Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao
(28 May 1923 18 January 1996), more commonly
known as N.T. Rama Rao, NTR, or Anna garu, was a film
actor, director, producer and a Chief Minister of
Andhra Pradesh. His repertoire of films included mythological,
social and folk themes. He was awarded the Padma Sree
by the government of India in the 1960s, recognizing
his contribution to the Telugu cinema. After his film
career, N.T. Ramarao became a political activist and
He was born in Nimmakuru, Krishna District, Andhra
Pradesh. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree
from the Andhra-Christian College of Guntur, Andhra
Pradesh. He later received an honorary doctorate from
NTR had a major contribution to what can be considered
"The Golden Age of Telugu Film Making" especially
between the 1950 and 1965. Though there is little
commentary available, analysts believe that the Telugu
film industry produced some of the best mythological
movies in the entire India movie making history, while
the Tamil and Hindi movie industry produced better
socially oriented films. This is mainly to do with
the availability of capable actors, producers, directors,
personnel and audience required for such movie making.
Though widely recognized for his mythological characters,
Ramarao is considered one of the greatest actors in
Telugu film and in South Indian film generally. His
portrayal of avatars of Vishnu, especially Rama and
Krishna, mesmerized an entire generation who saw the
face of NTR when the Lord Krishna/Rama was mentioned,
this even transcending even into non-Telugu speaking
states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
As time passed by, NTR stopped playing the role of
the prince in films. Instead he played the role of
a poor yet heroic young man in the kingdom who is
against the system in his kingdom. To the lakhs of
the denizens in Andhra Pradesh, he became 'one of
them' who assures the poor that he is there to rescue
them from the wicked traitors in the kingdom
The most notable movies acted by NTR in mythological
characters are Maya Bazaar (Sri Krishna), Lava Kusa
(Lord Rama), Sri Krishnaarjuna Yuddham (Sri Krishna),
Bheeshma (Bheeshma), Bhookailas(Raavana),Nartanasala
(Arjuna also as Bruhannala), Panadava-vanavsam (Bheema),
Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (Lord Venkateswara), Maha
Mantri Thimmarusu (Sri Krishna Devaralyalu) and Dana
Veera Sura Karna (Duryodhana, Sri Krishna, Karna).
Apart from these he played a variety of roles in folklore
characters like Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Pathala Bhairavi
etc. On the social front he played roles in the movies
Malliswari, Kanyasulkam, Gundamma Katha, Missamma,
Raktha Sambandham, Ramudu Bheemudu, Adavi Ramudu,
Vetagadu, Gajadonga, Driver Ramudu, Sardar Paparayudu,
Kondaveeti Simham, Justice Chaudhary, Bobbili Puli
etc. He acted in over two hundred and eighty movies
in the lead role.
NTR formed the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982.
Promoting a new movie, he was asked a question by
a person in the audience who asked "ayya, memu
mimmalni devudu laga adarincamu, kani meeru maku emi
chesaru? literally translated from Telugu meant
"Sir, we have treated you like a God but what
have you done for us? He was so moved by this
that he formed TDP and lead to victory in the immediate
election, formed a government and ruled the state
of AP for a full term. He went into the elections
with the slogan 'Atma Gauravam' which meant self-pride.
Like his movies, the formation of the party and storming
into the assembly was very dramatic. TDP came into
power within 9 months of its formation. Initially
ridiculed by the Congress that state politics is not
like movie acting among others, TDP was considered
a no match for the congress, with the local representatives
unheard of, the complete burden rested on the shoulders
of NTR, and true to his charisma he won the elections
with a landslide majority. Among other reasons why
he won the elections was no real alternative to the
Congress, lack of development, unemployment etc. He
was very well supported by Ramoji Rao who gave wide
publicity through the Telugu daily Eenadu. NTR himself
contested elections from the constituency of Gudivada
in Krishna District.
Even though he lost the 1989 elections, he shot to
fame at the national level and was capable of uniting
many regional parties.
NTR stormed back to power in 1994 when he promised
he would offer rice at Rs. 2/kg and to make AP an
"Alcohol Free" state. True to his word he
kept his promises only to burden the state exchequer.
He also faced serious problems within his party because
of the interference from his second wife Lakshmi Parvathi
in party and government affairs. Foreseeing the imminent
threat of the de-stabilizing wave within the party
camaraderie, N Chandrababu Naidu lead a sudden revolt
and split TDP into two, where the political careers
of more than 180 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs)
was at stake. Naidu survived NTR's onslaught when
NTR approached the public for an opinion and went
on to break the record held by NTR as the longest
serving Chief Minister of AP making a mark for himself.
The break-up of the party and the drama that took
place on the Tank-Bund (road connecting Hyderabad
and Secunderabad on the banks of Hussain Sagar) were
probably the last significant events in NTR's life.
The loss of power and the subsequent
events can be summed up as the start of anti-climax
in NTR's life with a majority of people believing
that Lakshmi Parvathi was responsible for what would
otherwise have been the greatest life lived by an
Andhrite since Sri Krishna Devarayalu (a 15th Century
King). Officially he died of a severe heart stroke
but there are conspiracy theorists who believe he
had high traces of steroids in his blood which were
unacceptable for a man of that age. The entire state
was shocked to hear the news of his death and paid
homage in a way only a king receives. His funeral
was a state-affair which set the then world-record.
It is believed that he could have become the Prime
Minister of India, as the third-front won the national
elections and was struggling to find a leader who
was acceptable to all the parties. Chandrababu Naidu
went on record that he would have supported NTR as
the Prime Minister as the third-front was his brain
child, but it was six months too late.
NTR was survived by eight sons and four daughters,
and his second wife Lakshmi Parvathi. He has several
grand sons and daughter but the most known of which
are his son NTR Jr. who closely resembles to NTR and
Nandamuri Kalyan Ram
P.V. Narasimha Rao
Son of Shri P. Ranga Rao, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was
born on June 28, 1921 at Karimnagar. He studied in OsmaniaUniversity,
Hyderabad, BombayUniversity and the NagpurUniversity.
A widower, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao is the father of
three sons and five daughters.
Being an agriculturist and an advocate, he joined
politics and held some important portfolios. He was
the Minister of Law and Information, 1962-64; Law
and Endowments, 1964-67; Health and Medicine, 1967
and Education, 1968-71, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
He was the Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh, 1971-73;
General Secretary, All India Congress Committee, 1975-76;
Chairman, TeluguAcademy, Andhra Pradesh, 1968-74;
Vice-President, Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha,
Madras, from 1972.
He was also Member, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly,
1957-77; Member, Lok Sabha 1977-84 and was elected
to Eighth Lok Sabha from Ramtek in December, 1984.
As Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, 1978-79 he
participated in a Conference on South Asia convened
by the School of Asian and African Studies, LondonUniversity.
Shri Rao also Chaired Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's Andhra
Centre; he was Minister for External Affairs from
January 14, 1980 to July 18, 1984; Minister of Home
Affairs from July 19, 1984 to December 31, 1984 and
the Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984 to
September 25, 1985. He then assumed charge as Minister
of Human Resource Development on September 25, 1985.
A man of many interests, he likes music, cinema and
theatre. His special interest lies in Indian philosophy
and culture, writing fiction and political commentary,
learning languages, writing poems in Telugu and Hindi
and keeping abreast of literature in general. He has
successfully published 'SahasraPhan', a Hindi translation
of late Shri Viswanatha Satyanarayana's famous Telugu
Novel 'Veyi Padagalu' published by Jnanpith; 'Abala
Jeevitam', Telugu translation of late Shri Hari Narayan
Apte's famous Marathi Novel, "Pan Lakshat Kon
gheto", published by Central Sahitya Academy.
He translated other famous works from Marathi to Telugu
and from Telugu to Hindi, and published many articles
in different magazines mostly under a pen name. He
lectured at Universities in the U.S.A. and West Germany
on political matters and allied subjects. As Minister
of External Affairs he traveled extensively to U.K.,
West Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Egypt in 1974.
During the period when he was Minister of External
Affairs, Shri Rao successfully brought to bear his
scholarly background and rich political and administrative
experience on the field of international diplomacy.
He chaired the III Conference of UNIDO at New Delhi
in January 1980, within a few days of assuming charge.
He also chaired a meeting of the Group of 77 at New
York in March 1980. More recently, his role at the
Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-aligned Countries
in February 1981 earned him wide appreciation. Shri
Rao has shown keen personal interest in international
economic issues and personally led the Indian delegation
to the Conference of the Group of 77 on ECDC at Caracas,
in May 1981
1982 and 1983 were eventful years for India and its
In the shadow of the Gulf war the Non-aligned Movement
asked India to host the Seventh Summit. This also
meant India assuming the Chair of the Movement and
Smt. Indira Gandhi becoming its Chairperson. Shri
P.V. Narasimha Rao presided over meetings of Foreign
Ministers of Non-aligned Nations on the eve of the
New Delhi Summit and also at the United Nations both
in 1982, when India was asked to host the Summit and
the following year when, at the initiative of the
Movement, informal consultations amongst Heads of
State and Government from diverse nations across the
world were held at New York.
Shri Rao was also the Leader of the Special Non-aligned
Mission that visited countries in West Asia in November
1983, in an effort to resolve the Palestine Liberation
Organization. Shri Rao was associated actively with
the Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Delhi
and with the Action Group set up by the meeting on
the question of Cyprus.
In his capacity as Minister of External Affairs, Shri
Narasimha Rao has chaired on behalf of India a number
of Joint Commissions including those with the U.S.A.,
U.S.S.R., Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Vietnam, Tanzania
Shri Narasimha Rao took over as Home Minister on
July 19, 1984. He was re-appointed to this post, with
the additional charge of the Ministry of Planning,
on November 5, 1984. Appointed Minister of Defence
from December 31, 1984 to September 25, 1985. On September
25, 1985 he took over as Minister of Human Resource
L. V. Prasad: Akkineni Lakshmi
Vara Prasada Rao, more popularly known as L. V. Prasad
was a famous Indian film actor, producer and director.
He was a recipient of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke
Award for lifetime contribution to cinema from the Government
of India for the year 1982.
L. V. Prasad was born in a well-to-do agricultural
family in Eluru taluk of the current-day Andhra Pradesh.
Right from childhood, he showed lot of interest in
plays and the then new phenomenon of films, neglecting
his studies. In early 1920's, his family lost its
fortunes in trying to convert forest lands into arable
lands. In 1924, he married Soundarya Manoharamma,
his maternal uncle's daughter, despite objections
from her family on account of his poor financial status.
With a view to pursue his dreams in establishing an
acting career, he left to Bombay in 1930.
Due to lack of contacts in the film industry, he
found it difficult to enter into studios. After doing
rounds of studios for over six months, he landed an
errands job in the Venus Film Company. After a short
time there, he started working for a monthly salary
of 30 rupees in the Imperial Light Company. Ardeshir
Irani was the owner of the company and was trying
to make the first talkie in India. Irani made Alam
Ara, the first talkie in India and the first Hindi
talkie in which Prasad played the role of an extra.
Prasad also made an acquaintance with H. M. Reddy,
who was assisting Irani. Reddy was also a Telugu like
Prasad and had left the job of a Police Inspector
to pursue his dreams in films. Reddy was given the
opportunity to direct the first Telugu talkie by Irani
and he promptly cast Prasad in a bit role in the first
telugu talkie, Bhakta Prahalada.
Prasad also acted in Kalidasa, the first Tamil film,
around the same time. Thus, he had the unique distinction
of acting in the first talkies in Hindi, Telugu and
Tamil. It was around this time that his name was shortened
to "L. V. Prasad" by an accountant who felt
that his name was too long for the daily attendance
In 1940, he reached Madras and became an assistant
director to H. M. Reddy. Due to the Second World War,
it became difficult to get raw material for filming
and opportunities were limited. In 1946, he got an
opportunity to direct a Telugu film Griha Pravesham
based on a feminist story by Tripuraneni Gopichand.
Apart from directing the film, he also played the
role of the anti-feminist protagonist to critical
acclaim. The movie was a commercial success. In 1947,
he took over direction of Palanati yuddham (a historical
based on the "Palnadu battle") from an ailing
Gudavalli Ramabrahmam - its success established him
as a popular director. In 1949, he directed Mana Desam
and introduced the later-day hero of N. T. Rama Rao
in a bit role. In 1950, he directed Samsaram starring
N. T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao. The movie,
exploring domestic themes, was a big hit.
In 1955, he turned a producer and also took over
an unfinished studio. In 1956, he produced his first
Telugu film and in 1957, he produced his first Hindi
film. He was a successful producer and had produced,
directed or acted in 50 films spread over the four
different languages of Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada
in his career. In 1970, his Hindi film Khilona celebrated
its silver-jubilee at the theatre where he was a watchman
in his early days in Bombay. In 1981, Ek Duje Ke Liye
(Made for One Another), a Hindi film produced by him,
became a big hit. He completed the Prasad Studios
in 1965, the Prasad Film Laboratory in 1974 and the
recording theater in 1976. The facilities were regarded
as the best in India and on par with the best in the
world. He was also the principal donor to an eye hospital
at Hyderabad that was named after him - the LVPEI
(L. V. Prasad Eye Institute). He died in 1994.
Suravaram Pratapareddy (1896-1953)
is one of the pioneers of Telangana literature. He enlightened
the people of Telangana who were struggling under the
darkness of Nizam rule through his literature. Pratapareddy
was born on May 28, 1896 in Boravelli village in Gadwal
estate of erstwhile Hyderabad State. His mother was
Rangamma and father was Narayanareddy. Their native
village was Itikalapadu in the district of Mahabubnagar.
Pratapareddy completed his primary education at his
uncle Ramakrishnareddy's residence in Karnool. He studied
Sanskrit literature and grammar under the guidance of
Vellala Sankarasastri. Later he finished his FA at Nizam
College, Hyderabad. Then he obtained BA and BL degrees
from Presidency College, Madras and became a lawyer
for a short while.
He was moved by the sad plight and illiteracy of
Telangana people. He was disturbed by the fact that
Urdu was the ruling language and Telugu had no respect.
There were no facilities for Telangana Telugus to
study in their mother tongue. Raja Bahaddur Pingali
Venkatramareddy, the police commissioner of Nizam
State, employed him as the secretary of Reddy Hostel
in Hyderabad. Pratapareddy set up a very good library
in the hostel and brought activity and discipline
among the students.
He quit his job at Reddy Hostel to launch a Telugu
language journal "Golconda" for the benefit
of Telangana people. Golconda was published twice
a week. In one of the editorials of Golconda he wrote
that the purpose of the journal was two fold: 1) to
serve Telugu language in Telangana and 2) to help
develop everybody in Telangana without any tribal/caste
Pratapaareddy was a scholar in Sanskrit, Telugu,
Urdu and English languages. He had tremendous admiration
for Telangana Telugu. He is famous for his research
articles, novels, poetry, story writer, and literary
critic. He used to say, "British Andhrulu Brownvandhram
(English-Telugu) matlaadite memu tarakyandhram (Urdu-Telugu)
matladutamu. (British Andhras speak Tenglish (Telugu-English)
and we speak Turdu (Telugu-Urdu)."
