N. G. Ranga
NG Ranga 2001 stamp of India.jpg
N. G. Ranga on postage stamp - 2001
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Madras (Rajya Sabha)
In office
1952–1957
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Tenali (Lok Sabha)
In office
1957–1962
Member of Parliament
for Chittoor (Lok Sabha)
In office
1962–1967
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Srikakulam (Lok Sabha)
In office
1967–1971
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Andhra Pradesh (Rajya Sabha)
In office
1977–1980
Member of Parliament
for Guntur (Lok Sabha)
In office
1980–1984
Member of Parliament
for Guntur (Lok Sabha)
In office
1984–1989
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Guntur (Lok Sabha)
In office
1989–1991
Personal details
Born(1900-11-07)7 November 1900
Nidubrolu, Guntur district, Madras Presidency, British India (now Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died9 June 1995(1995-06-09) (aged 94)
NationalityIndian
Political partyIndian National Congress
Spouse(s)Bharathi Devi
Alma materOxford University
OccupationSocial, political activist

Gogineni Ranga Nayukulu (7 November 1900 – 9 June 1995),[1] also known as N. G. Ranga, was an Indian freedom fighter, classical liberal, parliamentarian and farmer leader. He was the founding president of the Swatantra Party, and an exponent of the peasant philosophy.[2] He received the Padma Vibhushan award for his contributions to the Peasant Movement. N.G. Ranga served in the Indian Parliament for six decades, from 1930 to 1991.

Early life

Ranga was born in Nidubrolu village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.[3][4] He went to school in his native village, and graduated from the Andhra-Christian College, Guntur. He received a B.Litt. in Economics from the University of Oxford in 1926.[4] On his return to India, he started teaching as a Professor of Economics at Pachaiyappa's College, Madras (Chennai).[4][5]

In Oxford, he was influenced by the works of H. G. Wells, Sydney Webb, Bertrand Russell, and John Stuart Mill. Initially attracted to guild socialism in Europe, the progress of the USSR would turn him into a Marxist. Later in the 1930s, the Stalinist oppression of peasants and forced collectivization drove Ranga away from the Marxist fold.[4]

Ranga met Mahatma Gandhi in Madras and was so impressed that he joined the civil disobedience movement in 1929. He became part of mainstream politics with his entry in the central assembly in 1930. He opposed the Simon Commission report and participated in the first Round Table Conference.[6]

Based on methodology of the British Labour Party’s political school, he went on to establish similar schools in Andhra to turn peasants into politically-conscious citizens. Andhra Farmers’ School, the first of them, was opened in 1934 at his native village Nidubrolu.[3]

Freedom movement

Ranga joined the freedom movement inspired by Gandhi's clarion call in 1930. He led the ryot agitation in 1933. He wrote a book, Bapu Blesses regarding his discussions with Gandhi.[7]

In the course of the Indian freedom struggle, he led the historic Ryot Agitation of Andhra in 1933. His pro-peasantry advocacy was reflected in his support to the farmers’ agitation against the zamindari oppression at Venkatagiri. He convinced Gandhi to lend support to the movement, despite opposition from other members of the Congress. Gradually the peasant movement intensified and spread across the rest of India. All these radical developments on the peasant front culminated in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936 with Sahajanda Saraswati elected as its first president and Ranga as a general secretary. The Kisan Manifesto, which was released in August 1936, demanded the abolition of the zamindari system and the cancellation of rural debts.[3]

Ranga continuously organized farmers of the region and besides associating himself along with his wife, Bharathi Devi, with the Satyagraha (1940) and Quit India Movement (1942), he played a decisive role in connecting peasants with the national liberation movement.[8] He was elected as a member Constituent Assembly in 1946 and became the member in Provisional Parliament of India (continuing until after the first elections under the new constitution in 1952).[9]

Contributions to literature

Ranga wrote multiple books, one of them being Bapu Blesses regarding his discussions with Gandhi. Ranga’s academic publications were mostly concerned with the condition of peasants and labourers in the countryside. Known as the Rythu Ranga and Coolie Ranga, he fought against both the colonial and socialist Indian state to ensure dignity for farmers.[citation needed] He wrote other books on diverse subjects like Credo of World Peasantry, Economic Organization of Indian Villages and Indian Adult Education Movement.[7]

Publications

Ranga published 65 books in English,[7] including:[9]

