She was a doctor, freedom fighter, communist, health activist and cultural worker. That's 5 things more than just any lady in power in India today. 100 years after she was born, meet her again today.
Asmita Resource Centre, along with Dr Komarraju Acchamamba Centenary Committee, is organising the centenary celebrations of Dr Komarraju Acchamamba, a doctor, freedom fighter, communist, health activist and cultural worker, on 6th October, at Sundarayya Vignana Kendra.
Asmita is celebrating Dr Acchamamba's centenary year with a series of meetings in most districts of Andhra Pradesh, beginning with Vijayawada, where she lived and died, and concluding with Hyderabad. The meetings comemmorate her contribution and raise awareness on the cross-cutting issues of violence, health, human rights and culture, that were so central to her ideology.
Dr Acchamamba's colleagues Mallu Swarajyam, Kandapalli Kateshwaramma, Tapi Rajamma and Satyavati will be felicitated by Padmasri Jeelani Bano, followed by speeches sharing their memories of the eminent lady. There will be a literary ballet called Voices From History, in which renowned writers like Mrinalini, Volga, Vindhya, Jupaka Subhadra and Sudha will participate.
Dr Acchamamba (1906-1964) pointed out at the beginning of the century that health was a political issue. Her father Komarraju Lakshmana Rao was an eminent historian. Born in Guntur, she studied in the Egmore Presidency Training Institute and at the Queen Mary’s College, Madras. Studying medicine at the Madras Medical College, she was involved in the Freedom Struggle of India. She assumed leadership of protests like the boycott of the Simon Commission, the boycott of foreign goods and the salt satyagraha.
She set up a hospital to take care of volunteers who fell unconscious under police lathis. She studied Gynaecology and Obstetrics in the Dublin Medical College in 1935, acquired the RCP and LIM degrees there, and returned to set up a practice in Vijayawada. Her services as a doctor to the women of Krishna District were noteworthy. She conducted a course at the Women’s Training Camp held in 1946 in Vijayawada on delivery, childcare, anatomy, health care and the condition of women in society. Her book on delivery and childcare is one of the first of its kind.
Acchamamba became a member of the Communist Party in 1940 and worked hard to spread the communist philosophy in Andhra. Her marriage with her long time friend Vajhala Venkatarama Sastri, defying Hindu rituals, was a cause for consternation in those times.
Acchamamba is one of the first leaders of the women’s movement in Andhra. She was elected President in the State Mahila Sabha held in Chiluvuru. After this, the Sabha demanded that women’s Property Rights and Inheritance Rights should be codified. It was under Acchamamba’s leadership that the movement collected ten thousand signatures from Andhra Pradesh, demanding that Parliament enact a law based on the Rao Committee report.
She contested the elections in 1946 from the Eluru Assembly constituency and lost. In 1948 she defied ban orders and organized a women’s rally, and was arrested and jailed for six months in Rayavellore. She then resigned from the Communist party and moved away from politics for some time. Later she contested from Vijayawada Parliamentary Constituency as a Congress candidate and won. She worked hard to introduce the Dowry Prohibition Act in the Lok Sabha. She worked as Secretary of the All India Rural Women’s Association, and President of the Vijayawada Medical Association. She was the Lok Sabha representative at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
The Centenary Celebrations which began at Montessori Women’s College at Vijayawada on 6 October 2005, went on to be held at Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, on 28 January 2006, at Ideal College, Kakinada, on 29th January 2006, at Kakatiya University, Warangal, on 28th March 2006, at Ananthapur on 23rd April 2006, and at Chennai on 7th September 2006. The concluding one is being held here on 6th October 2006 at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Hyderabad.
Please contact Asmita Resource Centre at 2773-3229 for further details.