He compiled a list of 354 Telangana poets under the
title "Golconda Kavulu" to prove that Telangana
also had literature and poetry. Pratapareddy wrote
approximately 40 books, including Nizamrashtra Palanam,
Mogalayi kathalu, Sanghoddharana, Ucchala Vishadamu,
Grandhalayamu, Hinduvula Pandugalu, Haindava Dharmaveerulu,
Yuvajana Vignyanam etc. Most prominent among his writings
was Andhrula Sanghikacharitra (Social History of Andhras),
which won him prestigious "Kendra Sahitya Academy
Award," a federal Indian government award for
literature. In this book he described a thousand years
of Telugu cultural and social history. Some of the
interesting points in this book were:
Men used to wear mattelu (toe rings) during Nannaya
period (~1000 AD).
Telugu script is called "onamalu" derived
from Om Namah Sivaya of Saivism.
Reddys and Velamas were not Telugus. They were immigrants.
Rashtrakutas from north became Reddys and Vellalu
from Tamil country became Velamas. Velamas were social
reformers and Reddys were orthodox and hence there
was always rivalry between these two tribes. During
the period of Srinadha (~15th century) they were considered
equal in the society.
He served many Telugu organizations, including the
Legislative Assembly. In 1952, he was elected to the
Assembly from Vanaparti constituency. He was a selfless
servant of Telangana and Telugu literature.
Gurram Jashuva or G Joshua (1895-1971)
was a popular Telugu poet, born into a poor Christian
family in Vinukonda, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.
His main works include Gabbilam (A bat), Firadausi (A
rebel) and Kandiseekudu (A refugee). He was discriminated
as an untouchable in school, college and professional
life. Protests against untouchability and segregation
have been common themes in all his works.
Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row -
The man who made miracle drugs
Poverty, Metric failed, Odd Jobs!!! These are
the trademarks of a Genius. Just to draw your
attention to this great son of India who fled to USA
instead of Benaras to sell Bananas. He is our Subba
Rao. He is known as the MAN OF MIRACLE DRUGS.
His awards: a fungus is named after him Subbaromyces
splendens and a commemorative stamp by the Govt.
His achievements are best summed up by the following:
You've probably never heard of Dr. Yellapragada
SubbaRow,Yet because he lived you may be well and
alive today; Because he lived you may live longer"--
Doron K. Antrim, American author(1950). The 'New York
Herald Tribune', in a tribute, called him "one
of the most eminent medical minds of the century".
He rose from the position of cleaning Bed Pans and
toilets of patients at Harvard to the Director of
Research, Lederle Laboratories,NY and invented several
important medicines!! His work is the back bone of
Medical Biochemistry. The wonder is, even he did not
know that his drugs will have such a huge impact.
Some of his major discoveries were:
1) FOLIC ACID:(1945): A very essential vitamin for
the development of growing cells, Blood and Brain,
without which even B-complex cannot function properly.
It is the only Vitamin that prevents Birth defects
and currently recommended regularly for pregnant women.
Also protects against heart disease!!
2)METHOTREXATE:(1948) It is the underlying drug in
many Cancer treatments, is a derivative of Aminopterin
which was isolated by subba rao as anti folic acid
3) HETRAZAN:(1947) The medicine for Filariasis, without
which south east asians would be walking with elephant
4) TETRACYCLINES:(1945) these are broad spectrum antibiotics
effective against most pathogens. Subba rao isolated
Aureomycin, the first ever tetracycline molecule and
paved the way for modern tetracyclines. These helped
to contain and eradicate the Plaque epidemic in India
5) ATP:(1929) this molecule is the fundamental source
of energy to life. If something is alive, it is because
ATP is being burned.
But none of these are recognized ! A nobel laureate
and his colleague George Hitchings who shared the
1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine said: "Some
of the nucleotides isolated by Subbarao had to be
rediscovered years later by other workers because
Fiske, apparently out of jealousy, did not let Subbarao's
contributions see the light of the day".
Subba Row was born on January 12, 1895 in Bhimavaram
in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh in a poor
Brahmin family. SubbaRow's family had to pass through
long years of poverty. He attended the Taylor High
School at Narsapuram. In early years his performance
at school education was far from satisfactory.
Often he would plan to run away from home. In fact
once he decided to shift to Varanasi where he thought
he would make lakhs of rupees just by selling bananas
to the pilgrims but he was intercepted and was brought
back. From Taylor High School SubbaRow was shifted
to Viresalingam Theistic School at Rajahmundhry but
here again he failed and could eventually matriculate
in his third attempt from the Hindu High School, Madras.
He passed the Intermediate Examination from the Presidency
College and entered the Madras Medical College, where
his education was supported by friends and Kasturi
Suryanarayana Murthy, whose daughter he married later.
Following Gandhiji's call he decided to boycott British-made
goods. He started wearing surgical gowns made of khaddar
which incurred the displeasure of his surgery professor.
Though he did not attend classes regularly, in his
final examination, he did well in all the papers except
that of surgery and consequently he was awarded the
lesser L.M.S. certificate instead of the M.B.B.S.
degree. He neither took up the examination again to
attain the M.B.B.S. degree, nor did he start medical
In 1921 he got admission to the postgraduate course
in Tropical Medicine of the Harvard School of Medicine.
The major hurdle was to collect money for the trip.
But then his brother Purushottam died after suffering
from tropical sprue, a vitamin deficiency disease.
After eight days of Purushottam's death Subba Row's
younger brother Krishnamurti also died in Eluru of
a stomach ailment. SubbaRow had to abandone his plans
of going to America. He tried to enter the Madras
Medical Service without success. He then took up the
job as Lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology at Dr. Lakshmi
Pathi's Madras Ayurvedic College--one of the earliest
attempts in India at putting Ayurveda on a modern
footing to meet the challenge of western Medicine".
The College traced its origin to a school started
by the trustees of Chennapuri Kanyaka Parmeswari Devasthanam
for training vaidyas. He realised that the conditions
at the college and also the objectives of its founder
were not conducive to true research in Ayurveda.
In1923, he got a cable from School of Tropical Medicine
at Harvard University "You will be admitted in
September. No Scholarship." So with Rs. 2500
raised by his father-in-law, Subba Row left for America
on the ship S. S. Khagar. SubbaRow reached Boston
on the night of October 26, 1923, and his real struggle
started.Dr. Strong(Dean) came in his rescue. He offered
SubbaRow some money so that he could register and
meet other immediate expenses. Even with Dr. Strong's
support SubbaRow could not get any fellowship. Moreover
his medical degree was not enough for getting internship
appointment in Boston Hospitals. He took up a job
of night porter in the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
His monthly salary was US $ 50. He had to work for
three hours in the night and his task involved washing
urinals and bedpans of patients.
Subba Row was awarded the Diploma of the Harvard
University School of Tropical Medicine on June1,1924.
After completing the Diploma Subba Row became interested
in biochemistry and started working with Cyrus Hartwell
Fiske. He got his Ph.D. degree in 1930 and a junior
faculty position. SubbaRow moved to Lederle Laboratories
(now, Wyeth Labs),Pearl River,NY in 1940 where he
Directed research. Subbarao remained an alien without
a green card all his life, he lived and died(Aug 9,1948)
an Indian, even though he led some of World War II's
Credit should go to sri S.P.K. Gupta who can be seen
at major conferences telling people about Subba Row,
to Mahanti and several directors of CCMB,ICMR and
Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swami
From the time of the oracle of Delphi to St. Joans
hearing of Voices, prognostication of
future events have had considerable influence on the
contours of History. To the vantage vision of a mystic,
past, present and future
may appear as one continuous stream of Time and a
prophecy may be more an accurate photographic recording
of an occurrence than a wild surmise. Prophecies are
sometimes given out as revelations found in a trance-state
and sometimes as answers mysteriously suggesting themselves
to one while one is sleeping. Whatever may be their
genesis prophecies are forewarnings. By
taking heed of these warnings, people may avert disaster.
It is the irony of life that a prophecy will be found
true only when people fail to take timely action to
thwart a predicted danger. Indian epics are full of
prophecies, heeded and unheeded.
Next to Bhavishyat Purana a prognostication
of mankinds future Kala Jnana Tatwa of Sri Pottuluri
Veera Brahmaendra Swami offers a glimpse of events
and trends destined to take place in the coming decades.
Very little is known about Sri Veera-Brahmams
childhood except that he was the son of Sri Paripurnachari
and Smt Prakruthamba and that he grew up under the
care of foster parents. Sri Veera Bhojacharya head
of the Papaghni math near Nandikonda and his wife
Smt. Veera-Papamba. Lovingly called Veeram Bhotlayya
he used to impress everyone by his extraordinary intelligence
and spiritual bent of mind. When in his thirteenth
year his foster father, died he not only bore the
blow calmly but proved a pillar of strength to his
desolate mother. His philosophic talksNext to Bhavishyat
Purana a prognostication of mankinds future
Kala Jnana Tatwa of Sri Pottuluri Veera Brahmaendra
Swami offers a glimpse of events and trends destined
to take place in the coming decades.
Very little is known about Sri Veera-Brahmams
childhood except that he was the son of Sri Paripurnachari
and Smt Prakruthamba and that he grew up under the
care of foster parents. Sri Veera Bhojacharya head
of the Papaghni math near Nandikonda and his wife
Smt. Veera-Papamba. Lovingly called Veeram Bhotlayya
he used to impress everyone by his extraordinary intelligence
and spiritual bent of mind. When in his thirteenth
year his foster father, died he not only bore the
blow calmly but proved a pillar of strength to his
desolate mother. His philosophic talksmade her understand
the illusory nature of attachments and the continuum
of consciousness in life and death. Realising that
her son is an enlightened soul, Papamba gave him permission
to leave home and go on a pilgrimage to holy places.
While Veeram Bhotlayya was visiting Harihara Kshetra,
he came across a yogi named AnandaBhairava. Anandabhairava
confessed to Veeram Bhotlayya that he took to Sanyasa
as a mark of repentance on his inadvertent killing
of a cow. To liberate him from the sin of killing
a cow Veeram Bhotlayya initiated him into Dwadasakharimantra
and gave him the boon that in his next birth he will
be born in a family of cotton growers and when he
comes of age he would become his (Veeram Bhotlayyas)
The next recorded evidence available about Sri Veeram
Bhotlayya is his stay as a sage in a Matt built for
his use in Banaganapalli by an elderly devotee, Acchamma.
Legend has it that Acchamma who initially entrusted
Veeram Bhotlayya with the task of tending cows was
surprised to hear that the young man was spending
more of his time inside a cave scribbling something
on palm-leaf parchments. She followed him one-day
and saw him draw a line round the cattleand command
them to stay within the line. The cattle implicitly
obeyed his command and Acchamma realised that the
boy was not an ordinary shepherd but must be a God
man of great powers. She walked into the cave which
was bright and aglow as with the light of a thousand
suns, and prostrating herself at his feet begged to
be excused for having treated him as a menial. Veeram
Bhotlyya gave her initiation into Dwadashakshari
mantra, and begged by her consented to stay for some
more time in Banaganapalli. Acchamma was one of the
few who were given the privilege of listening to the
future predictions written in the form of chants by
Sri Veeram Bhotlayya. During his stay at Banagapalli
math, Veeram Bhotlayya used to bury the palmleaf parchments
in a secret place underground and visitors to this
day make it a point to pay homage to the Tamarind
tree that grew in that spot. During the twelve years
that he stayed in that village Sri Veeram Bhotlayya
performed many miracles. He restored eyesight to Acchammas
son, Brahmanandareddy by suggesting a retribution
for Reddys sins of a past life. Once the Nawab
of that region who was jealous of the fame of Veeram
Bhotlyya sent word to him and after a hypocritical
show of respect and Courtesy, presented him a platter
covered with a muslin cloth.
Knowing that meat was taboo to the Hindu sage he
still filled the plate with dishes made of meat. Veeram
Bhotlayya accepted the plate and removed the cloth
cover. To the utter amazement of the Nawab and his
courtiers the platter was heaped with beautiful flowers
with no trace of meat anywhere. The Nawab fell at
his feet begging forgiveness and donated land for
the founding of an Ashram by Veeram Bhotlayya.. Annajayya,
a Brahmin disciple used to look after the math and
Ashram and it is he who made the predictions of his
master known to the public.
In the twelth year of his stay, entrusting the change
of the Ashram to Annajayya, Veeram Bhotlayya left
for Kandimallaya Palle, a village in Cuddapa
Taluq. He used to work as a carpenter and soon became
the spiritual leader of the village community. While
visiting the temple in a near by hamlet, Pedakomerla,
Veeram Bhotlayya chanced to come across a funeral
procession. Going near the bier Veeram Bhotlayya sprinkled
holy ash (Vibhuthi) on the corpse and to the amazement
of everyone the dead man, one Mr. Reddy, got down
and bowed to the feet of Veeram Bhotlayya. This created
a sensation in the village and most of the villagers
began worshippingVeeram Bhotlayya as the very incarnation
of God. A few non-believers wanted to play a trick
on him. One of them lay down on a bier pretending
to be dead and the rest approached Veeram Bhotlayya
with the request that their friends life be
revived. Wishing to teach them a lesson Veeram Bhotlayya
said their friend could not be brought back to life.
The non believers gleefully asked their friend to
sit up but were shocked to see that he was really
dead. Moved by their pitiful pleas for forgiveness
and help, Veeram Bhotlayya brought the young man back
to life and this won for him the respect and admiration
of everyone .
Veeram Bhotlayya accorded to a few seekers of that
village knowledge of his Kala Jnana chants pertaining
to events that would take place in the first five
thousand years of Kali Yuga. Sivakotayya was one of
those seekers and he reverentially offered his dauaghter
Govindamma as bride to Veeram Bhotlayya. Hearing that
Govindamma had chosen to remain unmarried all these
years as it was her wish to marry a man who is an
embodiment of Divinity, Veeram Bhotlayya smilingly
gave his consent. After the marriage the couple returned
to Kandimallya Palli and from there left on a pilgrimage
to holy places. After a shortvisit to Banagnapalli
they returned to Kandimallayya palli. Devotees built
an Ashram for them and Veeram Bhotlayya began to be
worshipped by devotees as Veeram Brahmam. The couple
were blessed with four sons and a daughter. All the
children were devout like their parents and took active
part in the spiritual programme conducted in the Ashram.
One day a fifteen year old Muslim boy, Sheik Saheb
came to the Ashram to become a disciple of Sri Brahmam.
