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Dadala Raphael Ramanayya

(1908 – 1991) – (Puducherry)

Dadala Raphael Ramanayya (Aged 83) was born on 30 June 1908 and was an Indian nationalist leader who played a key role in the merger of the French territory of Yanam into the Republic of India. During his student days in February 1932, on the occasion of Mardi Gras and a fancy dress procession, a few European students were seen misbehaving with some girls from a high family in public.

Despite petitions being filed against the European students, the governor dismissed the petitions. Ramanayya was indignant when the sons of the governor and other high officials escaped without even apologizing to the parents of the girls. He organized a student group to protest and beat up some European students in retaliation. Although he was immediately arrested along with another student, he was ordered to be released by the Governor of Pondicherry due to a great public outcry. Later, he passed a competitive examination for appointment as a Sub-Inspector of Police in Mudaliarpet with high marks.

On 13 April 1954, Ramanayya arrived in Yanam to explore the possibility of its independence from the French. However, he soon realized that Yanam was dominated by a pro-French atmosphere and there were no signs of living nationalism. On 14 April 1954, he proceeded to Kakinada, a border town to Yanam in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh State in India, where he met with all the district leaders and officials for help and aid.

Additionally, he purchased a large number of Indian National Congress flags and started a house-to-house campaign, requesting students and their leaders to organize a meeting in the town hall grounds. Once the meetings were organized, he urged the people to help him in his struggle for the liberation of Yanam and incited patriotism in their young minds. Within a few days, he was able to create an anti-French atmosphere in the surroundings. He passed away on 5 May 1991.