Shri Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu was one of the foremost leaders of our freedom struggle. Through his dauntless courage and sacrifice he won widespread admiration. The people of Andhra Pradesh in particular, have derived much inspiration from his achievements as fighter, editor and political leader.
Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, the first Chief Minister of the Andhra State and the most popular Andhra leader of this country was born on 23rd of August 1872 at a village called Kanuparthi (then in Guntur district). He is popularly known as “Andhra Kesari”.
Early Life: His father Gopalakrishnayya was a village headman. He migrated to Nellore district where he secured a job of earning in Rs. 8 a month in the Venkatagiri estate. Prakasam Pantalu had his primary education at Nayudupeta. In 1880 when Prakasam Pantulu was only eight years of age, his father died and the burden of maintaining the family consisting of three young children fell on his mother, a courageous lady with an independent bent of mind. As she did not want to be a drag on her brother, she migrated to Ongole with her children and set up a private mess opposite the Munsiff’s court.
Education: Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu continued his studies in the Government Middle School at Ongole where he came under the influence of the Mathematics teacher, Immaneni Hanumantha Rao Naidu. Sri Naidu played a very important part in shaping the career of Prakasam. When Hanumantha Rao Naidu left Ongole for Rajahmundry to join his new post, Prakasam followed him and continued his studies there.
Rajahmundry was at that time an active centre of Telugu dramas. Popular dramas written by Chilakamarti Lakshmi Narasimham were frequently enacted. Tanguturi Prakasam was drawn towards the stage. He along with his mentor, Hanumantha Rao Naidu took leading roles in plays like Gayopakyanam. Prakasam was also involved in quarrels of different theatre companies. He became notorious as a “rowdy”. As a result of these activities, his studies were neglected and he failed in the Matriculation examination. But he managed to pass the examination in his second attempt. He then joined the F.A. class in the Government Arts College, Rajahmundry. He passed the F.A. examination when he was 19 years of age. He wanted to become a pleader, but was not allowed to take up the pleader’s examination on the grounds that he had “not yet cut his wisdom tooth.” He therefore waited for two years and joined the Madras Law College in 1893.
He started practice at Rajahmundry in 1897, and soon began to amass a fortune. He was involved in Municipal politics and became the Chairman of the Rajahmundry Municipality. In October 1903 he sailed for England to qualify himself as a barrister.
He returned to India in 1906 and set up practice at Madras in 1907. Mr. Justice Wallace advised Prakasam to set up practice in a moffusil town as he felt that an Andhra barrister could not face the competition from the Tamil lawyers of Mylapore. Prakasam did not accept this advice and decided to face the competition from the Tamil lawyers. Within two years he became a leading member of the Bar and usurped the entire practice relating to the Andhra districts. Prakasam began to take lively interest in the politics of the country. Soon after he had set up practice in Madras in 1907, Bipin Chandra Pal visited that city on a lecture tour. When no prominent citizen came forward to preside over the meetings of Pal, Tanguturi Prakasam came forward and presided over all the meetings of Pal in Madras. During the next fourteen years he had a lucrative practice. During this period he edited the journal Law Times. He went to England twice to argue cases before the Privy Council.
As Chief Minister: He served as Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from 30th April, 1946 to 23rd March, 1947. After Indian Independence, the state of Hyderabad was created on 1st October, 1953. Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu was elected on 1st October 1953.
Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu: A Beacon of Courage and Leadership
The annals of history are often illuminated by the remarkable lives of individuals who stand as pillars of courage and leadership. One such luminary is Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu, a name deeply etched in the history of the Andhra region’s freedom movement. Born on August 23, 1872, in the town of Kanuparthi, Ongole taluk, his indomitable spirit and resolute dedication to the cause of India’s independence earned him both admiration and recognition, even from the British officials of his time.
A Renaissance Man
Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu’s life was a tapestry woven with multiple talents. Not only was he a prominent lawyer, but he also shone as a student leader and a prolific writer. His literary prowess found expression in his autobiography titled “The Journey of My Life,” an invaluable testament to his multifaceted abilities. His quest for knowledge took him to London, where he earned his Bar at Law degree in 1904. Returning to India, he swiftly gained renown as an accomplished advocate within the Madras High Court, earning the respect of peers and adversaries alike between the years 1907 and 1920.
A Transformational Leap
However, Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu’s true mettle was revealed when he forsook his flourishing legal career to embrace the call of the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1928, he assumed a prominent role in leading a courageous procession against the controversial Simon Commission’s visit to Madras. His unwavering resolve and unyielding spirit were manifested in his audacious challenge to the reserve police stationed in Madras. He stood before them, baring his chest and daring them to shoot him. It was this fearless display of conviction that earned him the appellation “Andhra Kesari,” the Lion of Andhra.
A Life Behind Bars
The path of resistance was not devoid of sacrifices. Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu endured multiple imprisonments in his pursuit of a free and sovereign India. The bars of Madras and Vellore jails witnessed his steadfast dedication as he languished within their confines, a testament to his commitment to the cause. His contributions during the Quit India Movement further solidified his stature as a beacon of defiance against colonial rule.
The Legacy Lives On
In a monumental turn of events, Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu assumed the mantle of leadership as the first Chief Minister of Andhra State in October 1953. His governance was marked by his indelible imprint, an embodiment of the principles he had fought for throughout his life. However, the tapestry of his journey came to a close in May 1957, in Hyderabad, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire generations.
Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu’s life stands as a vivid testament to the power of conviction, the potency of courage, and the profundity of sacrifice. His name is woven into the fabric of India’s struggle for freedom, reminding us that the path to sovereignty is often paved with the resolute footsteps of leaders who dare to stand against the tides of oppression.