Brahmendra Swami's sons refused to allow him in because
he was a Muslim. Brahmendra Swami rebuked them for
their intolerance and allowed the boy to enter. He
renamed the boy Siddhayya who turned out to be the
most loyal and devoted of his disciples. Siddhayya
is none other than Ananda Bhairava and in accepting
him as disciple Sri Brahmendra Swami was fulfilling
a boon he granted earlier. Brahmendra Swami gave Siddhayya
initiation into many spiritual practices including
Accompanied by his disciples Sri Veera Brahendra
Swami made a tour of all the important districts in
the Andhra, Telangana and Rayalaseema regions. He
halted for some time at Hyderabad and convening a
meeting of goldsmiths. He gave discourses on the three
important goals of life in the outer, middle and inner
planes. He surprised everyone in the court of the
Nawab by lighting a lamp that had water in it, instead
of oil. After predicting the future of the Hyderabadi
regime he started home. On the way back, to teachs
a lesson to some of the disciples who resented what
they thought was Brahmendra Swami favouritism to Siddayya,
he pointed to the carcass of a dog and ordered his
disciples to eat it. The carcass was decomposed, wormridden
and emitting an unbearably foul smell. No one wanted
to go near it. Siddayya sat by its side and began
eating it with relish as if it was a succulent sweet
dish. This demonstration of Siddayya's implicit obedience
to the words of the Guru shamed the disciples into
repentance. One more instance of Sri Veera Brahmendra
Swami miraculous powers was revealed to the disciples
when a Brahmin couple fell on the feet of Swamiji
and begged him to cure the Brahmin of the dreadful
disease of leprosy. Brahmendra Swami not only cured
him but gave the couple initiation, blessed them and
sent them home in a happy frame of mind.
By the privilege of association with Godmen, disciples
also acquire spiritual stature. This is proved in
the life of Siddhayya who was fortunate to learn from
Brahmendra Swamy the significance of reincarnation
and the way to achieve liberation form the cycle of
births. The Nawab of Cuddapa was angry that the Muslim
born Siddhayya became the disciple of a Hindu saint
and sent word to Siddhayya to come and give an explanation
for his conduct. Siddhayyas impassioned speech
on Adwaita not only placated the Musilm countries
but converted all of them into devotees of Brahmendra
Swami. The Nawab felt piqued that Siddhayya did not
bow down to him and rebuked him for his insolence.
Siddhayya them ordered the attendants of the Nawab
to bring into the hall a big black chunk of rock.
When it was brought in Siddhayya bowed down to it
and immediately it broke into a thousand pieces. Siddhayya
told the Nawab that had he bowed to him, the Nawabs
head also would have broken into pieces. Understanding
that Siddhayya had now acquired such spiritual status
that only Brahmendra Swami was fit to receive obeisance
from him the Nawab begged for forgiveness.
Once, over hearning Brahmendra Swams expounding
of the six energy centres (Chakras) to Siddhayya,
the cobbler Kakkayya wanted to see for himself the
deities presiding over each of the chakras. He murdered
his sleeping wife and dissected her body. Failing
to see any deities he rushed to Brahmendra Swami fell
his feet and weeping made a confession of what he
did Taking pity on him he accompanied him to his house
and ordered Siddhayya to follow him. Once inside the
hut Swamiji invoked the deities of the chakras and
showed them to Siddhayya and Kakkayya and then with
a touch of his hand he made whole the dissected body
of Kakkayyas wife and restored her to life.
Among the hundreds of miracles performed by Brahmendra
Swami mention may be made of his gulping down molten
iron, of teaching a lesson to the arrogant Brahmins
of Nandyal by making Siddhayya eat up all the rice
they prepared for serving at a feast, of describing
to a Nawab the features of a colt still in the womb
of its mother, of proving to a group of hostile scholars
that there is no scriptural injunction against non
Brahmins learning and reciting Vedas.
Once a group of thieves who entered the Ashram at
dead of night to loot it, lost their eyesight. Next
day taking pity on the blind robbers Swamiji talked
to them about the need for honesty and right living
and restored vision to them. At another time when,
without telling him his wife Govindamma cooked payasam
to be offered to Goddess Poleramma made the deity
come in person to partake of the offering. On the
last day of his earthly existence he gave trustee
ship of the Ashram to his son Govindachari and then
told his wife that all their sons will meet with an
early death, that there would be no progeny to supervise
the Ashram and that theirs daughters descendants
would take charge of the math. That day he deliberately
sent Siddhayya on an errand to collect flowers for
the worship of God because he knew that Siddhayya
cannot bear the sight of his beloved Gurus dying.
When Siddhayya came to know of Brahmendra Swamis
death, he was overcome by grief and tired to commit
suicide. Taking pity on him Brahmendra Swamiji came
out of the grave to present him with his sceptre,
sandals, ring and cane. He blessed him with clairvoyance
and commanded him to go to the village Mudumala get
married and spend his life in the Rajayoga path. Siddhayya
obeyed every one of these commands.
At the time of Brahmendra Swamis advent, India
was plunged in religious feuds between Hindus and
Muslims. Humanism was crushed in the name of the illusory
supremacy of caste. Brahmendra Swami preached the
religion of love which cuts across all man made barrlers
of creed, sect, and caste. His disciples included
Brahmins like Annajayya, Muslims like Siddhayya and
untouchables like Kakkayya. His progressive
outlook is reflected in marrying a mature maiden like
Govindamma at a time when child marriages were the
accepted social convention. Most Nawabs of the time
were his ardent devotees and this helped in promoting
communal harmony. After he left the physical body,
hundreds of Brahmendra Swamis disciples propagated
his teachings and travelled from one place to another
chanting the predictions written by him.
Like Vemanas teachings, the chants of Brahmendra
Swami also are simple and evoke immediate emotional
response from listeners. Some of Brahmendra Swamis
predictions are in prose form. Some are written as
moral maxims. Some offer exposition on philosophy,
spiritualism, and yoga practice. Some are written
as couplets. Many poems in praise of Kalikamba have
been written by Brahendra Swami. Some of these contain
cryptic esoteric truths. These will be intelligible
only to initiates in yoga. His songs are most popular
among religious mendicants. As in scriptures like
Bhavishyapurana, Bhagavatham and Harivamsam, his predictions
are mostly about the historical, geographical and
social changes that will take place towards the end
of Kali Yuga. As is supposed to be the case with the
western prophet Nostradamus, Brahmendra Swamis
predictions also have proved to be true. His chants
make anticipatory references to British rule in India,
the disintegration of the caste system, rapid strides
in science and technology, invention of trains and
automobiles, growing dependence on electricity and
electronic gadgets, the advent of Mahatma Gandhi,
widow remarriages and social acceptance of divorces,
the fall of aristocracy and the mounting prominence
of weaker sections of society; Brahmendra Swamis
chants also mention that power in the millennium will
be in the hands of women, and actors and that society
will witness a proliferation of fakes and quacks and
that there will be a general dwindling of moral values
and that honest people would be at the mercy of criminals
and rowdies. One positive feature about the chants
of Brahmendra Swami is their envisaging of an egalitarian
society where all class distinctions and caste division
would be eroded and the gates of opportunity would
be thrown open to all the rich and the poor,
men and women. As in Nostradamus in the Kala Jnana
chants of Brahmendra Swami also freaks and deformities
and monstrosities in nature, irrespective of their
pertaining to the plant, animal or human kingdoms,
are always mentioned as bad omens betokening disasters
about to take place. Similarly comets and meteorites
are used as indices of imminent social and historical
upheavals. Laxity in pointless orthodoxy is condoned
but dire warning is consistently used against straying
from the path of Dharma. Both wars which are the outcome
of human greed and hatred and calamities of nature
like floods and earthquakes are traced to the root
cause disharmonious life styles.
Sri Pottuluri Veera Brahmaendra Swami or Brahmam
Garu is one of the most popular historical saints
of the region, otherwise known as Brahmamgaru. He
and his doctrines are not only the centre of a living
cult but one of the most popular subjects for both
yakshaganams and padya natakams in Andhra Pradesh.
One of the natural caves at Yaganti called the Veera
Brahmam cave adds beauty and serenity to this holy
place. Potuluri Veera Brahmam has written his monumental
work, kalagnanam in this cave only. Yaganti is situated
at a distance of 17 kms. from Banaganapalle and 100
kms. from Kurnool. The Nandi (Basavanna) of the famous
Umamaheswara Swamy and Parvati Devi is a popular tourist
destination due to the prediction of Brahmam Garu
that the Basavanna of Yaganti will come out and shout
when kaliyuga ends. People believe that stone Nandiswara
(Basavanna) is increasing in its size. Yaganti Umamaheswara
Swamy temple was constructed and completed by the
first Vijayanagara Sangama Kings Harihara Bukka rayalu
in the 15th century. It was built according to Vaishnavaite
Sri Sri: Mahakavi Sri Sri as
he is populary know in the Telugu Literary world is
the Pen name for Srirangam Srinivasa Rao. He thoughtfully
took the "Sri" from his first and last names
to come up with Sri Sri. The man who went on to say
that this ERA was his (as far as Telugu Literature was
concerned), proved every bit of those words and indeed
gave a new look to the modern Telugu Language.
Sri Sri was by no means a unique phenomenon but a
rare, highly gifted product of his times, especially
the hungry thirties. Having retained some amount of
romanticist legacy both in diction and neo-classicist
a'la Viswanatha, he very soon discovered his own mighty
poetic expression. In a way contemporaneous with the
Communist movement, its birth and growth, he also
became the leading light among lesser poets such as
Pendyala Lokanatham, Garimella Satyanarayana and Settipalli
Venkataratnam. Soon he could attain full floated and
Without least hesitation, Sri Sri can be mentioned
as a master of poetic diction. Not only that, we could
even see him revealing in skillful sound patterns
conveying powerful and meaningful slices of life as
lived by the poor and the wretched. His knowledge
of versification is deep which is marked by rhythm
rhymings recalling Swinburne whose "Songs Before
Sun-Rise" impressed him early in life.
Though conversant with all modern trends such as Dadaism,
Surrealism, Expressionism and Existensialism, his
inclination towards Surrealism is more pronounced.
But these were only passing phases which failed to
strike root in the soil of Telugu literature. But
these trends enfranchised Telugu literature by familiarising
the Telugu reading public with glimpses of the western
culture. No doubt it was degenerate in nature but
relevant to the western context.
Sri Sri is an acknowledged and splendid alchemist
who created superb and marvellous originals in Telugu;
absorbing Easter and Western poetic influences. In
this context mention should be made of Nazrul Islam,
Harindranath Chattopadhyaya in Bengall Gurazada to
a great extent, Kavikondala and also Sistla to some
extent in Telugu; Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Paul
Eluard, Emile Verhaeren Louis Aragon in France; Mayakovsky
in Russia; James Joyce, Dylan Thomas and E.A Poe in
English. Hence it is but natural that Sri Sri's poetry
possesses universal essence.
Sri sri himself admitted that in those times his
knowledge of Marxism was not significant. But owing
to suffering in and around himself he could acquire
an understanding of it. He also developed an emotional
attachement towards communism. Hence he could render
its message into the most inspiring poetry e.g. 'I
OWE'. He was deeply influenced by the Spanish civil
war in his soul though he did not explicitly put into
poem. it is evident that Sri Sri did not stop hating
general Franco, the arch enemy of Communism until
the last breath of his life. Having presaged the advent
of World War II, he longed for the world of peace,
plenty and Universal brotherhood not of Utopian but
of proletarian or Marxist.
Sri Sri always stood by the cause of fighting masses
not only in India but also of Ireland, Poland, Czech,
China, Southern Africa, Zulus, and Hottentots. Probably
no other Indian poet either before or after Sri Sri
is marked by such a unique and universally valid poetry
of the highest and most powerful variety.
Though trained up in the school of Romanticism he
altogether opened new vistas as early as 1933. Trenchant
in a tone, militant in mood, buoyant in spirit he
was neither a lotus-eater nor a day-dreamer but a
down to earth realist tinged with revolutionary romanticism.
In 1937 and 1940 he dealt only with general themes
without stressing here and now. But in 1950s and afterwards
he rid himself of adolescent nationalist illusions
as well as the wishy-washy tearful and weak-kneed
progressivism. Hence Sri Sri's view point in his own
words is "realist- internationalist" but
not "nationalist-idealist". His modest claim
that there were only "Progressivism" in
Mahaprasthanam with an iota of "revolutionism",
it was the latter which marked him out for Par excellence.
More so after 1967 i.e., from Khadgasristhi his message
as well as music were meant for mankind in its onward
march to the fulfilmetn of its historic destiny.
Date of Birth jan 2 1910..
Expired on Jun 5 1983
Potti Sreeramulu: (16 March,
1901-16 December, 1952) was a freedom fighter. He became
famous for undertaking a fast-unto-death for achieving
the state of Andhra and losing his life in the process.
His sacrifice became instrumental in the linguistic
re-organization of states. He is revered as Amarajeevi
(Immortal being) in Andhra Pradesh for his sacrifice.
As a devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi, he worked
life long to uphold principles such as truth and non-violence
and objectives such as Harijan upliftment.
He was born to Guravayya and Mahalakshmamma on 16th
March 1901 in house no. 165, Annapillai Street, Chennai.
His ancestors belonged to the Patamatapalle village
of Nellore District. He studied in Madras till he
attained the age of 20. Later, he studied Sanitary
Engineering in the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute
in Bombay. He joined the Great Indian Peninsular Railway
and worked for about four years there.
After the death of his wife in 1927 when he was only
25, he lost interest in the material world and resigned
from his job. He divided property between his brothers
and mother and joined Sabarmati Ashram as a follower
of Mahatma Gandhi.
In an effort to unify the Telugu people, he attempted
to force the government to listen to public demands
for the unification of Andhra based on linguistic
lines. He went on a lengthy fast, and only stopped
when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised to support
unification. However, there was no movement on the
issue for a long time. He started fasting again for
attaining statehood for Andhra in Bulusu Sambamurthys
house in Madras on 19 October, 1952. It started off
without fanfare but steadily caught peoples
imagination despite the disavowal of the fast by the
Andhra Congress committee.
The government of the day however did not make a
clear statement about the formation of a new state
despite several strikes and demonstrations by Telugu
people. On the midnight of 15th December (i.e. early
16 December, 1952), Potti Sreeramulu passed away and
laid down his life trying to achieve his objective.
In his death procession, people shouted slogans praising
his sacrifice. When the procession reached Mount Road,
thousands of people joined and raised slogans hailing
Sriramulu. Later, they went into frenzy and resorted
to destruction of public property. The news spread
like wildfire and created uproar among the people
in far off places like Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam,
Vijayawada, Eluru, Guntur, Tenali, Ongole and Nellore.
Seven people were killed in police firing in Anakapalle
The popular agitation continued for three to four
days disrupting normal life in Madras and Andhra regions.
On 19 December, the Prime minister of the country
Jawaharlal Nehru made an announcement about formation
of a separate state. On 1st October 1953, the state
of Andhra was established. On November 1, 1956, Andhra
Pradesh was formed with Hyderabad as its capital.
Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka states were formed
the same day, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra
in 1960. The formation of linguistic states is the
single most important event in the history of South
Indian languages, as it provided an opportunity for
these languages to develop independently, each of
them having a state to support.
Tripuraneni Ramaswamy: At the
dawn of 19th century a reassessment of the existing
cultural values began in India and stalwarts like Ram
Mohan Roy, Eswara Chandra Vidya Sagar, Ranade, Dayananda
Saraswathi were pioneers of the renaissance movement.
In Andhra area K. Veeresalingam, Gurazada Appa Rao and
others took it up. Tripuraneni Ramaswamy had been a
worthy successor of the great reformers who undertook
the task and strove for the spread of new ideas among
Telugu speaking people.
Tripuraneni Ramaswamy was born on 15-01-1887 in Anagaluru
village in the Krishna District of the present day
Andhra Pradesh in a family of Agriculturists. Ramaswamy
grew up in an agricultural background, but tempered
by literary refinement. At the age of 23 he passed
Matriculation Examination and in the same year he
wrote two plays " Karempudi Kadanam" based
on Palanadu battle and also "Kurukshetra Sangramam"
based on Mahabharatha war. He joined the Noble College
at Bandar in 1911 to study for Intermediate Course.
In those years he displayed his literary skill and
prodigious memory in his Avadhanam.
In 1914, he went to Britain and studied law in Dublin.
There he studied not only law but also the vast English
Literature and the modern European culture. After
returning to India he practiced law for some years
mostly in Tenali town. But his main activity was directed
towards social reform. He launched a full scale attack
on the caste system and the social injustice which
were propagated by Smritis and Puranas and the institutionalized
religion. He led the fight against social inequality
He chose literary writing as the vehicle for expressing
his rationalistic thought for the awakening of his
people. His famous work 'SUTAPARANAM' in four cantos
was a fierce attack on ancient Puranas which were
powerful instruments to spread unquestioning faith
among the people in custom, tradition, caste system.
His inimitable logic and wide range of knowledge displayed
in his works are amazing. His poetic work " Kuppuswamy
Satakam" reveals the theme of ?Social Revolution
and tells many home truths about social evils, blind
faith and indignity to man. In this work he blazed
the train which Vemana centuries back heralded.
In all his other works such as 'SAMBHUKAVADHA",
"SUTHASHRAMA GEETHAALU', 'DHOORTHA MAANAVA',
'RANA PRATAP', 'KONDAVEETI PATHANAM', he made a rational
analysis of dogmas prescribed by ancient classics
and the injustice done to people belonging to lower
social order and attacked all the discriminating standards
advocated by the Smritis. He was a fighter for the
upliftment of the down trodden and the hapless.
Ramaswamy not only expressed his ideas in literature,
he tried to put them into practice. He was against
the cumbersome procedure of Hindu marriage resulting
in unnecessary expenditure. He prepared a simple procedure
in Telugu called,
'Vivaha Vidhi", himself officiated as priest
and conducted many marriages. When he was the Chairman
of Tenali Municipality he did not permit animal sacrifice
to appease Devatas. He fought against the Scourge
of untouchability. He was reformer in thought and
Ramaswamy was an ardent patriot even when he was
a student, he wrote a patriotic play "RANA PRATASP",
which was proscribed by thee British government. When
he was studying law at Dublin he wrote to Krishna
Patrika, a Telugu weekly appealing to Indians to support
the Home Rule movement stared by Annie Beasant. He
pleased for India's independence. Ramaswamy wrote
many patriotic songs inspiring the people to great
heights of sacrifice during the independence movement.
He was an ardent lover of Telugu language and culture
and was proud of their history.
He was an educationist and was a member of the senate
of the Andhra University for three terms. He was recipient
of many honors and was popularly known as 'KAVIRAJU',
a title conferred on him.
This great revolutionary thinker and poet died in
1943 but left him imprint on the development of rational
thought among Telugu speaking people.
His eldest son Tripuraneni Gopichand had left his
own indelible mark on the telugu literature. Gokulchand
Tripuraneni has contributed his literary might to
the telugu literature. One of his most famous and
outstanding works is in the form of a drama, reflecting
the drought of Bengal in the 1950s.
Ramaswamy's eldest daughter Sarojini Devi married
Subba Rao Kanumilli, an officer of Indian Administration
Services known for his ethical standards.
Pitcheswara Rao Atluri, a Royal Indian Navy mutineer,
during the Indian Freedom movement, married Ramaswamy's
youngest daughter Chouda Rani. She is perhaps the
first woman, to run a bookstore exclusively in Telugu
language in Tamilnadu. She too contributed to the
telugu literature in her own way. She passed away
Bammera Potana: (1450-1510)
was born in Bammera, a village twenty miles away from
Warangal, into a Niyogi Brahmin family. His father was
Kesanna and his mother was Lakkasanamma. He was considered
to be a natural scholar (sahaja panditha) without a
teacher. Potana was a very polite gentleman. He was
an agriculturist by occupation. Though he was a great
scholar, he never hesitated to work in the agricultural
At an early age he wrote Bhogini Dandakam
a poem wrote in praise of king Sri Singa Bhoopalas
concubine Bhogini. This was his first poetic venture
which had the seeds of his great poetic talents. His
second work was "Virabhadhra Vijayamu" which
describes the adventures of Lord Virabhadhra, son
of Lord Shiva. The main theme was the destruction
of a yagna performed in absence of Lord Shiva by Daksha
As a young man, he was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Later,
Potana became a devotee of Lord Rama and more interested
in salvation. His conversion from Shaivism to Vaishnavism
was triggered by an incident. One early morning during
a lunar eclipse, on the banks of river Godavari, Potana
was meditating on Lord Shiva. At that auspicious moment,
Lord Rama appeared dressed like a king and requested
Potana to translate Bhagavatam into Telugu and dedicate
it to him. This inspired him to translate Vyasas
Sanskrit Bhagavatam into Telugu.
The king of Warangal, Sarvajna Singa Bhoopala, wanted
Potana to dedicate Andhra Maha Bhagavatamu
to him. But, Potana refused to obey the kings
orders and dedicated the Bhagavathamu to Lord Rama,
whom he worshipped with great devotion. It is said
that Potana remarked, it is better to dedicate
the work to the supreme Lord Vishnu than dedicate
it to the mortal kings. He was of opinion that
poetry was a divine gift and it should be utilized
for salvation by devoting it to the God.
He was quite fond of using rhythm and repetition
of sounds giving a majestic grace to the style of
writing. He was very skilful in using alankaras (figures
of speech) like similes and metaphors. Potana imparted
the knowledge of the divine to the Telugu people along
with lessons in ethics and politics through Andhra
Even illiterate Telugus readily quote verses from
chapters 'Gajendra Mokshamu' and 'Prahlada Charitra'
of his work, Andhra Maha Bhagavathamu,
the crown jewel of Telugu literature. Andhra people
are greatly indebted to the most beloved poet Bammera
Potana, who lived in the later part of the 15th century,
is the author of several works like Narayana Satakamu,
Veerabhadra Vijayamu and Bhogini Dandakamu. Potana
also translated the Bhagwata Purana into Telugu in
his great classic Andhra Mahabhagavathamu.
Dasaradhi was born on July 25, 1925 in a middleclass
Vaishnava family (Vaikhaanasa Brahmin). His native village
was Chinnaguduru in Manukota taluqa in Khammam district.
He was a great pundit in Andhra, Sanskrit, and Tamil
languages and puranas (mythology). He was an orthodox
Brahmin and strictly followed Brahminism and its principles
without any exceptions. He graduated in Matriculation
from KhammamGovernmentHigh School and gave up higher
education to join the movement against autocratic Nizam
Muslim rule in the HyderabadKingdom.
As a volunteer in Andhra Mahasabha (Left Wing), Krishnamacharyulu
traveled from village to village in Telangana to enlighten
the public. Mahatma Gandhi and Veeresalingam Kandukuri
influenced him. However, he joined leftwing, as most
of his friends were leftists and communist revolutionaries.
Krishnamacharyulu began writing poetry very young
as a student. His poetry was revolutionary and was
influenced by communist and leftist ideology of Carl
Marx. Downtrodden, poor, exploited, workers etc. were
his subjects in poetry. He strongly believed that
the capitalist, feudalist and autocratic society under
Muslim rule would give way to democracy and equality.
The Indian Continent was liberated from the British
Rule and the Indian Union was formed in 1947. Many
independent kingdoms and principalities joined the
newly formed Indian Union. However, HyderabadState
under autocratic rule of the then ruler Mir Osaman
Ali Khan did not join the Union. Mir Osaman Ali Khan
failed to control the atrocities committed by Mazlis
Ittehadul Muslimeen Party. At this juncture, State
Congress Party under the leadership of Swamy Raamaanandateerdha
called for an action against the autocratic Muslim
rule. Thousands of people went to jail by responding
to this call and participating in "satyagraha
(civil disobedience)." Dasaradhi was arrested
in 1947 and was sent to Warangal central jail, along
with many other eminent leaders like Kesavarao Jamlapuram,
Hiralal Moria, Kesavarao Gella, Kishanrao Kolipaka,
Narayanarao Utukuri, Manikyarao Gandham, Kaloji etc.
Dasaradhi was later moved to Nizamabad central jail.
He wrote poetry in jail. He left Telangana when released
from jail and went to Vijayawada and wrote poetry
against the King in "Telugu Desam," a daily
paper devoted to news and articles related to Telangana
and Nizam's rule.
In 1948, the Indian Union took over the HyderabadState
in a police action and put an end to to the autocratic
Nizam rule and to the violence unleashed by the Muslim
Razakars and Mazlis Ittehadul Muslimeen Party. Later,
the Telangana part of the Hyderabad state was united
with the state of Andhra, which was separated in 1953
from the MadrasProvince of the British India, and
formed the present state of Andhra Pradesh in 1956.
In 1949, his first poetry compilation entitled "agnidhaara"
was published. It contained tiles such as [i]maatrubhoomi,
desabhakti, prajaporatam, dharmachakram, vasantakumari,
silpi etc. He published rudraveena in 1950, in which
he described the life of starving poor. His works
includemahaandhrodayam, punarnavam,mahaboadhi, Galib
geetaalu, Dasaradhi satakamu , kavita pushpakam, timiramto
samaram , aalochanaalochanalu etc. In addition, he
wrote lyrics for many Telugu movies. His debut movie
was vaagdanam. He wrote approximately 2000 lyrics
for the film industry. His "timiramto samaram"
bagged the Sahitya Akademy (the Indian National Academy
of Letters) Award in 1967. (The Sahitya Akademi was
formally launched by the Government of India on March
12, 1954. Sahitya Akademi gives twenty-two awards
to literary works in the twenty-two national languages
it has recognised and an equal number to literary
translations from and into the languages of India,
both after a year-long process of scrutiny, discussion
and selection.) In 1975, the AndhraUniversity honored
Dasaradhi Krishnamacharyulu with title "kalaprapoorna."
In 1976, the AgraUniversity honored him by conferring
D. Litt. Degree.
After a democratic rule was established in Hyderabad,
Krishnamacharyulu served in the government of Andhra
Pradesh for sometime. Later, he worked for All India
Radio Vijayawada and Madras (Chennai) as a prompter
and retired in 1971. He served as the Government Poet
from 1971 through 1984. He also rendered services
as an emeritus producer for All India Radio and Doordarshan
(Television). He died in 1987.
Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao (1922-1974):
It is possible that someone else was accorded more recognition,
better paid, more in demand (hardly), more titled. But
for generations of Andhras born between 1940 and 1985,
Venkateswara Rao, popularly known as Ghantasala was
numero uno and no one else stood a chance for this special
place in their hearts.
Before Ghantasala found himself in the spotlight
of public attention, through the media of films and
gramophone records, he was an accomplished singer
with impeccable training in Carnatic music.
He was born on 4 December 1922 in Choutupalle near
Gudivada into an ordinary family. His father Surayya
was an itinerant singer of Narayana Teertha's tarangas;
he also played the mridanga. He was the first teacher
of little Venkateswara Rao. Ghantasala would dance,
as a child of six to his father's singing of taranga-s
and this earned him the title of Bala Bharata.
Surayya, who was always more into music and musing
than looking after the family fortunes, died when
Ghantasala was 11. The family was then taken care
of by maternal uncle Ryali Pichiramaiah. Ghantasala
was interested in music but had no opportunity to
improve himself. At this time, someone made fun of
him when he gave a concert. Stung to the quick, he
solemnly vowed to himself that he would seek proper
and systematic training and silence his critics.
In those days, proper coaching was available (in
Andhra) only in Vizianagaram (then in Visakhapatnam
district). As family circumstances did not permit
him to go there for further study, he decided to sell
his gold ring and get there surreptitiously.
When he reached Vizianagaram, however, the MusicCollege
was closed for the summer. And there seemed to be
little chance of getting admission when it opened.
Into this darkness came a ray of light through Paatrayani
Sitarama Sastry of Salur who taught singing at the
college. (P. Sangeetha Rao, the asthana composer of
Vempati Chinna Satyam is his illustrious son; he also
assisted Ghantasala for many years in films). Through
his kindness and as per the decision of the principal
Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, who auditioned him, Ghantasala
found himself a student of vocal music.
Before gaining admission, and with it the eligibility
for eating free at the Maharaja's choultry, he had
to fend for himself. He did that by eating once a
day through the week at different houses (aayavaram)
or even by madhukaram (begging for food as a brahmin
Around this time, a lady from a family of traditional
entertainers, Kalavar Ring aka Saride Lakshmi Narasamma,
a singer, recording (gramaphone) artist, dancer and
harikathaka, as well as a woman famed for her charity,
showered kindness on the eager student. This he recalled
fondly and gratefully even 45 years later.
After getting his degree, Ghantasala got home and
eked out a living by giving wedding concerts mostly
classical music with a large sprinkling of taranga-s,
keertana-s, of Ramadas, etc.- apart from singing at
nine-day festivities associated with Sree Rama Navami,
Dasara and Vinayaka Chaturthi. As a matter of fact,
even after settling in Madras, Ghantasala's early
broadcasts from AlR were strictly classical music.
Finding it difficult to make ends meet, he dabbled
in traditional drama, starting his own company and
sometimes sharing the stage with the stalwarts of
the time. Inspired and incited by the revolutionary
fumes that enveloped the country in 1942, he joined
the Quit India movement; as a consequence he was sentenced
to Eighteen months' rigorous imprisonment. Once he
came out, however, he found that there was no residue
of the political fever in him.
He got married to Savitri of Pedapulivarru. It was
in this village that he met Samudrala Raghavacharya
who was responsible for his induction into the film
industry in Madras.
