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Ponaka Kanakamma

(1892 – 1963) – (Andhra Pradesh)


Ponaka Kanakamma (Aged 71) was born on 10 June 1892 Minagallu, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India. She was an Indian social worker, activist and freedom fighter who was imprisoned for over a year as a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. She hailed from a wealthy landlord community and married her maternal uncle Subbarama Reddy, a rich landlord from Potlapudi Village near Nellore.

In 1907, when Bipin Chandra Pal and his wife visited Nellore in connection with the ‘Vande Mataram Movement’, Kanakamma hosted the couple, despite being only 16 years old at the time.

With the help of her youngest brother-in-law Pattabhiramareddy, who was involved in the Library movement, Kanakamma established “Sujana Ranjani samajam” and “Vivekananda Granthalayam” in Potlapudi village near Nellore to serve the society.

From 1916 to 1919, for a brief period, she was under the spell of revolutionary politics and later became an ardent disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. She purchased 13 acres of land in Pallipadu village, about 8 miles from Nellore on the banks of the river Penna and handed over the land to her revolutionary friends for concealing firearms and for firing practice. When she became a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, she donated the land to establish the “Pinakini Satyagrahasramam”.

Kanakamma founded Sri Kasturidevi Vidyalam, a large school for girls in Nellore. On Gandhi Jayanti in 2017, her bronze statue was erected on the premises of Pinakini Satyagrahasramam in Pallipadu by the Ashram Committee. She passed away by 15 September 1963, Nellore.