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Freedom fighter Vavilala dies at 95
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | April 29, 2003 22:26 IST
Freedom fighter Vavilala Gopalakrishnayya passed away in the early hours of Tuesday in Hyderabad. He was 95.
Gopalakrishnayya, who was ailing for quite some time, was undergoing treatment at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences. His condition worsened on Monday night and despite the efforts of doctors, he died at 0440 IST.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Health Minister Dr Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, politicians and other prominent people from different walks of life visited the hospital and paid floral tributes to the man who was popularly known as Vavilala.
Later, his body was flown by helicopter to Sattenapalli in Guntur district where the last rites were performed with full state honours.
Vavilala was a popular legislator in the 1950s and 1960s and religiously followed the Gandhian philosophy. A contemporary of 'Andhra Kesari' Tangturi Prakasam, first chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, and opposition stalwart Tenneti Vishwanatham, Vavilala was compared to prime ministers Gulzari Lal Nanda and Lal Bahadur Shastri for his simplicity, clean character, and selfless service. He was a bachelor.
Born in 1908, he started his career as a journalist, but soon got actively involved in the freedom struggle. After Independence, he was elected to the assembly of the Madras Presidency in 1952, the Andhra assembly in 1955, and the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1962 and 1967 from Sattenapalli. On all four occasions, he was elected as an independent with the support of the undivided Communist Party of India. He was also associated with the cooperative movement and the library movement in Andhra Pradesh.
In his long political life, Vavilala participated in almost all major agitations in the state, including the Vishalandhra movement for the formation of Andhra Pradesh in the mid-1950s, the Nandigonda project agitation in Guntur, and farmers' agitations. He also participated in the anti-arrack agitation and the movement for total prohibition in the state in the 1990s. Vavilala was chairman of a state-level implementation committee for total prohibition before the ban on Indian-made foreign liquor was relaxed in 1997.
He was also chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Official Language Commission. Andhra University honoured him with the award of Kalaprapurna. He was also conferred the title of Padma Bhushan by the central government.
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