By 1944, he was hanging around the periphery, by singing
in choruses, doing bit roles. He was seen fleetingly
and heard distantly in Nagaiah's 'Tyagaiah' (1946),
as part of the disciple band. In 'Yogi Vemana' (1947),
thanks to Nagaiah again, he was both seen and heard
as a nattuvanar in the beautiful song and dance sequence
(Aparani taparnayera, Sreeranjani/Adi) featuring M.V.
Then child actress, heroine, singing star and producer
C. Krishnaveni took him on as an individual composer
for her film 'Manadesam' (1949). 'Keelugurram', released
the same year, established him once for all as a composer-cum-singer,
the most prolific till the seventies in Telugu cinema.
Many of Ghantasala's compositions were ragapure in
the early days. He was less fastidious later, realising
that, for films, this was not necessary. Surprisingly,
he never sang a Tyagaraja Kriti in a film, though
he can be heard singing Marugelara (Marga Hindolam
/ Adi) on the LP he made on his only visit to the
It is not very well known that Ghantasala wrote some
lyrics too at one time. He sang many of them on AIR-Madras.
One, Bahudoorapu batasari, was recorded by Gramco
and he was neither paid for it nor given credit. These
lyrics, seven of which have been collected in the
book titled Bhuvanavijayam published on his triumphal
return from the U.S., are simple and philosophical
in nature. Or about rustic love that lost its way.
He had a great regard for Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry
who was associating himself with Samudrala's film
output at that time. The substance of Malladi's mellifluent
lyrics, if not the style, must have influenced him.
This is particularly discernible in Bhoomi pommannadi,
aakasam rammannadi (The earth bids goodbye, the sky
His way with the Telugu padyam (verse) was incomparable.
Padyam was a part of the performing arts of Andhra,
mostly through mythological dramas, for 50 years.
The intent was primarily musical- with what intricate
curlicues, what breath control the singer managed
being more important than characterisation or serving
the needs of the moment in the play.
Ghantasala changed all this with his sophisticated
interpretation (not on stage but on 78 rpm gramophone
records) of the author's intent, the character's intent,
the character's turmoil being at once musical and
accessible. These verses were rendered without tala
(rhythm) as before but he generally had a short, metrical
musical interlude doing what background music does
in films, setting the stage and emphasising the mental
stage of the character. Poets Karunasri and Jashuva
enjoyed great regard amongst the literatteurs, but
it was Ghantasala who rendered their songs and introduced
their work to the man on the street.
Long before singers got on to the TTD/Annamacharya
bandwagon, Ghantasala recorded at least a dozen sides
singing the praise of Venkateswara (not through Annamayya
though, only the US LP had Kolani dopariki, alas the
pallavi wrongly split!) Ashtapadi-s on a Super Seven
disc, Bhagavad Gita on an LP were the other assets
Seshasailavasa, the beautiful composition of Pendyala
in Reetigaula in 'Sree Venkateswara Mahatyam' (1960).
This will continue to introduce to the future generations
the physical attributes of Ghantasala. The musical
ones are forever enshrined in the musical scores of
'Shavukaru' (1950), 'Chiranjeevulu' (1956) and the
songs in 'Rahasyam' (1967) that won wah-wahs from
Chittoor Subramania Pillai, a strict traditionalist.
It is no rahasyam that Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry's
lyrics inspired him to this sublime level.
Alluri Sitaramaraju: One of
the great and famous freedom fighters was ever born
on the soil of Andhra Pradesh was Alluri Sita Rama Raju.
He was born on the 4th of July 1894. His father died
when Rama Raju was very young; therefore he has to stay
with his relatives to complete his education. Rama Raju
was very well versed in the arts of using a spear and
horse riding. He liked to exercise and was a very good
archer too. Rama Raju was a great patriot right from
his childhood. As he grew up, Rama Raju developed aesthetic
interests and spent most of his time meditating. Since
he wanted to lead a aesthetic life, Rama Raju left for
jungles in the year in 1917 and reached a place called
Krishna Devi Peta. He was loved and respected by the
tribals lived in the Krishna Devi Peta. After the brutal
murder of the freedom fighter named Kannaganti Hanumanthu,
by the Britishers in the present district of Guntur,
Rama Raju became more prominent on the scene of the
freedom movement. During those days Britishers levied
heavy taxes on the tribals and also caused a lot of
hard ships to them. An officer by name Bastion had insulted
the head of the village of this jungle named Gantam
Dora. He also kicked Gantam Doras brother Mallu
Dora. Bastion had assigned one of the tribals, Endupadal
with the work to lay a road, but refused to pay him
the wages. The tribals then Sought Sita Rama Rajus
help. Suspecting Rama Raju to create a supposed mutiny,
The britishers increased their vigilence on him. A deputy
superindent, in the year 1922, came to interrogate Rama
The British government, inorder to prevent him from
taking an active part in the freedom struggle gave him
a pair of oxen and a field to cultivate. Rama Raju too
started leading a life of a farmer. But Rama Raju gave
up farming just after four months. He then started an
ajitation against the British Governments atrocities,
along with Endupadal, Gantam Dora and Mallu Dora and
the other tribals. In August 1922, Sita Rama Raju along
with 500 other people attacked a police station in a
place called Chinta Palli. They seized all the weapons
in the police station. They also attacked the Krishna
Devi peta police station and seized the weapons from
this station too. When the Government realized this,
it deployed additional forces to Krishna Devi peta.
Once the british officers were attacked on a ghat road
in which an officer named Trimenmore was killed and
though Bastion was injured, he put up a brave fight.
When the police came to know that Rama Raju performed
a Devi pooja at Krishna Devi peta as apart of a custom,
they planned to capture him then. But this plan was
failed when they were on their way to the place, by
Rama Rajus men and the police had to retreat.
The chief officer-in charge of the Madras state
wrote a letter to the Central government briefing them
about this incident. In the mean time the attacks of
Rama Raju and his men were claming the lives of many
a British officer.Rama Raju also attacked the police
stations of places called Adda Teegala and Rompa chooda
Varam, but because of the Governments precautionary
measures he could not get hold of many weapons. The
Government appointed additional officers to tackle Rama
Raju and was constantly informed of the developments
by the officials in their letters. The british troops
under the officer John Charles on 6th December, 1922
attacked Rama Raju and his men, in which four of Rama
Rajus men were killed. In another attack , the
next day many other Rama Rajus men were killed.
On 7th April, 1923, when Rama Raju attacked the police
station at Anna Varam people gave him a divine welcome
and sang to his praise. When another freedom fighter
named, Vegi raju Satyanarayana Raju, heard about Rama
Raju, he too joined agitation and later came to be know
as Aggi Raju.
On 18th September 1923, police caught Mallu Dora.
Later, Sita Raju and his men attacked camp in a place
called Gudem They also attacked a police in a place
called Paaderu but found no weapons there. The British
Government now declared Rama Raju WANTED and declared
prize money to the person who informed them of his
whereabouts. Therefore, according to the earlier devised
plan, the officials captured most of Ram Rajus
men. When Rama Raju came to know of this, he grieved
and decided to surrender. He then wrote a letter to
the British officials informing them of his surrender
and asked them to com to a village named Mampa. Sita
Rama Raju, who had come to surrender, was ruthlessly
shot by the British Officials led by officer Ruther
Ford. Thus the life of a great freedom fighter was
put to an end by the cruel Britishers on 7th May 1924.
Ballari Raghava(1880-1946) :
Raghava Ballari was one of the greatest Telugu
drama artists. He was born on August 2, 1880 in Tadapatri,
a village in Anantapuram district. His father was Narasimhachari
and mother was Seshamma. His religion was Vaishnava
and belonged to a caste/tribe called Srivaishnava. He
was married to Krishnamma, daughter of Lakshmanachari
He finished his Metric in Ballari High School and
graduated from Christian College, Madras (now Chennai).
He practiced law after graduating from Madras Law
College in 1905. Very soon he became rich and popular
as a criminal lawyer and well known for his cross
examination tactics. The British Government recognized
his talent and appointed him as a public prosecutor
and also awarded him the title "Rao Bahaddur."
From his childhood, he was very interested in drama
and started his acting career at the age of 12. He
founded Shakespeare Club in Ballari and played Shakespeare
dramas. Raghava portrayed main characters in various
dramas in Sreenivasarao Kolachalam's group called
Sumanohara in Bangalore.
Harischandra, padukapattabhishekamu, savitri, brihannala,
ramaraju charitra, ramadasu, tappevaridi, saripadani
sangatulu, etc. were his famous dramas. He visited
various countries like Sri Lanka, England, France,
Germany and Switzerland and gave seminars and lectures
on Indian drama art. He was also invited to America
and Russia, but he was unable to go to these countries.
Eminent people like Mahatma Gandhi and artists like
Rabindranath Tagore were impressed by his dramas.
He was very popular among the common people as well.
He encouraged women to participate in drama. His
students who later became very popular included female
artists like Sarojini Kopparapu, Padmavati Kommuri
and Annapurna Kakinada, and male artists like Vasudevarao
K.S., Apparao Basavaraju and Kanaklingeswarrao Banda.
He flirted with film industry briefly. In 1936, he
played Duryodhana in Reddy H.M.'s "draupadi maana
samrakshanam." He also acted in raitubidda and
chandika. However, he quit the film industry quickly.
Raghava was influenced by a spiritual master Pandit
Taranadh who established an ashram on the banks of
Tungabhadra river and contributed a lot to this ashram.
He used to provide financial help to anyone in need.
He was against traditional extravagant marriages and
ghettoism. He lived a simple life, in spite of his
He believed that music should be down played in drama
and social dramas related to social reforms should
be given more importance. He advocated that drama
should bring some social benefit to the society, in
addition to entertainment. He continued his interest
in drama until his last day on April 16th, 1946. A
prestigious award "Ballari Raghava Puraskaram"
was instituted in his memory and is awarded to talented
artists who contributed to drama and cinema.
Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu (1872
1957):Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu was an Indian
freedom fighter and the first Chief Minister of the
state of Andhra. He was widely revered as Andhra Kesari.
Childhood and Education
He was born in a Niyogi Brahmin family in the current-day
Andhra Pradesh.When he was 11, his father passed away
and his mother had to run a boarding house (restaurant)
at Ongole to make ends meet and ensure that her kids
had good education.When E. Hanumantha Rao Naidu, his
mentor and teacher at school, shifted to Rajahmundry,
he took Prakasam along with him as that place had better
opportunities for education. Though interested in
becoming a lawyer since childhood, Prakasam failed to
clear his matriculation examination as he fell into
bad company and regularly entered into brawls apart
from devoting a lot of time to acting in plays. He however
managed to go to Madras and become a second-grade pleader.
He became a successful lawyer in Rajahmundry and made
a lot of money in a short time. He also became well
regarded in a short period of time and was elected the
of Rajahmundry when he was 30. This was the beginning
of his stint in public life.
He reached England in 1904 and took to his studies diligently.
He joined the India Society and worked for the election
of Dadabhai Naoroji, a famous nationalist, to the parliament.
His exposure to other nationalist leaders and experiences
in England further aroused his interest in public life.
Struggle for independence
When Simon Commission visited India, the congress
party decided to boycott it with the slogan "Simon,
Go back;" There were a host of reasons for this
boycott, the most important being that the commission
did not have a single Indian in its ranks. The commission
was greeted with demonstration of black flags wherever
it went. When the commission visited Madras, the police
did not allow protests in some sensitive areas. Nevertheless,
the crowd grew large and restive near the high court
(Parrys corner) and the police resorted to firing
with a view to control it. However, a young man was
on the spot. The police warned the people that they
would shoot if anyone tried to come near the body.
At this, Prakasam grew enraged and tore open his shirt,
baring his chest and daring the police to shoot at
him. Understanding the situation, the police gave
way to him and other supporters. After this incident,
people respected him with the epithet
of "Andhra Kesari" (Lion of Andhra).
Prakasam was the first prominent leader from South
India to offer individual Satyagraha against the war
effort in 1941.He was arrested for more than three
years for participating in the Quit India movement
of 1942. After his release in 1945, he toured South
India to get back in touch with the
masses. In 1946, congress party again contested and
won in the Madras Presidency. This time, Prakasam
became the chief minister as he and Kamaraj, a Tamil
leader, were against Rajaji - the choice of leaders
such as Gandhi and Nehru - becoming the chief minister.
However, the government lasted for only 11 months,
as it was felt that Prakasam was not accommodating
enough to various varying interests. He was not gracious
in losing power and levelled corruption charges against
the new ministry.
However, he was more interested in the welfare of
common people and visited Hyderabad state during the
Nizam rule in 1948, without heeding warnings for personal
safety by Jawaharlal Nehru. He met Qasim Rizvi, the
leader of Razakars (who were allegedly under the pay
of Nizam and terrorised general public) and warned
him about pushing his luck too far. The Razakars were
impressed by his courage and accorded him a march
of honour.In 1952, he formed the Praja Party (Peoples
party) and ensured that all the sitting
ministers of the Congress Party were defeated. However,
Praja party could not come into power by its own and
the coalition that he cobbled up collapsed even before
a show of strength could be contemplated.
Meanwhile, in December 1952, Potti Sriramulu died
fasting for the cause of a separate state for the
Telugu-speaking people. On 1st October 1953, the state
of Andhra was created and Prakasam, due to his reputation,
was made the chief minister. However, due to opposition
from the communists and halting support from the socialists,
the government fell after a year. Mid-term elections
were held in 1955 by which time Prakasam had more
or less retired from active politics. On 1st November
1956, the erstwhile Hyderabad state
was merged in the Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh.
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, a staunch follower of Prakasam
became the chief minister.
Though retired from politics, Prakasam was active
in touring the state. On one such visit to Ongole,
he suffered from severe sunstroke. He was admitted
in a Hyderabad hospital and passed away on 20 May,
However, his legacy as a freedom fighter is cherished
to this day, especially in Andhra Pradesh.
Dr C Narayana Reddy: Dr. Cingireddy
Narayana Reddy (born on July 29th 1931) in Hanumajipeta,
a remote village in the interior of Karimnagar district.
Born as Singireddy but his association with telugu made
him to keep c instead of S as initials aka C Na Re received
the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 1988 for his contribution
to Telugu literature.
He completed his Master's degree and Ph.D. degree
in Telugu literature from Osmania University.
He worked in Osmania University as a professor and
attained very high positions and earned many awards.
It could be surprising to learn that Dr.CNR studied
in Urdu medium till his graduation. Dr.CNR is the
only Telugu person who has received Jnanpith Award
other than Sri Vishwanadha Sathyanarayana. He was
nominated to the Rajya Sabha later. Students of Dr.CNR
are often heard recollecting his grip over the language,
especially his poetry reading sessions.
He is also popular by virtue of being a lyricist
to several famous Telugu films.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma
Shri in 1977 and the second highest civilian award,
the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.
Durgabai Deshmukh: Durgaibai,
was married (at the age of 15) when she was a child
just like, every other girl in those times , in India.
After hearing Gandhiji's sermons, she joined the freedom
struggle, took to wearing khadi clothes and selling
them in the streets in Kakinada and Rajamundry. She
was activiely involved in the "Videshi vastra dahan,
Swadeshi vastra apnao" andolan [burn foreign clothes
and wear native material movement], a boycott of Clothes
manufactured in the foreign (English) mills and promotion
of the Khadi (locally woven material).
In her childhood, she did not study much, later she
completed her Intermediate [program], BA Honours from
Andhra University (Vishakhapatnam). At Vizag, she
was dynamic even on the campus. She would even cook
for the entire hostel, if the cook was absent for
days. She worked with Congress Workers like Bulusu
Sambha Murthy, Tanguturi Prakasam, Pandit Nehru, etc.,
and went to Gandhiji frequently for advice. She achieved
great academic excellance too.
At Madras, she started the Chinna Andhra Mahila Sabha,
in Mylapore for the betterment of womenkind. She was
intrumental in starting Hindi, English, music classes
for women. She sought and got, donations from the
rich for her cause and made Andhra Mahila sabha a
very big institution.
After India got its independance, she was one of
the most important people in the Indian Congress Party.
While working here, she met Chintamani Deshmukh, her
true soul mate, and ICS officer, who later became
the Finance Minister in the first Cabinet under Prime
Minister Nehru. Deshmukh was a widower. They got married
in Delhi about 1954. Later they came to Mumbai, to
the house where Deshmukh's younger brother and mother
At that time V.N.Murti was in Mumbai too. Durgabai
batchmate from Vishkhapatnam college days.While working
at RBI, as a
Statistician, he hosted a reception for the newly
wed couple in Mumbai. He invited Maharashtrian friends
of Deshmukh and the Telugu friends of Durgabai for
dinner and hosted the reception to Mumbai in grandeur.
After that they came to Hyderabad, and bought land
next to Osmania Univ and built a house and called
it Rachana. They were also instrumental in convincing
V.N. Murti to buy a plot nearby.In the same neighbourhood,
they got the Literacy House built, eminent leaders
like Indira Gandhi, Sarojini Devi and M .Venkat Rangaiya
came to give lectures at the Literacy House.In Hyderabad
, she established and started the Andhramahila sabha,
elimenatry school and then went on to build larger
institutions like the hospital, and the colleges ,
which even today run succesfully. It was started with
the vision of providing illetrate people of AP an
opportunity to learn how to read and write.
The colony was named after her as Durgabai Deshmukh
Colony. Durgabai left her husband to join the Congress,
later she got him married
to another brahmin girl who was more suited to be
the home maker that he needed, than Durgabai herself.
Soon after the wedding, the girl became a widow. Durgabai
then brought Timmaiamma (who is still alive) to Andhramahila
sabha and involved her activily for the upliftment
of women in Andhra Pradesh.
After she passed away, Shri V.N Murti was appointed
the Chairman, and he generated funds and grants for
continuing her good work. Forwarding the cause of
the women, Shri VN murti started a puppetry cell to
use puppetry as a medium to communicate with the help
of Ratnamala Nori . The purpose was to spread the
message of literacy to villagers and the uneducated
population in a familiar medium (puppetry has traditionally
been used in India to tell stories). Today the Cell
is a self sustaining unit and carries on the good
work that was the vision of Durgabai Deshmukh.
She was called 'Veeravanitha', another name for a
woman warrior on India and a very apt one for her
life and its work.
Shyam Benegal: Born in 1934
as Vangala Shyam Sundar Rao in Andhra Pradesh, Shyam
Benegal originated what has come to be called "middle
cinema". He was initially involved in the advertising
industry and produced over 900 advertisements before
his interest turned to films. His first feature film
in Hindi, Ankur tells the story of an arrogant urban
youth who returns to his ancestral home in feudal Andhra
Pradesh. His subsequent affair with the wife of one
of his laborers (played powerfully by Shabhana Azmi
in her debut) and her eventual call to arms against
the feudal system brought him criticism for using a
purportedly "un-Indian" approach in his films
and also for "victimizing" women. The film
unquestionably had the merit of bringing the problem
of feudal and patriarchal structures to the fore. In
1969 he received a special fellowship to study operations
of the Children's Television Workshop in New York. Later
he did a brief stint as a TV producer in Boston. Benegal
did not direct his first feature film, The Seedling
(1973), until he was 40. Since then he has become a
popular director in India, noted for creating films
sensitive to the role of women in Indian societies.
His films are also gaining international recognition
Nishant (Night's End, 1975), starring Shabhana Azmi,
is in some sense a continuation of Ankur. Again sexual
exploitation of women is used to bring out the evils
of feudal oppression. Manthan (The Churning, 1976)
was financed in the most unusual manner, in that 500,000
members of the milk co-operatives in Gujarat each
donated Rs. 2 towards the production of the film.
This was truly a people's enterprise. In this film,
Shyam Benegal introduces a westernized doctor to a
village who sparks off an uprising of the local untouchables.
The doctor is also attracted to a local woman, and
consequently Benegal is once again able to explore
the nexus of sex and power. Benegal was to explore
the roles to which women are confined in Indian society
in Bhumika (The Role, 1976), where he reveals the
highly ambivalent attitudes of Indian society when
it comes to letting a woman assert herself independently.
The film is based on the autobiography of the Marathi/Hindi
actress Hansa Wadkar, deftly played by Smita Patil.
Benegal's diversity of producers is actually a reflection
of the diversity of his films. But through this wide
variety of themes - rural exploitation, development
of workers' co-operatives, the feudalism in industrial
or royal families, to give some examples - there is
a discernible common thread. That thread is about
Whichever film you look at, you see Shyam Benegal's
pre-occupation with the cataclysmic forces which are
taking India from tradition to modernity, from a deeply
conservative, rigidly hierarchical society to a more
open, democratic and egalitarian one.
For many years, Benegal's films were associated with
grim representations of Indian realities, and the
same set of characters appeared in many of his films
and those associated with the New Indian Cinema: the
oppressive landlord, the corrupt official, the hypocritical
politician, the subjugated tribal woman, the struggling
villager, and so on. But Benegal has always had wider
interests, and in Kalyug he attempted to give the
Mahabharata a modern interpretation by representing
the dispute within a large business family. Moreover,
the films of recent years show his lively engagement
with questions of narrativity. The same experiment
in narration is witnessed, though less successfully,
in Sardari Begum (1996), which is said to be a fictional
exploration or representation of the life of the great
vocalist, Begum Akhtar.
During the 1980s, when Indian New Wave cinema witnessed
a collapse, Benegal turned his attention to an upcoming
mass media, the television. He produced the teleserial
Bharath Ek Khoj (1988) for Doordarshan, based on Jawaharlal
Nehru's 'Discovery of India'. Which even after two
decades stands as one of the best teleserials produced
in India He is also a respected documentary film-maker,
and his most recent endeavor in this direction is
a cinematic study of the early years of Gandhi in
South Africa: thus the Making of the Mahatma. He has
also taught at the Film and Television Institute in
Pune and continues to be an influential presence in
Indian film circles. He returned to feature filmmaking
after a gap of almost six years and has since been
making features regularly but with mixed results,
Suraj ka Saatwaan Ghoda (1992) and Samar (1998) particularly
standing out in this period. The former, based on
Dharmveer Bharati's well known novella, focuses on
a bachelor who recounts over two evenings to a group
of his friends, the stories of three women who came
into his life at different periods of time. Rich in
texture, it becomes abundantly clear that more than
love stories; they are reflections on shifting social
values, indeed an individual's growing up.
A pioneer of the new cinema in India, Shyam Benegal
has been considered as the leading film-makers of
the country ever since his first feature film, ANKUR
was released. His films have been seen and acclaimed
widely not only in India but in international film
festivals for the last twenty-five years. The core
subjects of his films have been varied in nature but
mainly centered on contemporary Indian experience.
Problems of development and social change appear on
many levels as a continuing thread in practically
all his films.
Apart from fiction features, he has made a number
of documentaries on different subjects ranging from
cultural anthropology and problems of industrialization,
to music and so on. His work on television consists
of several popular series based on international short
stories, by well-known Indian writers and a mammoth
53 part series on the history of India. He has also
made an extra-mural educational series for children.
Shyam Benegal taught mass-communication techniques
between 1966 and 1973 and later took an active role
in shaping film education as Chairman of the Film
and Television Institute of India during 1980-83 and
As a person deeply committed to social integration
in India, Shyam Benegal was a part of the National
Integration Council (1986-89) and the National Council
of Arts. The Government of India has conferred on
him two of its most prestigious awards PADMA SHRI
(1976) & PADMA BHUSHAN(1991).
Shyam Benegal's career started with a job as a copy
writer in advertising from where he graduated to become
the creative and accounts and group head before becoming
a full time film maker. He has lectured in many institutions
in India and abroad as well as participated in seminars
on subjects dealing with Cinema, Television, Information
Technology and different aspects of social and cultural
Practically all his films have won national awards
and several of them have been awarded internationally.
He was a Homi Bhabha Fellow (1970-72) during which
time, he studied children's television and work for
a few months as an Associate producer with WGBH Boston,
USA and devoted sometime with the Children's Television
Workshop in New York. Shyam Benegal runs a film production
company in Mumbai called Shyam Benegal Sahyadri Films.
Shyam Benegal entered the arena of the Hindi film
industry with his first feature film, Ankur which
was widely appreciated by the masses & the critics
and was also felicitated with prestigious awards.
Benegal laments the decay in the parallel cinema
movement in India. He feels that in the modern day
market driven by global commitments, the loss of art
work in cinema could have more to do with lack of
right packaging and market management then the viability
of its content. But then these thoughts could be wishful
thinking of a die-hard optimist.
On 31st October Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh
conferred on Benegal the Indira Gandhi Award For National
Integration for his role in strengthening the values
of society.Since then there has been no looking back
for this immensely talented director. Till date, he
has created an array of thought provoking films that
catapulted Indian talent in the international platform
of film industry.
Films he made/associated with:
· Ankur (1973)
· Charandas Chor (1975)
· Nishant (1975)
· Manthan (1976)
· Bhumika (1976)
· Kondura (1977)
· Junoon (1978)
· Kalyug (1980)
· Aarohan (1982)
· Mandi (1983)
· Trikaal (1985)
· Antarnaad (1992)
· Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda (1992)
· Mammo (1994)
· Hari Bhari
· Sardari Begum
· Zubeida (2000)
· Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005)
Mr. Benegal is an affable person with a great
sense of humor, and that made it so much easier to
talk to him. I wish I had taped him when checked my
facts on some notes I had gathered. He is a great
story-teller, and some interesting portions of his
story remained untaped" says kamla batt who had
a conversation/interview with shyam.
Kancherla Gopanna: (alias Bhadrachala
Ramadasu, CE 1620-80 approx)is one of the most popular
personalities in Telugu history, music and literature.
There is hardly anyone in Andhra Pradesh that never
heard his songs. Many people, from scholars to beggars
know some of them. They are known for their superb lyrical
quality and Bhavaucityam. His Dasarathee Satakam has
also been an extremely popular Satakam. Many old timers
know several poems of the Satakam by heart. He became
popular not by virtue of being a king, a warrior or
a great scholar but because of his captivating life
story and his equally touching songs and poems.
Kancerla Gopanna was born in Nelakondapalli village
of present day Khammam District. He was a nephew of
the famous akkanna and madanna. They were the chief-of-army
and the prime minister, respectively, in the court
of the Muslim king Abul Hasan Kutub Shah (alias tanasha
or taneesha). This Kutubshahi king was the last and
the most liberal in a line of very open-minded rulers
of Golconda (which later became the Hyderabad State
under the Nizams). akkanna and madanna rose from the
ranks of courtiers and in CE 1682, occupied the highest
offices under the king. Their popularity with the
king as well as with the general population was partly
responsible for the court intrigues that eventually
lead to the downfall of this once prosperous kingdom
in CE 1687.
He was said to have drawn towards the worship of
Rama even as a boy. It is said that he received the
"Sri Raama Raama Raameti Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasranaama Tattullyam Raamanaama Varaanane "
from Saint Kabir, he took to the chant of this mantra
with his heart and soul. He became ultimately God
Taneesha was well versed in telugu like his predecessors.
He appointed Gopanna as the tahaseeldaar of the present
day Bhadracalam area. Gopanna for a while was busy
collecting taxes on behalf of the Nawab and looking
after the areas. One day, Ramadasu heard the news
that the villagers of palvoncha paragana were proceeding
to witness Jatara at Bhadrachalam , He too out of
curiosity visited Bhadrachalam . He found the deities
in an amazing appearance and was quite disturbed at
the sad and dilapidated state of the once famous temple.
Ramadasu then asked the villagers to contribute liberally
for the construction of the temple .The villagers
in response appealed him to spend the revenue collections
for the construction of the temple with a promise
to repay the amount after harvesting the crops .
Towards the completion of the temple , he had a problem
of fixing 'Sudarshana Chakra' at the crest of the
main temple . He was deeply distressed and fell into
sleep . On the same night , Rama in his dream asked
him to have a holi dip in river Godavari where he
will find that - accordingly . On the next day morning
Gopanna did so and found holi Sudarshana Chakra in
the river with out much difficulty . He presumed that
Sudarshana Chakra itself was shaped up with the divine
power of his beloved God Rama. His private coffers
ran out in no time. Undaunted, he used up the revenue
he collected for the nawab and straightened up the
place to a much better condition than when he originally
The king, however liberal he might be, demanded the
revenue due to the government. Failing to get a satisfactory
answer, he remanded Gopanna to a jail cell with orders
that he be released only after the exchequer received
all the taxes in full. Apparently, his influential
uncles could do nothing to intervene on his behalf.
Gopanna spent the next eleven or twelve years in the
jail. One can still see this particular cell inside
the Golconda fort. Gopanna, by now famous amongst
the local populace as Ramadasu (Lord Rama's servant),
began writing many beautiful musical compositions
while in the jail cell. They praise the Lord for all
his mysterious ways and plead with the Lord to ease
his suffering. If that doesn't work, they plead with
his consort Sita to recommend to her husband to ease
his devotee's pain. All else failing to invoke a response,
they even resort to accusing God of being an ingrate.
Of course, the songs quickly apologize for the harsh
language and end in a state of total and unconditional
surrender to the will of the Almighty. These are some
of the most endearing songs in the entire Indian musical
literature. Many of his compositions are second to
none in terms of feeling and Bhavaucityam. In spite
of this, for some mysterious reason, Gopanna does
not seem to have been given his due as an early pioneer
of the Karnatic music. It is said that the Tondaiman
rulers of Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu loved Ramadasa
keertanas very much and took great interest in popularizing
At long last, it is said that Lord Rama decided that
his devotee's suffering had reached its pre-ordained
ending (because of a certain transgression his soul
had committed in a previous birth). Rama and Lakshmana
took the disguise of two young warriors and entered
the bedchambers of the king in the middle of the night.
