Anti- arrack crusader Rosamma, a name that was forgotten for quite some time, came back into newsonly because the 93-year-old lady breathed her last on Sunday in her village Dubagunta in Nellore district. She was unwell for some years and was also troubled with poverty and was unable to bear her medical expenses. Way back during the time of unified Andhra Pradesh when Chandrababu Naidu was the chief minister he did offer some assistance, but over the years it is not known how she managed. But, last year, unable to continue with the hugely expensive dialysis, she came back home and succumbed to illness yesterday.
During 1992, she was an active part of adult literacy programme, and when the employers of the programme were abused by drunken villagers, she motivated and took part in a women’s protest. The movement highlighted the women’s problems, who were beaten up by their drunken husbands and who would have spent a major part of their earnings on arrack. Armed with brooms, chilli powder and sticks the women attacked the arrack shop in the village forcing them to shut down. The women of Dubbagunta motivated many other villagers in Nellore district making into a larger movement forcing the then chief minister Vijayabhaskara Reddy to ban arrack in 1993. Total prohibition came in 1994 after Telugu Desam Party led by NT Rama Rao came to power. In later years Chandrababu Naidu revoked the ban citing revenue loss.
Rosamma’s name may be lost in the sands of time; the current people in power have diluted the great movement so much that even her struggle is wasted.