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Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya

(1889 – 1928) – (Andhra Pradesh)

Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya (Aged 39) was born on 2 June 1889, Penuganchiprolu in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh India. He was a notable Indian freedom fighter and a member of the Indian National Congress. He was known by his title of Andhra Ratna, and was a captivating poet, speaker, songwriter, philosopher, singer, and an extraordinary revolutionary with a philosophy of non-violence.

During his time in Guntur, he became involved in Annie Besant’s Home Rule Movement. In 1919, he gave up his teaching career to become a full-time political activist. He attended the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress in 1920 where he was attracted to the idea of non-cooperation that the Congress endorsed.

Gopalakrishnayya is perhaps best known for the anti-tax Satyagraha he led in Chirala during the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1925, when C R Das and Motilal Nehru founded the Swarajya Party, Gopalakrishnayya joined it and became one of its secretaries from Andhra.

The Congress Party’s headquarters in Vijayawada, the Andhra Ratna Bhavan, is named after Gopalakrishnayya. He was a polyglot fluent in Sanskrit, Telugu, Hindi, and English, and an extempore composer of verse. He was a powerful orator and set up the Andhra Vidya Peetha Gosthi, a literary society but gave primacy to his political career over his literary talents.

A bronze statue of him, unveiled by K Kamaraj, stands in Chirala. He passed away 10 June 1928, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh India.