They gave the king the requisite money in gold coins
imprinted with Rama's own seal. The king was bewildered
at the presence of these charming but strange youngsters
in his inner quarters. They demanded and obtained
on the spot, a written receipt for the money. The
receipt was shown to the Jailer who released Gopanna
the same night. The next day, both Gopanna and the
nawab realized what had happened. Gopanna did not
care much for his release but was inconsolable at
his not having seen his Lord even with all his devotion
while the nawab, in spite of being a Muslim, had a
visit from the Lord. The Lord then appeared to Gopanna
in a dream and explained him the real reasons for
his actions and promised him salvation at the end
his natural life. The king was convinced that what
had happened was a miracle of Allah. He sent the entire
money back to the Bhadracalam temple. Until recently,
it was the royal custom of the Hyderabad State to
send gifts to the temple on the occasion of Sree rama
navami celebrations every year. Even if we concede
that there are inevitable embellishments in the story
of Gopanna, it has certainly captured the popular
imagination. In that sense, he ranks as one of the
greatest devotees in the Indian religious systems
-along the same lines as annamacharya and others in
Telugu Bhakti tradition, the famous Alvars and nayanars
of tamil tradition or tukaram of Maharashtrian tradition.
It is unclear at what point of life had Ramadasu
composed his famous Dasarathee Satakam. From internal
evidence, we can conjecture that the bulk of the poems
were written either before the jail term or well after
his imprisonment ended. We see in the poems, a devotee
firmly entrenched in his belief system, content at
the thought that he received his calling in life,
convinced that there is salvation at the end of the
tunnel. Compare the poems with the KalahasteeSwara
Satakam by dhurjati. dhurjati was also a great devotee.
Some of the sentiments expressed by the two are very
similar. Both were firmly attached their own chosen
forms of the Supreme Being. Both sought the same end
result-salvation from the cycle of pain and suffering.
Ramadasu was convinced that he was going to get it.
dhurjati knew that it was possible but was unsure.
dhurjati was negatively preoccupied with all the ills
of the society. He could not explain all the problems
and troubling aspects he saw in the world around him.
Ramadasu also saw the same things to some extent,
but just imagined that they were part of life and
that his Lord will take care of them. dhurjati could
not calm himself that way and could not contain his
tongue from lashing out. In the end, both the Satakams
Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan was born in Tirutani on September 5, 1888
into a poor brahmin family. His father Sarvepalli Veeraswami
was employed on a meagre salary in the zamindari. His
mother's name was Sitamma. It was difficult for Radhakrishnan's
father to educate him with a meagre income and a large
family to take care of.
Radhakrishnan went through most of his education on
scholarships. He initially went to school in Tirutani
and then to the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati
for his high school. He joined the Voorhee's College
in Vellore but switched to the Madras Christian College
at the age of 17. He chose philosophy as his major and
attained a B.A. and M.A. in the field. He was afraid
that his M.A. thesis, "The Ethics of the Vedanta"
would offend his philosophy professor, Dr. A.G. Hogg.
Instead, Dr. Hogg commended Radhakrishnan on doing an
excellent job. Radhakrishnan's M.A. thesis was published
when he was only 20 Radhakrishnan was married to Sivakamuamma
at the age of 16 while still in Vellore. Radhakrishnan
accepted an Assistant Lectureship at the Madras Presidency
College in 1909. While at the College, he mastered the
classics of Hindu philosophy, namely the Upanishads,
Bhagvad Gita, Brahmasutra, and commentaries of Sankara,
Ramunuja and Madhava. He also acquainted himself with
Buddhist and Jain philosophy. At the same time he read
philosophical commentaries of Plato, Plotinus, Kant,
Bradley, and Bergson. Later on in his life, he studied
Marxism and Existentialism.
In 1914, in a strange twist of fate, Radhakrishnan met
Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical genius. Srinivasa
was leaving for Cambridge for studies and had come to
seek Radhakrishnan's blessings because a goddess came
in his dream and told him to do so before undertaking
the trip. The two never met again.
In 1918, Radhakrishnan was selected as Professor of
Philosophy by the University of Mysore. By the time,
Radhakrishnan had written many articles for journals
of repute like The Quest, Journal of Philosophy and
the International Journal of Ethics. He completed his
first book "The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore."
He believed Tagore's philosophy to be the "genuine
manifestation of the Indian spirit." Radhakrishnan's
second book, "The Reign of Religion in Contemporary
Philosophy" was published in 1920.
Radhakrishnan's books and articles, drew the attention
of Ashutosh Mookerjee, Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University.
He nominated Radhakrishnan to the prestigious George
V Professor of Philosophy at the Calcutta University,
1921. In 1923, Dr. Radhakrishnan's "Indian Philosophy"
was published. The book was in response to the request
made by Prof. J. H. Muirhead, to write a book on Indian
philosophy for the Library of Philosophy. Radhakrishnan
accomplished this mammoth task by producing a systematic
and readable account of Indian philosophy. The book
was hailed as a "philosophical classic and a literary
Radhakrishnan was called to Oxford University, England,
to deliver the prestigious "Upton Lectures"
on "The Hindu View of Life." The lectures
were followed by an invitation to head the Department
of Comparative Religion at Oxford. A philanthropist,
Spalding, created a professorship for Radhakrishnan
to teach Religion and Ethics at Oxford.
Radhakrishnan used his lectures as a platform to further
India's cause for freedom. He thundered, "India
is not a subject to be administered but a nation seeking
its soul." He would graphically describe the "shame
of subjection and the lines of sorrow" apparent
on every Indian's face.
In 1931, Radhakrishnan was elected Vice Chancellor of
the Andhra University. The University was in a state
of stagnation. Radhakrishnan restructured the Honors
and Post- Graduate teaching in Humanities and Languages,
and Science and Technology Departments from scratch.
By the time he left in 1936, he had transformed the
University into a robust and well-recognized institution.
In 1939, Radhakrishnan became the Vice Chancellor of
the Benaras Hindu University, Uttar Pradesh, founded
by Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya. The University was under
pressure from the Governor, Sir Maurice Hallet, to turn
the campus into a war hospital in response to the Quit
India Movement launched by Gandhiji and the Congress.
Radhakrishnan rushed to Delhi and successfully persuaded
the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, to halt the Governor's
action. The Governor instead suspended financial support
to the University. Radhakrishnan went on "a Begging
Pilgrimage," to collect funds from sympathizers
and philanthropists. When Malaviyaji retired from University
work completely, the Benaras Hindu University requested
Radhakrishnan's services for an indefinite period which
Radhakrishnan acquiesced to.
After independence on August 15, 1947, Radhakrishnan
was requested to Chair the University Education Commission
in 1948. The Radhakrishnan Committee's suggestions helped
mould the education system for India's needs.
In 1949, Dr. Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador
to the Soviet Union. The appointment raised many eyebrows
because people wondered what kind of an impression Radhakrishnan,
a student of idealist philosophy, would make on Joseph
Stalin, an ardent communist. In 1950, Radhakrishnan
was called to the Kremlin to meet with the Premier.
This was rather irregular. Radhakrishnan was accompanied
by Indian Embassy Minister, Rajeshwar Dayal and Soviet
Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky and interpreter Pavlov.
Radhakrishnan told Stalin, "We had an emperor in
India who, after bloody victory, renounced war and became
a monk. You have waded your way to power through force.
Who knows that might happen to you also." Radhakrishnan
was referring to Stalin's infamous "bloody"
purges. Stalin smiled and replied, "Yes, miracles
do happen sometimes. I was in a theological seminary
for five years!"
On April 5, 1952, a few days before Radhakrishnan's
departure for India, Stalin called on Radhakrishnan.
Radhakrishnan records Stalin's face being bloated. Radhakrishnan
patted him on the cheek and on the back. Stalin said,
"You are the first person to treat me as a human
being and not as a monster. You are leaving us and I
am sad. I want you to live long. I have not long to
live." Stalin died six months later. Radhakrishnan's
legacy in Moscow was a firm and friendly understanding
between India and the Soviet Union. A relationship which
has flourished over the years and has become even stronger.
Radhakrishnan was elected Vice-President of India in
1952. The Vice-President presides over the Rajya Sabha
(Upper House) sessions, much like the Speaker does in
the Lok Sabha (Lower House). Often, during a heated
debate, Radhakrishnan would intervene with slokas from
the sanskrit classics or quotations from the Bible to
calm the charged atmosphere. Nehru commented later,
"By the way in which Radhakrishnan conducted the
proceedings of the Rajya Sabha, he had made the meetings
of the House look like family gatherings!"
Dr. Radhakrishnan was honored with the Bharat Ratna
in 1954. Around the same time, an 883-page compilation
titled "The Philosophy of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan"
was released in America.
In 1956, Radhakrishnan's devoted wife, Sivakamuamma,
passed away after sharing 50 years of married life.
The couple had five daughters and a son.
After serving two terms as Vice-President, Radhakrishnan
was elected President of India in 1962. Radhakrishnan's
tenure as President was marked by the disastrous Indo-China
war of 1962, his state visit to the United States in
1963, the end of the Nehru-era with Nehru's death in
1964, and India's victorious performance against Pakistan
in 1965 under Lal Bahadur Shastri. Radhakrishnan guided
each of the Prime Ministers wisely and helped see India
through those trying years safely. Radhakrishnan refused
to continue for another term as President after his
term ended in 1967.
At the age of 79, Dr. Radhakrishnan returned to Madras
in May 1967 to a warm homecoming. He spent his last
years happily at his house "Girija" in Mylapore,
Dr. Radhakrishnan died on April 17, 1975.
Vishwanadha Satyanarayana (1895-1976):
Satyanarayana was born on October 10, 1895 in a
Shaivite Brahmin family to Shobhanadri and Parvatamma
in Nandamuri village. His wife was Varalakshmamma. He
had his primary education in Nandamuri, Indupalli and
Pedapadu villages and higher education in Bandaru City.
He was lucky to have Venkatashastri Chellapilla as Telugu
teacher in Bandaru High School.
After finishing his BA, he joined Bandaru High School
as a teacher. He continued his studies part time in
the pursuit of MA and graduated from Madras University.
He resigned from his teaching position to paticipate
in Mahatma Gandhis Non-cooperation Movement.
Later he took up various teaching positions at Bandaru
National College (1928), Gunturu Christian College
(till 1933), a private college in Vijayawada (1933-1959),
and Karimnagar Arts and Science College (1959).
Satyanarayana started his writing career in 1916 with
Visweswara Satakam, a devotional poetic
composition as a tribute to his family God, Lord Visweswara
(the God of the entire World).
At the same time, he wrote andhra pourusham,
a patriotic poetical composition. A drama dhanya
kailaasam and a novel antaraatma
include his devotional works composed by his at that
time. He wrote kinnerasaani song, girikumaara geetaalu,
nartanasaala, sringaaraveedhi, and anaarkali in 1921-23.
He wrote his famous composition veyipadagalu
in 1933-34 for which he was awarded with titles and
awards, such as kavisaamraat (emperor of poets)
and an award by Andhra University. Later he wrote
ramaayana kalpavriksham, paamupaata, terichiraaju,
pillala ramaayanamu etc.
For his contributions the Andhra nation felicitated
him with various awards and festivals. Telugu People
felicitated him in 1942, during Sankraanti festival
with an elephant ride and celebrated his 60th birthday
festival in 1956 in Gudiwada. He served as vice president
of Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy in 1957 and as a
nominated member of Legislative Council in 1958. Andhra
University celebrated his achievements by awarding
him with kalaaprapoorna title in 1964.
The federal government of the Indian Union honored
him gnyaanapeeth award for his ramaayana
kalpavriksham in 1971 and the Andhra Pradesh government
honored him by hiring him as the State Poet.
Satyanarayana is considered one of the greatest Andhra
poets and writers. He was the first Telugu to receive
the federal gnyaanpeeth award. He died in 1976 leaving
behind more than one hundred works that include poetic
compositions (~15), satakas (6), song collections
(13), dramas (20), novels (60), Sanskrit dramas (10),
literary cricisms (10), and many essays and radio
Maadapaati Hanumantharao (1885-1970):
is one of the prominent founding fathers of modern Telugu
Nation. He awakened the sleeping Telugu people of Telangana
to rise against the autocracy of Nizam rule in the independent
state of Hyderabad. He stirred up love and nationalistic
feelings for Telugu language and Telugu nation. He played
a huge role in the renaissance of Telugu literature
and Telugu language. His role in development and spread
of movement for libraries and Andhra movement and in
the formation of State of Andhra Pradesh is historical.
Hanumantharao was born on January 22, 1885 in his maternal
grandparents' home in Pokkunuru village of Krishna district.
His father was Vekatappayya and mother was Venkatasubbamma.
Venkatappayya was karanam (clerk or accountant) of Kasarabad
Hanumantharao finished his primary education in Suryapeta
and Warangal. After graduating from high school, he
joined the Office of Educational Inspector in Warangal
and worked for 8 years as a clerk. Then he went to Hyderabad
and worked for 5 years as a Telugu translator in the
Nizams government. Then, he graduated in law in
1917 to become a lawyer. He became one of the prominent
lawyers soon after he started his law practice. He retired
after 24 years of successful law practice.
His first marriage was with his niece Annpurnamma in
1903. Annapurnamma gave birth to a daughter. After his
first wifes death in 1917, he married Manikyamma
in 1918 and had a son, Sukumar.
He founded Andhra Janasangham in 1921 for the benefit
of Telugu speaking people in Hyderabad kingdom. He became
the secretary of Andhra Janasamgham and spread its branches
throughout Telangana. This association became Nizam
State Andhra Mahaasabha in 1930 and played a historical
role in inspiring Telugu people. Hanumantharao chaired
the fourth convention of Nizam State Andhra Mahaasabha.
In addition, Hanumantharao played an important role
in establishing Sri Krishnadevaraayaandhra Bhaasha Nilayam,
Vemanaandhra Bhaasha Nilayam, Naraayanguda Aandhra Baalikonnatha
Paathasala, Mahila Kalaasala etc.
Hanumantharao is also a first rate writer and poet.
His writings include Roman Samraajyam, Kshetrakaalapu
Hindvaaryulu, Mahabharata Sameeksha, Garibaldi Jeevitacharitra,
Mallikaaguccham etc. He wrote several articles in the
journals like Sujata, Andhrabharati, Desabandhu, Golaconda
etc. He also wrote editorials in Musheer-E-Deccan, an
Urdu journal. After Hyderabad kingdom joined the Indian
Union in 1948, he was elected as mayor of Hyderabad
in 1951. Government of India awarded him Padma
Bhushan, in 1955 and Osmania University conferred
him honorary doctorate in 1956. After the Andhra Pradesh
state was formed (in 1956), he served as the first Chairman
of Legislative Assembly from 1958 through 1963.
