Comrade Mallu Swarajyam The Iron Lady of Telangana


The Iron Lady led the Telangana armed struggle to liberate this region from Nizam rule and fought against landlords in the interest of the poor

She awakened the tribals in Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts during the armed struggle. She used to attract the people towards the movement though her folk songs written in Telangana dialect

Nalgonda: The Iron Lady of Telangana, Mallu Swarajyamis, who led the Telangana armed struggle to liberate this region from Nizam rule and fought against landlords in the interest of the poor, is no more. She breathed her last while undergoing treatment for lungs infection at Care Hospital in Hyderabad on Saturday. she was 91 .

Family background Mallu Swarajyam was born in Kothagudem of Tungaturti mandal in Suryapet district in 1931. Her home is Karivrala village of Suryapet Taluka of Nalgonda district. Her parents were Bhimireddy Chokkamma, Rami Reddy. Also Read – Chemveda to invest Rs 150 crore in Telangana ADVERTISEMENT She is sister of revolutionary leader Bhimireddy Narasimhareddy, who is a famous Telangana warrior and parliamentarian from Nalgonda district. She had four siblings namely B N Reddy, Shashi Rekha, Swarajyam , Mallu Sarswathi and Kushalava Reddy. She was the third child of her parents. Her father Rami Reddy passed away when she was 7 years old. Also Read – University of Hyderabad researchers publish paper on step-efficient synthesis of Tamoxifen Even though she was born in a feudal family but worked for the betterment of downtrodden. Swarajyam, who along with his brother took part in the Telangana armed struggle, had displayed supreme bravery and was an inspiration to many women. In those days when it was a sin for women to step out of the house, she dared to tour villages and enlightened the people through her songs and lectures.

She awakened the tribals in Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts during the armed struggle. She used to attract the people towards the movement though her folk songs written in Telangana dialect. Few co-activists of Telangana armed struggle who knew her stamina and fighting nature used to call her as leopard. Struggle was her way of life She played an active role in the heroic armed struggle by organising guerrilla forces during the period 1945-48 which rocked the Nizam government. She prevented Nizam’s private force Razakar by motivating people against them. Razakars got shocked with Mallu Swarjayam dalam activities. She went underground for some time on the advice of co-activists. Razakars burnt their house in 1947-48 and announced a prize money of Rs 40,000 on her head if anyone informed about her whereabouts.

Marriage After Telangana armed struggle, she married a co-activist and strategist comrade Mallu Venkata Narsimha Reddy. They got married modestly at the residence of Devulapalli Venkateswara Rao in Old MLA Quarters, Hyderabad in 1954 in the presence of veteran Communist leaders of the armed struggle Baddam Ellareddy, Chandra Rajeshwara Rao and Devulapalli Venkateswara Rao. They just exchanged garlands and got married without any fanfare. Political life Mallu Swarajyam continued to play an active role in politics after the end of the armed struggle. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly twice in 1978 and 1983 from Thungaturthi constituency from CPI (M) ticket and rendered valuable services to the people of not only her constituency but also in the entire State. She served as the general secretary of the State women’s Association of CPI( M). She served as member of editorial board of the magazine “Chaitanya Manavi” run by women activists with leftist ideology. About her family Mallu Swarajyam –Venkat Narasimha Reddy couple had two sons Gautham and Nagarjuna and a daughter Paduri Karuna who contested as MP from the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat in 2009 on behalf of “Prajarajyam Party”. At present, she is one of the national leaders in BJP. Mallu Swarajyam’s biography was brought out in the form of the book “Naa Mate Tupaki Toota” by authors Vimala and Katyayani. Irrespective of parties, Minister Jagadish Reddy, Legislative Council Chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy, Nalgonda and Bhongir MPs Uttam Kumar Reddy and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and others expressed their deep condolence to Mallu family. Mallu Swarajyam’s last rites will be held in Nalgonda on Sunday.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) deeply mourns the passing away of one of the stalwarts of the Communist women’s movement in India and a founding leader of our organisation, Comrade Mallu Swarajyam. We dip the AIDWA flag to honour her life-long dedication to the ideal of emancipation of the labouring people, and labouring women in particular.

She was born in 1930-31 in a small landlord family in Suryapet in the Telangana region which was at that time a part of the Nizam-ruled princely state of Hyderabad. Mallu Swarajyam lost her father at an early age and grew up under the tutelage of her mother who named her ‘Swarajyam’ after hearing of Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha. Under the influence of her elder brother she was drawn while still in her early teens into the activities of the Freedom Movement through Andhra Mahila Sabha where apart from physical training she also got her first lessons in politics. The peasant movement against forced labour was starting at that time. The platform of Andhra Mahasabha, formed in opposition to the autocratic, anti-people rule of the Nizam, was activated by the communists and turned into the pivot of peasant struggle against the oppressive feudal practices prevalent under the Nizam’s rule. Andhra Mahila Sabha was a wing of this.

From 1944, the clashes between the landlords and the peasants were taken to a new height and Swarajyam who was given the membership of the Communist Party in 1946 when she was about 16 years old became fully involved in the Telangana peasants’ movement. In large areas, the movement succeeded in driving out the landlords, in distributing land to the landless and for a period of 12 to 18 months in establishing gram raj in these areas. Swarajyam was made the organizer of this militant movement in 1946 in Suryapet taluka and gave able leadership as guerrilla tactician and commander. Her experience as a militant also brought her face to face with forms of oppression from which peasant women suffered both at home and from class enemies. She and her comrades formed not only women’s fighting units, but also fought against wife-beating, forced marriages and alcoholism.

From 1948 until the Telangana struggle was officially called off by the Communist Party in October 1951, Swarajyam remained in the Godavari forest regions with the Koya tribals and led the guerrilla forces as the commander of a dalam or fighting unit. In spite of all the hardships and dangers she faced, she said, ‘We lived in great joy in the jungle!’ The Nizam’s government had announced a reward of Rs. 10,000 for her capture, but she managed to evade arrest because of the support of the people among whom she lived.

She joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) when the party split in 1964 and at the behest of the party, fought the assembly elections in 1978 and became MLA. ‘I worked as an MLA with the spirit of a Telangana guerrilla fighter, only this time the channels I used were legal’. She retained this fighting spirit and the sense of commitment till the last days of her life. She with other veteran women leaders in the region continued to build up the women’s organisation, Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sangham and after the formation of AIDWA in 1981 became the President of the Andhra Pradesh unit (1981-2001). She was a state committee member of CPI(M) in Andhra Pradesh and was elected to its central committee in 2002. She spoke of herself as a ‘field worker of the movement’ and till the last days of her life this spirit of struggle shone out through all the bodily infirmity brought on by age. We are proud to think that it is this inheritance she has left for our organisation and hope that we may prove ourselves to be worthy of it.

Long live, comrade Swarajyam! Remain a guiding light to AIDWA

courtesy Hans India and Aidwa