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

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Maharshi Sri Bulusu Sambamurthy

East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

June 30, 2022

Maharshi Sri Bulusu Sambamurthy was a great man who sacrificed everything for the country. He worked tirelessly for the independence of India, the separate state of Andhra Pradesh, and Vishal Andhra. He was born on 4 March 1886 in the Velanati Brahmin family in Dolla village in East Godavari district. He graduated with a degree from the University of Madras. For some time he worked as a lecturer at the Maharajadigri College in Vijayanagar. In1911, he graduated B.L. and started his law practice in Kakinada. Soon he became famous as a great criminal lawyer and he used to attend cases in Kakinada, Peddapuram, and Rajahmundry. In 1919 at the age of 33 at the call of Gandhi ji, he abandoned the lawyer profession and participated in the independence movement.

He was involved in the Home Rule movement during the First World War. When the ban was imposed on the National flag in Nagpur, he joined the satyagraha in July 1923 and played a key role in the success of the Nagpur Satyagraha. In December 1923, when the annual general meeting of the Indian National Congress was held in Kakinada, he was given the charge as Reception Secretary. In spite of the death of his only son he effectively carried out the duty given to him with unwavering dedication. He also took an active part in the agitation against the Simon Commission in 1929 and was imprisoned several times. He participated in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 and played a leading role. He vowed not to eat salt until all taxes on salt had been abolished. He was severely beaten by police with batons while addressing a historic gathering in Kakinada as part of the Civil Disobedience Movement against the British rulers.

The statue of General Neil, who committed various acts of anarchy during the 1857 uprising, was kept near the Madras High Court and a Satyagraha was organized to remove it. After C. Rajagopalachari finally became the Prime Minister, the statue was sent to the Madras Museum in 1937.

Sambamurthy became the President of the Hindustani Seva Dal, run by Dr. N.S. Hardikar. He worked for the advancement of Harijans and women and actively raised the demand for absolute independence as a member of the All-Indian Congress Committee. He successfully served as the Chairman and Secretary of the Andhra Provincial Congress Committee. He played a key role with Sri Prakasam in the huge victory to Congress in the 1937 general elections for the Provincial Assembly in Andhra in Madras province. He was later elected as Speaker of the Provincial Assembly. He established Chennapuri Andhra Mahasabha to address the social and cultural life of local Andhra residents. He encouraged Maharaja Kumar Vijayananda of Vijayanagar to lead the Andhra Mahasabha. When Sri Potti Sriram decided to go on a hunger strike till death demanding the formation of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Sambamurthy gave him shelter at his residence when no one came forward. Sambamurthy differed from the policy and program of the Rajagopalachari and the Congress High Command during World War II. He was also opposed by eminent academics like C.R Reddy. It was for these reasons that he lost the Provincial Assembly elections in 1946 but he won the first general election in 1952 as a Praja Party candidate.

After losing his wife and a place in public life, he returned to his hometown of Kakinada. Throughout his life, he was known as a Maharshi for his selfless service and fearless sacrifice. In spite of sacrificing everything for the country, he died in poverty on 3 February 1958 as a neglected patriot.