Queen Victoria Hall, Vizag, AP and its link with the salt satyagraha

In order to honor the British Queen Victoria on the occasion of commemoration the Diamond Jubilee of her reign, the Victoria Town Hall was built by Maharajah of Bobbili in 1893 at the cost of Rs 50,000.00 (borne by the Rajah himself) 

Victoria Town hall, Vizag, picxy.com

It is still called ,the Victoria Memorial Town Hall and has been with the city administration since 1904. Located on a wide  hilly place of old Jalaripeta in the fishermen village well above the sea level just across the sea  visitors can enjoy the clear view of the natural harbor.  

Victoria Town hall, Vizag m.facebook.com

New   visitors to this area can not miss this European styled  two-story  heritage structure with  a pair of conical  watch towers and fine massive wooden Mangalore tiled  roof supported by steel beams imported  from Scotland on the first floor. The ground floor has wide spacious verandah around  and Madras ceiling, supported by thick  Burma teak wood.  To reduce the vertical stress and overload  the first floor has a massive tiled roof, a rare feature in this part of coastal Andhra.  Using the ashlar masonry, the wooden beams and trusses are resting on the wight bearing walls made of cut stones Total carpet area covering two floors is 5000 square feet. 

Indeed one of the largest  town halls  with a sloping roof covered with tightly fixed Mangalore tiles it provided a fine ambiance to conduct public meetings, etc.  During the freedom movement kicked off by Gandhiji, the town hall resonated with inspiring speeches made by hardrcore freedom fighters. The Town Hall served as a venue for the freedom fighters who would converge there to discuss the next course of action to free India from the British yoke.    

Vizag salt satyagraha town hall in the back drop. .indiatimes.com

The old town hall steeped in history is associated with freedom struggle and it was a mute spectator when the sensational salt satyagraha  was on right across the town hall. 

notice board,nearVictoria statue,Vizag.thenewsminute.com

When Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom movement began, the Town hall became an important venue for the patriots. Gandhi  was on a visit to Visakhapatnam five times between 1921 and 1946 to promote his concept of  satyagraha (civil disobedience) and nonviolence.  It was opposite Town hall on the beach on April 28, 1929 Gandhiji spoke to a  large gathering on the Khadi (handwoven cloth using cotton, silk, and wool) Movement.  He wanted the people  across India to discard machine made clothes imported from England  

The Raj imposed tax on the salt, an important stuff in food to establish their monopoly. In protest against this unethical act, led by Gandhiji  the 24-day Salt Satyagraha march began from March 12, 1930 and continued till April 6, 1930 in a critical period  “The Town Hall hosted  Salt Satyagraha meeting decision was made to make a small measure of salt on the beach across the Town hall .  

On the advice of Gandhiji a  strong group of patriots led by Kavi garu, Digumarthi Venkata Ramaswamy, Tenneti Viswanadham Kolluru Suryam Gupta, Bhamidipati Chinayagnanarayana Sarma and Digumarthi Janakibai marched from   Vizianagaram to the wide sandy beach (now occupied by the Visakha Container Terminal) opposite the Victoriam memorial Town hall. The salt was gathered and the salt law was broken. Digumarthi Janakibai and her husband were defiant and refuser to drop the salt.  They were  imprisoned in Bellary jail for 4 months; here  Janakibai delivered her first baby.  

Another patriot, Kapuganti Chidambaram, was  brutally treated by the police. To instil fear as a sort of deterrence, he was forced to walk from the Hindu Reading Room to the town police station. Kicked and beaten up all along the route, he remained composed and  undeterred and never stopped chanting ‘Vande Mataram. At last at the station he collapsed unconscious

When India became a free country at 12 noon on 15 August, the people  of Visakhapatnam were euphoric and wore khadi to celebrate the fruits of long freedom struggle in which tens of thousands of people were killed by the treacherous british india government under the Crown administration. They insulted, humiliated and exploited the natural resources of the land for more than 200 years, They not only left the country divided but also looted $43 trillion in today's value.

In the present political scenario, in states like Tamil nadu natas squander people's money and behave autocratically. at stake is their patriotism. and public morality.