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

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Digavalli Venkata Sivarao

East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

June 30, 2022

Digavalli Venkata Sivarao was a well-known freedom fighter and lawyer. He was born on 14 February 1898 in Kakinada, East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to Niyogi Brahmin parents Venkata Ratnam and Saryamanikyamba. He was married to Kamala. In 1910, he attended Veeresalingam School in Rajahmundry and completed his S.S.L.C. Intermediate at Madras Presidency College in 1916 and B.A. in 1918-1920. He then completed his B.L. (1920-1922) from Madras Law College. From 1922 onwards Sivarao started practicing as a lawyer in Vijayawada. An ardent Gandhian, he made a significant contribution to the many satyagraha movements introduced by Gandhiji. During the Salt Satyagraha and Non-cooperation Movement, Sivarao published six pamphlets for political knowledge for the Congress workers to make them aware of the injustices perpetrated by the British government. Some of these publications like Satyagraha Charitra, Nirbhagya Bharatamu, Dharidra Narayaniyam, etc. that were published by Krishna District Congress were banned by the British Government in 1933. During Gandhiji's call for independence from 1930 to 1947, he utilized his literary, political and legal knowledge to send information on Andhra and Madras provinces to the Congress leaders. He facilitated the two-way flow of authentic information between the leaders of the freedom movement and political workers by translating the information and activities of the Congress National Leaders from English to Telugu and the writings of Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders from Telugu into English. He also chaired the Krishna District Congress Publicity Committee. His book Satyagrahabodhi was published in Vijayawada in 1930 in conjunction with the day Gandhiji brought salt prepared in Sabarmati. In the first treason case against him, he became a lawyer himself. He also acted as amicus curiae for many of the leaders arrested as part of the Salt Satyagraha. In 1947, he was elected President of the Bejwada Bar Association 1947. In the cooperative movement, he served as the director of the Krishna District Co-operative Society. His wife Kamala died in 1978. His literary work continued. He authored nearly 45 books and 400 articles, before passing away on 30 October 1992 at the age of 95.