Ammembala Balappa

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Ammembala Balappa
Born(1922-02-23)23 February 1922
Died15 May 2014(2014-05-15) (aged 92)
OccupationActivist, teacher, journalist
MovementQuit India Movement
  • Thaniya Moolya (father)
AwardsSwarna Swathanthrya by the Government of Karnataka

Ammembala Balappa (23 February 1922 – 15 May 2014) was an Indian freedom fighter and socialist leader who is known for participating in the Quit India Movement in 1942.[1][2] He played an important role in drafting the Declaration of land policy (Land Reforms Act) by the D. Devaraj Urs government during prime minister Indira Gandhi's tenure. He is also credited for founding the first Tulu language newspaper Tulu Siri in 1970.[3][4]


Ammembala was born in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada on 23 February 1922. In his early days, he worked as a helper of a British officer in the Mangalore administration. His work pleased the officer and helped him to get employed in the sanitation department.[1]

At the age of 20, he took inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and jumped into India's freedom struggle during the Quit India Movement in 1942. With the help of some of his friends, he planted a crude bomb that burnt down the office of the District Court Complex at Light House Hill Road in Bavatagudda of Mangalore. He was arrested and jailed in Vellore Central Prison, where he shared a ward with P. V. Narasimha Rao (who later became Prime Minister of India). He learnt to speak and read the Hindi language from PV Narasimha Rao and got in touch with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Jayaprakash Narayan. Later, he opened a school in a remote village in southern Karnataka, where he worked as a Hindi teacher during the Unification movement. He became involved in the labour movement in Mangalore, started cooperative banks to help rural folk. He was one of the main contributors to the Declaration of Land Policy (Land reforms Act) by the D. Devaraj Urs's government during PM Indira Gandhi's tenure.[1]

Balappa was also recognized as a journalist, as he published a Kannada language newspaper called Mithra in the year 1952.[5] He also started the first Tulu language newspaper Tulu Siri in 1970.[3]

Balappa founded Bantwal Society Service Co-operative Bank in 1980, to provide financial assistance to the rural folks. He had also served as a member of the Land Justice Board between 1975–1977, 1980–1983, 1985–1988. He was a member of the Karnataka state government's Backward Class Commission and Mangalore University Academy Council member from 1982 to 1992.[5] He was also the founder of Samaja Seva Sahakari Bank of Bantwal.[6]

He was honoured with the 'Swarna Swathanthrya' award by the State Government of Karnataka on the occasion of the 50th year of Indian Independence in 1997.[5]

Balappa was also guru of trade unionist and union minister George Fernandes.[7][8]


At the age of 93, he died on 15 May 2014 in Mangalore.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ammembala, Naveen (August 5, 2012). "The lifelong revolutionary". Hindustan Times.
  2. "ಬಿ.ಸಿ.ರೋಡಿನ ಮುಖ್ಯವೃತಕ್ಕೆ ನಾಮಕರಣ ಗೊಂದಲ" (in Kannada). Mega Media News. August 6, 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Mangalore: Freedom fighter Dr Ammembala Balappa no more". Mangalore: Daijiworld Media. May 15, 2014.
  4. Communicator - Volume 39. Anjan Kumar Banerji at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. 2004. p. 144. With the birth of Tulusiri in October 1970, Tulu journalism made its formal beginning. It was a monthly edited by Dr Ammembala Balappa. Unfortunately it had a short life span of three years. It built up a circulation of more than 2,000 copies with good support from advertisers . It contributed a lot to the development of Tulu literature and culture.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Freedom fighter Ammembal Balappa no more". Deccan Herald. May 15, 2014.
  6. "History".
  7. "George Fernandes met his mentor Ammembala Balappa when he slept in Nehru Maidan". New Indian Express. January 30, 2019.
  8. Raghava, M. (January 30, 2019). "George Fernandes, a revolutionary from his childhood". The Hindu.