Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Kotamarthi Kanaka Mahalakshmi

West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

June 30, 2022

Kotamarthi Kanaka Mahalakshmi (1860-1962) was born on 30 September 1860 at village Gunupudi, located in the Bhimavaram Taluka of the West Godavari District to Veluri Suryanarayana and Venkamma. She was just five years old when her wedding took place. She is the mother of six children. She lost her husband when she was 30 years old. During that period, she took part in the Salt Satyagraha campaign. She spoke eloquently in a public meeting that was held on 25 April 1930 at Bhimavaram to protest against the arrests of Dandu Narayana Raju and Atmakuri Govindachari. With her characteristic wit and humor, she spoke on the significance of wearing khadi clothes and the requirement for the youth to come forward in large numbers to fill the jails. She was arrested under Section 108, and sentenced to imprisonment on the charges that she had made an inflammatory speech on 8 June 1930 at Bhimavaram condemning the arrest of Geda Raghunayakulu and others at Nallajerala. She was imprisoned for six months in the Vellore Jail in 1930. She again participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement; she was sentenced to a year in prison in 1932 for Individual Satyagraha. She was imprisoned in the Vellore and Cuddalore prisons after being accused many times during the Satyagraha campaign. On 15 January 1941, she was given a sentence of six months in prison and a fine of Rs. 5/-. She actively contributed to the betterment of the Harijan community and the spread of khadi; served as a member of the committees for both the Taluka and the District Congress for a number of years. At 1952, Swami Sitaram organized a Satyagraha in Bhimavaram on behalf of the Andhra State Movement. As part of this event, she participated in a hunger strike for seven days, during which time she did not consume any food. She passed away on 12 January 1962, at the age of 102 years.