Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy was born to Uyyalawada Peddamalla Reddy in Uyyalawada, located in the present-day Kurnool District which is on the banks of Kundu River. His father Peddamalla Reddy and his grandfather Jayarami Reddy were local chieftains (Polygars) of Koilakuntla.
Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy built a fort at Kottakota village near Giddalur. The ruins of the fort can still be seen at Kottakota.
Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy is credited to be one of the first freedom fighters in India. He was the first to revolt against the British occupation, 10 years earlier than India’s First War of Independence of 1857 also known as Indian Rebellion of 1857. Nearly 60 villages were under the control of Reddy, including Uyyalawada, Gulladurti, Harivaram, Uppaluru, Kotthakota. Now, these villages are in Prakasam, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh and the Ballari region of Karnataka.
Narasimha Reddy as a polygar of Koilakuntla was in command of 66 villages and controlled an army of 2000. After Rayalaseema was ceded to the British by the Nizam, Narasimha Reddy refused to share the revenue of the region with the British. He was in favour of an armed uprising. On 10 June 1846, he attacked the treasury at Koilakuntla and marched towards Kambham, Andhra Pradesh (Prakasam District). On the way, he created an uproar at Rudravaram by killing the forest ranger. The district collector, Thomas Monroe, took a serious view of the rebellion and ordered his capture. Early attempts to capture him under Captain Knot and Watson were unsuccessful. The British government announced Rs 5,000/ for the information and Rs 10,000/ for his head which was a huge amount in those days.
He was at the heart of a rebellion. The father of Narasimha Reddy was related to the Polygar family of Uyyalawada in Koilkuntla taluk, Kurnool district, and had married two daughters of the Polygar of Nossam. He had three sons, of whom Narasimha was the youngest. He married Siddhamma.
Narasimha Reddy with his army attacked the British forces camped at Giddaluru on 23 July 1846 and defeated them. Unable to capture him, the British imprisoned his family at Kadapa. In an attempt to free his family, Narasimha Reddy moved to Nallamala in village Parusomula. Someone in the village informed this to the Collector. When the British tightened his movements in the Nallamala region, Narasimha Reddy came back to Koilkuntla area and hid in Jagannatha Konda near the village of Ramabhadrunipalle. An informant brought to the notice of British authorities of his whereabouts and his followers. The area was surrounded by armed forces at night. He was caught at midnight of 6 October 1846. Narasimha Reddy was humiliated before being brought to Koilkuntla. He was tied with heavy chains and paraded in the streets of Koilkuntla with blood-stained clothes so that none should dare to revolt against the British.
As many as 901 people were charged along with Narasimha Reddy for this uprising. Later 412 of them were acquitted and 273 were released on bail. As many as 112 were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 5 to 14 years. Some were sent to a prison in the Andaman Islands. The younger brother of the rulers of Auk is one of them. The special commissioner of Cuddapah conducted the trial. Narasimha Reddy was charged with revolt, murder and dacoity and convicted on all charges.
On 22 February 1847, Reddy was hanged publicly by the British in Koilkuntla on the banks of a nearby river in the presence of collector Kokcrane. and in front of a silent crowd of over 2000 people.
To terrorize the other freedom-fighters, His head was kept on the fort wall in public view for 30 years from 1847 to 1877 to instil fear in the people so that another rebellion won’t be tried by others against the British. The places like Nossam, Uyyalawada, Rupanagudi, Gulladurthi, Uppaluru and Giddaluru have a fort built by Narasimha Reddy to protect his kingdom. Plans are afoot to erect a statue in honour of Reddy and the government also has plans to include his brave story in the school textbooks.
This forgotten hero’s historic story is made into a feature film by Megastar Chiranjeevi, it will be his 151st film. The movie is written by Parachuri Brothers, Sai Madhav Burra, and Vema Reddy. Surender Reddy is the director and it is produced by Ram Charan under Konidela Production. The movie will be released in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi.