaudhary, and Jawwadi Sriranganayakulu. During this time, he drew inspiration from the speeches of national leaders. When he was just 12 years old in 1933, Mahatma Gandhi visited Tadepalligudem from Ravulaparru near Guntur. Virataraju was so moved by Gandhi's speech that he walked alongside him, and it left a lasting impact on him.

He was actively involved in distributing the clandestine magazine Swatantra Bharat against British rule in Tadepalligudem taluka. Despite the ban on this publication, it took the police several months to track him down, and he was eventually arrested in the village of Kakarl Mudi. Despite being subjected to torture to reveal the source of the magazines, Virataraju remained silent. He was later produced in court on charges of treason and was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 100. However, as he believed that he had done nothing wrong, he chose to serve the sentence in Allipuram, Caddalur, and Coimbatore jails instead of paying the fine, which he felt was unjust for a crime he did not commit.

After completing political training classes in jail, Virataraju became a communist. Upon his release from jail in 1940, he fought for farmers' rights on survey lands in Kolleru, leading to a village boycott imposed on him and others to maintain law and order in 1943. In 1944, he worked as a Communist party organizer in Chintalapudi taluk. Following the passage of the Prakasham Ordinance in 1946, which banned the Communist party, he went into hiding. With India's independence in 1947, he had the opportunity to hoist the national flag in Guntur. On 26.12.1947, he married Namumbayamma. Later, he was arrested and served a 40-day sentence in 1970 for his role in the struggle against land occupation. He was arrested again on 25.06.1975, for opposing the state of emergency.

Virataraja, in his later years, encouraged his sons and daughters to enter into inter-caste marriages. In recognition of his efforts, he was awarded a Tamra Patra by the central government in 1972. He passed away on 2.11.2008 in Tadepalligudem.

Source: Somisetty Sarala, Scholar, CCRT