Social Scientist. v 13, no. 143 (April 1985) p. 50.

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Manyam Rebellion: A Rejoinder

DAVID Arnold in his response to mv article. "Alluri Sitarama R.iju and the Manvam Rebellion of 1922-24 (Social Scientist, April, 1984), accuses me of indulging in "ahis-torical nonsense", "mis-representation of his arguments", "robb(ing) the hillmrn of their distinctive historical experience and their traditions of rebellious defi.mce", ignoring of "one of the major advances in Indian historiography in recent years" and also "intent on returning to an earlier historical tradition which assumes that Indians existed in some kind of pro-political darkness until Gandhi and other nationalist leaders arrived to enlighten them". If he is "disappointed" bvwhat I have not stated I assume I am not to be blamed. For nowhere have I hinted, directiv or indirectly, that Indians existed in anv kind of "pro-political darkness" until the emergence of Gandhi and other nationalists'. He also assumes that I have accepted "rather too readily the nationalist interpretation of the rebellion advanced bvAnnapurniah... and seemingly endorsed bv Gandhi", with a motive to bring back the so-called nationalist tradition of historiography, presumably because Annapurniah's report is one ofmv sources for the reconstruction of Raju's early life and activities.

The report1 is useful for three reasons. It gives information regarding Raju's adoption of constructive work of the Gandhian programme and propagating it among the hillmen. Secondly Raju's discussion with a journalist in an adjacent village was translated and reproduced in this report. Moreover, apart from a verv recent book in Telugu, written bv Raju's nephew (sister's son),' not much authentic information is available on Raju's earlier life. Since Annapurniah was his class-mate in the school, his observations on Raju's early life are useful. Apart from these three aspects there is nothing worthwhile in his report for the analysis of the complexities of this rebellion. As for the observation made by Gandhi regarding Raju that he was "not a fituri but a great hero", it was the general perception prevalent both among the hillmen and plains people. He was simply reiterating what people generally thought about Raju in Andhra. If this means the acceptance of nationalist interpretation I plead guilty. By the same yardstick, however, Arnold should be following colonial historiography since his article is exclusively based on rather uncritical use of British Government records.

Arnold takes strong exception to my not using tlio {crmfihm in my article. He assumes that "though not native to the hills this was the term (fituri} the hillmen of Rampa, Gudem and neighbouring tracts themselves employed". Thereby, he concludes that by using the term fituri one would be able to reconstruct tlie unique experience of the hillmen i.e., "the radition of/?/?/n". O'ie does not know from where Arnold received thi^ notion, for there is no evidence to show tliat this formed a part of

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