Bandaru Rammohan Rao
Born in Pragnyapur village of Medak district in Telangana, Bandaru served as a Sarpanch of Pragnyapur village, and as Vice President of Gajwel Mandal, Medak. He is also a career advocate (MA, LLB) journalist, writer and poet. He is associated with Loksatta Party since its inception and was one of the members of the committee that drafted the Loksatta Party constitution.
Bandaru Rammohan Rao was born and brought up in a small village in Medak District called Pragnyapur. Like many villages in Telangana, Pragnyapur too was dominated by landlords or bhooswamis (also called as Dora/ దొర in telugu). During his childhood, Bandaru had seen severe oppression by Dora on village people. There was an instance where the Dora cut both hands of a person from the dalit community for the sin of reading out newspapers and educating villagers about the outside world. Situations like these, encouraged Bandaru, who was only 17 years old then, to write articles to newspapers like 'Nalupu' , 'Andhra Bhoomi' and 'Eenadu' about the happenings in the village. He never used actual names in the articles to save himself from Dora. Later, he was hired as a weekly writer for ‘Vedika’ column in Andhra Bhoomi from 1979 – 1981 where, he used to write against the politics of Indira Gandhi ( post emergency period) and on various socio-political topics concerning the village and society as a whole. Andhra Bhoomi paid him Rs 15/- to 20/- every month to tour 10 different districts and write on the social, political situations/issues in one district every month. By the age of 23, he became a ward member of Pragnyapur after securing 153 out of 183 votes. As a ward member, the first thing he implemented was to change the face of grama sabha. First he made sure the grama sabhas were held every 6 months and second, that they were held in a fair manner. Previously it was a custom that the Sarpanch/Dora would sit on a chair while the other attendees sat on the bare floor. But Bandaru demanding equality for all through a chain of letters he wrote to the Sarpanch , got him to sit down along with others. This made him a village hero over night. Later, it is with the support of same villagers, Bandaru won the elections and for the first time, since 29 years, Pragnyapur had a Sarpanch elected without the use of power, fear or money.