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

Unsung Heroes Detail

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Maganti Annapurna Devi

West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

June 30, 2022

Maganti Annapurna Devi (1900-1927) was from the Chataparru Eluru taluka in the West Godavari district. She was born on 10 March 1900 to Kalagara Ramaswamy and Pichamma. She had her initial education at Misson school at Guntur and Brahmo Girls School at Calcutta. She appeared privately matriculation examination at the Madras University. An excellent translator, she authored Sitaramam, a volume of prose in 1917 that was used as a textbook in high school classrooms. She has translated a number of works into Telugu, including Vivaha Mangalam, Navavarsha Swapnam, Aurobind’s Letters, and Leelamrutam (3 parts). Naari, an independent novel, was also written by her. She was married to Maganti Bapineedu in 1920. When she was about to leave for the United States for higher studies in 1920, Gandhiji's call for the freedom struggle drew her in. She abandoned the idea of going abroad for higher studies and immersed herself in the freedom struggle. She set fire to all her expensive sarees worth 1200 rupees that she had purchased for her American journey. The year 1921 was a significant year for her. Gandhi visited Andhra Pradesh on 31 March and 1 April to promote the Tilak Swarajya Fund. When Gandhiji visited Eluru, people came forward to give to the Tilak Swarajya fund, and women came forward to donate their jewellery. Maganti Annapurna Devi was one of the first women to sacrifice opulent jewels, bangles, and heavy gold chains, and to abandon foreign garments in favor of khaddar. When asked by Gandhiji if she received permission from her parents, she said, ‘My folks do not meddle with me. They let me do whatever I want.’ In the words of Gandhiji; “So far as I remember, she is the first lady who gave away all her ornaments to me.” Annapurna had a distinct advantage in having such high-minded and indulgent parents. On 1 March 1927, she gave birth to Jhansi Lakshmi Bai. Her health eventually deteriorated, and she died on 9 March 1927, at the age of 27.

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