He also published 15 books in Telugu including

Political career

In 1951, in a closely contested election of president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, Ranga was defeated by Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. Due to ideological differences, Ranga along with Tanguturi Prakasam, resigned from Congress and organised Hyderabad State Praja Party, which was further split into Krishikar Lok Party (KLP) for peasants under the leadership of Ranga as the president. KLP contested the 1951 Lok Sabha elections, winning one seat. KLP also contested the 1952 Madras Legislative Assembly election and won 15 seats.[10] In the 1955 Andhra State Legislative Assembly election, Congress, Praja Party[vague] and KLP formed an alliance and KLP won 22 seats. After the election, on the request of Nehru, he merged KLP with the Congress party. He was elected in the 1957 general election from Tenali Lok Sabha constituency as a Congress candidate.[9]

Swatantra Party

Ranga’s differences with Nehru were visible from the beginning. As part of the Kumarappa Committee on land reforms, he did not support land ceiling measures. Ranga was also opposed to the whole socialist apparatus of the Five-Year Plans and Planning Commission. He refused to join Nehru’s cabinet when offered a ministerial berth. In response to Nehru’s advocacy of cooperative farming, Ranga mobilized lakhs of peasants in Machilipatnam to oppose the abolition of property rights by the state. The 1959 Nagpur Resolution of INC came as the final straw. The socialists in Congress proposed cooperative farming in emulation of Mao’s collectivization drive. The threat to property rights in an increasingly socialist India galvanized a disparate set of anti-Congress leaders to come together and form the Swatantra Party. Ranga became the party's first president.[3]

As a Swatantrite parliamentarian, Ranga’s advocacy of liberty was most visible during the debates over the proposed 17th amendment in 1964. The amendment would empower state governments to acquire land of ordinary farmers without paying any compensation. Ranga’s rousing speech in the Parliament against the bill led to its defeat. Ranga’s concern for farmers’ welfare was recognized by Nehru, “As long as Rangaji is in Parliament, the Indian peasants could sleep without any worry.” On the question of his opposition to Nehru, Ranga clarified that – “it was for the freedom of the peasants and in defense of dharma. I’ve visualized the resulting implications of his anti-farmer policies. Knowing fully well that opposing Pandit Nehru can be politically dangerous to me, I performed my duty in defense of my convictions."[3]

Later years

The dissident parties, the Congress (O), Jan Sangh and the Samyukta Socialist Party formed an alliance with Swatantra Party called the National Democratic Front and fought against Indian National Congress led by Indira Gandhi in the 1971 Indian general elections. After facing a massive defeat of his Swatantra party in the elections, Ranga rejoined Indian National Congress and supported Indira Gandhi, to advance his goal of peasants' upliftment.[3]

Ranga worked as a member of Congress Working Committee (CWC 1975–85), and Deputy Leader of Congress Parliamentary Party (1980–1991).[4]

Death

Ranga died on 9 June, 1995.[11]

Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao condoled the death of Prof. Ranga. He said that in the passing away of Prof Ranga, the country had lost an outstanding parliamentarian and a champion of public causes and of the rural peasantry. The Andhra Pradesh government declared a 3-day state mourning.[12][verification needed]

Honours

References

  1. ^ "Ongole: NG Ranga remembered on his 25th death anniversary". The Hans India. 10 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b Prof. N. G. Ranga. rajyasabha.nic.in
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ranga, N.G. (1968). Fight for freedom: autobiography of N.G. Ranga. S. Chand. p. 3. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Members Bioprofile". Parliament of India, Lok Sabha. 7 November 1900. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  5. ^ Land, Water, Language and Politics in Andhra: Regional Evolution in India By Brian Stoddart
  6. ^ a b c Maiden speech of N.G.Ranga in centrel Legislative assembly on 11th July 1930. Hyderabad: Kisan congress AP. 11 July 1990. pp. 1–9.
  7. ^ a b c "A list of books by N.G. Ranga from The Open University, UK". The Open University. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  8. ^ R.V., Swaminadhan (1985). Prof. Ranga Achevments. Hyderabad: A.P .congress comitte. pp. 31–32.
  9. ^ a b c d Prof. Ranga Achevments. Hyderabad: A.P. Congress. pp. 40–41.
  10. ^ "Madras, 1951". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Empowering peasants was his mission". The Hindu. 25 November 2002. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Prof Ranga passes away". The Hindustan Times. 9 June 1995.
  13. ^ Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University Archived 7 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Angrau.ac.in. Retrieved on 2018-11-21.
  14. ^ KCR Names Agriculture Varsity after Jayashankar Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The New Indian Express (2014-08-07). Retrieved on 2018-11-21.
  15. ^ N.G. Ranga Award: Rules Archived 13 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine. icar.org.in
  16. ^ "Padma Awards | Interactive Dashboard". www.dashboard-padmaawards.gov.in. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  17. ^ Indian Postage Stamp of N. G. Ranga Archived 21 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Indianpost.com. Retrieved on 2018-11-21.