Yogi Vemana :There is no agreement
among the scholors regarding the year of birth of the
great poet. No definite dates are, therefore, available
regarding his birth or death. However, Vemana is believed
to have lived in the later half of the seventeenth century
and the first decades of the eighteenth century. He
had spent the best part of his life in the Cuddapah
and Kurnool Districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Vemana , a Telugu poet, was a farmer by profession,
Vemana was not designed to lead an easy life. He had
more than an ordinary man's share of trials and tribulations,
and they at once toughened and refined him into a
remarkable man. His original insight and varied experiences
enabled him to propound three trends in philosophy,
a social philosophy, an ethical philosophy and a religious
He has composed numerous poems in Telugu in Aata
Veladhi metre which consists of four lines; but the
fourth line, with some exceptions, is a mere refrain
or chorus in these words Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema.
Vemana's style is simple and his poems deal with various
social problems and they propose some solutions too.
He expresses the feelings of a social reformer and
many of his poems criticises and awakens the ardent
followers of the old traditions.
Many lines of Vemana's poems managed to become colloquial
phrases of the Telugu language. All poems end with
the signature line Viswadhaabhi Raama, Vinura Vema.
There are also many interpretions of what the last
line signifies. It is commonly believed that Viswadha
was his lover and neglected other responsibilities
in his youth and later realised and became a saint
and poet. He is also known as Yogi Vemana.
Though Vemana Satakam (literally means collection
of 100 poems though he actually wrote a couple of
thousands) is very famous in Telugu literature relatively
very less is known about the actual poet. His poems
are of many kinds, social, moral, satirical and mystic
nature. All of the vemana poems are in Ataveladi(dancing
Vemana was a kapu and native of Cuddapah district
and believed to have lived in Gandikota area of the
district but there is no unanimous agreement among
scholars about the period of Vemana. C.P.Brown who
did extensive work on Vemana in his preface to English
translation Verses of Vemana states that the date
of birth Vemana states in verse 707 to be Vemana's
date of birth. The cyclical date of Hindu calendar
coincides with 1652.
YOGI VEMANA defies all labels. He is not an atheist
but cannot be called a theist either, although a believer.
He is part of the daily lives of the Telugu people.
He did not go about preaching his ideas, but they
nevertheless form part of the daily thinking of the
people; again, his ideas and logic are unchallengeable
but no one follows them. A poet of the people, a philosopher
of equality and a fighting saint, Vemana was unique
in many ways. His teachings have much contemporary
relevance for he was a dreamer of one world and of
the universal brotherhood of man.
Vemana is a people's poet. Not formally educated,
he seems to have acquired some knowledge of poetics.
He could not obviously handle Sanskritised Telugu
and used pure Telugu, simple and straightforward,
and wrote his poetry in one particularly simple metre,
Vemana's language is chaste and crisp, his diction
is limpid and smooth, his analogies fresh and bold.
His poetry is a spring, pupae and spontaneous and
original in thought and style. The metre chosen by
Vemana for his poetry is ataveladi. literal meaning
is 'A dancing damsel', and Vemana made it dance exquisitely.
In his thought, Vemana is akin to Tiruvalluvar, kabir
and Sarvajna. He is a bard of universal man. His conception
of oneness of man is indeed so grand, so all inclusive
that he urges-Serve food to all all the people of
the world in one plate; make them dine together forgetting
all their differences; and with uplifted hand bless
them live like one.
Uppu Kappurambu nokka polika nundu
Chooda chooda ruchulu jaada veru
Purushulandu Punya purushulu veraya
Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema
Translation: Although salt and camphor look alike,
they can be distinguished easily by taste. So are
virtuous people different from the normal run.
Pingali Venkayya: The man who
designed Tiranga Few of us associate the name of Pingali
Venkayya with anything else other than as being the
original designer of the national flag. But how many
of us know that this versatile genius was a prolific
writer, a Japanese lecturer and a geophysicist? Born
on August 2, 1876 to Hanumantharayudu and Venkataratnamma
at Bhatlapennumaru in the Divi taluk in Krishna district,
Pingali was a precocious child. After finishing his
primary education at Challapalli and school at the Hindu
High School, Masulipatnam, he went to Colombo to complete
his Senior Cambridge. Enthused by patriotic zeal, he
enlisted himself for the Boer war at 19. While in Africa
he met Gandhi, and their rapport lasted for more than
half a century. On his return to India he worked as
a railway guard at Bangalore and Madras and subsequently
joined the government service as the plague officer
at Bellary. His patriotic zeal, however, did not permit
him to stagnate in a permanent job, and his quest for
education took him to Lahore where he joined the Anglo-Vedic
College, and learnt Japanese and Urdu. He studied Japanese
and history under Prof Gote.During his five years? stay
in the north, he became active in politics. Pingali
met many revolutionaries and planned strategies to overthrow
the colonial rule. The 1906 Congress session with Dadabhai
Naoroji witnessed Pingali emerging as an activist and
a force behind the decision making committee. Here he
met the famous philanthropist, the Raja of Munagala,
and from 1906-11, he spent his time in Munagala researching
on agriculture and the crops. For his pioneering study
on the special variety of ?Cambodia cotton?, he came
to be called ?Patti Venkayya?. Even the British were
taken up by his contributions in the field of agriculture
and conferred on him honorary membership of the Royal
Agricultural Society of Britain.
Finally, this man went back to his roots at Masulipatnam
and focused his energies on developing the National
School (at Masulipatnam), where he taught his students
basic military training, horse riding, history and
knowledge of agriculture, soil, crops and its relation
to nature. Not content with being a theoretician,
Pingali's day-to-day activities also reflected a deep
commitment to his liberal values. In 1914, he turned
his agricultural land into an estate and named it
The prismatic colours of his personality reflected
an unusual ray in the years 1916-21. After researching
into 30 kinds of flags from all over the world, Pingali
conceived the design of a flag which became the forbearer
of the Indian national flag. Though all credit goes
to Pingali for having conceived the national flag
in its present form, its antecedents can be traced
back to the Vande Mataram movement.
For a brief history of the origins of the Indian
flag we have to go back to August 1, 1906 to the Parsee
Bagan Square (Green Park) at Calcutta where the first
national flag of India was hoisted. This flag was
composed of horizontal stripes of red, yellow and
green. The strip on the top had eight white lotuses
embossed in a row. On
the yellow strip were the words Bande Mataram in deep
Madame Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries
hoisted the second flag in Paris around 1907. This
was similar to the first flag except that the top
strip had only one-lotus andseven stars denoting the
saptarishis. This was exhibited at a socialist conference
in Berlin. By the time the third flag went up in 1917,
the political struggle had taken a definite turn.
Annie Besant and Tilak hoisted the flag during the
Home Rule Movement with an addition in the left hand
corner (the pole end), the stamp of the Union
There was also a white crescent and star in one corner
indicating the aspirations of people of those years.
The inclusion of the Union Jack symbolised the goal
for dominion status. However, the presence of the
Union Jack indicating a political compromise, made
the flag unacceptable to many. The call for new leadership
brought Gandhi to the fore in 1921 and through him
the first tricolour flag.
The years 1921-31 constitute a heroic chapter in
not only Pingali Venkayya's life but also in the history
of the freedom struggle of Andhra. The AICC met at
a historic two day session at Bezwada (March 31 and
April 1, 1921). It was at this session that this frail
middle aged gentleman, Pingali, approached Gandhi
with the flag he designed for India. Pingali?s flag
was made of two colours, red and green representing
the two major communities of the country. Thus the
Indian flag was born but it was not officially accepted
by any resolution of the All India Congress Committee.
Gandhi?s approval made it popular and it was hoisted
at all Congress sessions. Hansraj of Jallandar suggested
the representation of the charkha, symbolising progress
and the common man. Gandhi amended, insisting on the
addition of a white strip to represent the remaining
minority communities of India.
A consensus could not be reached until 1931. The
designing of the colours in the flag ran into rough
weather even as communal tension broke out on the
issue of its interpretation. The final resolution
was passed when the AICC met at Karachi in 1931. The
flag was interpreted as saffron for courage, white
for truth and peace, and green for faith and prosperity.
The dharma chakhra which appears on the abacus of
the Sarnath at the capital of Emperor Ashoka was adopted
in the place of spindle and string as the emblem on
the national flag.
Interpreting the colours chosen for the national
flag, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan explained the saffron
colour denoted renunciation or disinterestedness of
political leaders towards material gains in life.
The white depicted enlightenment, lighting the path
of truth to guide our conduct. The green symbolised
our relation to the soil, to the plant life here on
which all other life depends. The Ashoka wheel in
the centre of the white strip represented the law
Speaking philosophically, he remarked that the national
flag ought to control the principles of all those
who worked under it. The wheel denoted motion and?
India should no more resist change as there was death
in stagnation?. Pingali Venkayya, the illustrious
visionary, the designer of the national flag died,
unhonoured on July 4, 1963, in conditions of poverty.
It was only a few years ago that his daughter began
to receive pension from the government. There is not
even a memorial in his hometown Machilipatnam to the
man who brought such glory to Andhra. Even the original
house has been razed to the ground
Gurajada Apparao: Gurajada Venkata
Appa Rao panthulu garu [1862-1915] is perhaps the most
celebrated modern Telugu writer. There may be controversies
and strong sectarian feelings surrounding other great
writers like Sree Sree and Viswanatha. But Gurajada
is universally respected for heralding the modern era.
His epochal writings had far reaching influence and
encompassed many aspects of modern Telugu Literature.
Sree Sree and several other major figures had almost
idolized him. His works have retained their freshness
even a century after they were originally written. His
Kanyasulkam is billed as one of the greatest works in
world literature. Many a literary critic said repeatedly
that if one were to collect a list of one hundred indispensable
books from all the languages of the world combined,
Kanyasulkam would figure prominently in that list. Gurajada
was a scholar of classical works as well as European
literature. He was one of the earliest to part ways
with classical traditions in poetry, drama, and prose.
His close associates such as Gidugu Rama Murty and his
own initiatives were primarily responsible for what
is now known as Vyavaharika Bhasha Vadam
In more ways than one, his 1910 work Mutyala Saralu
(along with Kattamanchi Ramalinga Reddis musalamma
maraNam, 1898 ) form the earliest works heralding a
break with traditional poetry. If one must anoint some
one for the title of father of modern Telugu poetry,
it would be Gurajada. He was the first to write modern
short stories in Telugu. He was also the first to write
a fully modern drama. His works are among
the most exceptional examples of a masterly blend of
literary brilliance and avowed social purpose.
Brief Life Sketch
Gurajada lived most of his life in and around Vizianagaram
in what was then called as Kalinga Rajyam . He and
his father before him were both employed by the princely
state of Vizianagaram. Gurajada enjoyed a close relationship
with the ruling family during his adult life. Two
dates of birth (according to western calendar) have
been calculated based on Gurajadas horoscope,
viz., Nov.30, 1861 and Sept. 21, 1862. Apparently,
his descendants prefer the second date. Gurajada was
born at his maternal uncles home in Rayavaram
village near Yelamanchili (Visakhapatnam Dt.). His
parents were Venkata Rama Dasu and Kausalyamma. He
had a younger brother by name Syamala Rao. Gurajadas
ancestors seem to have moved to Kalinga region from
Gurajala village in Krishna Dt. (hence the family
name?) Venkata Rama Dasu worked as a Peshkar, Revenue
Supervisor, and Khiledar in the Vizianagara Samsthanam.
He was well educated and had a good command in Sanskrit.
He died in an accident while crossing a small river
Utagedda near Vizianagaram.
Gurajada had his initial schooling (till age 10)
in Cheepurupalli while his father was working there.
His remaining schooling was done at Vizianagaram after
his father passed away. During that time, he lived
in relative poverty and maintained himself as a varalabbayi.
He was generously taken care of by the then M.R. College
Principal, C. Chandrasekhara Sastri who provided him
free lodging and boarding. He completed his metriculation
in 1882 and obtained F.A. in 1884. Soon after, he
was employed as a teacher in M.R. High School in 1884
with a salary of Rs.25. He was married to Appala Narasamma
in 1885. In the mean time, he continued his studies
and graduated with B.A. (Philosophy major and Sanskrit
minor) in 1886. For some period during 1886, he worked
as Head Clerk in the Deputy Collectors office.
On Vijayadasami day, 1887, he joined as a Lecturer
(Level IV) in M.R. College with a salary of Rs.100.
Around the same time, he was introduced to Maharaja
Ananda Gajapati (1850-1897). This prince had a significant
role in encouraging the arts and education in these
parts of the country. Gurajada gradually developed
a cordial relationship with the prince. This association
led to his involvement with the princely family for
a long time. In 1887, Gurajada spoke at a Congress
Party meeting in Vizianagaram. His daughter Oleti
Lakshmee narasamma was born in 1887. He was simultaneously
involved in social work and became a member of the
Voluntary Service Corps in Visakhapatnam in 1888.
He was elected vice-president of the Ananda Gajapati
Debating club in 1889. His son Venkata Ramadasu was
born in 1890. In 1891 he was promoted to Lecturer
(Level III) with a salary of Rs.125. He taught the
F.A. and B.A. classes several subjects including English
Grammar, Sanskrit Literature, Translation, Greek &
Roman Histories. His younger brother Syamala Rao died
in 1892 while studying at Madras Law College.
In the previous ten years, Gurajada Appa Rao (along
with brother Syamala Rao) had been writing several
English poems. His Sarangadhara, published in Indian
Leisure Hour was well received. The editor of
the Culcutta based Rees and Riot Sambhu
Chandra Mukherji read it and re-published it in his
magazine. He encouraged Gurajada in many ways. While
praising Gurajadas talent, he actually encouraged
him to write in Telugu. He told Gurajada that however
talented he might become in English, it is still a
foreign tongue and that he would scale greater heights
if he chose to compose in Telugu. Gurajada too was
gradually coming to this conclusion. During this period,
it is also said that Gurajada was also in correspondence
with a British Journalist and author. Gundukurti Venkata
Ramanayya, editor of the Indian Leisure Hour
encouraged Gurajada greatly during the same period.
In 1891, Gurajada was appointed to the post of Epigraphist
(samsthana sasana parisodhaka) to the Maharaja of
In 1892, Gurajadas celebrated drama Kanyasulkam
was staged for the first time. It became an instant
hit. It was the first Telugu drama expressly written
in spoken dialect. Prior to that, there were dramas
that employed spoken dialect in a few parts of the
drama. Vedam Venkata Raya Sastry wrote a very popular
drama Prataparudreeyam, where he followed
the Sanskrit example in allowing the so-called lower
characters to use spoken dialect while the so-called
upper characters used chaste literary
dialect. Veeresalingam Panthulu wrote some dramas,
notably Brahma Vivaham, with some spoken
dialect content. This drama was written more as an
accessory to his crusade against social evils than
for literary enjoyment. The Kanyasulkam was the first
to achieve both the aims. And an unparalleled achievement
it was! The success of kanyasulkam encouraged Gurajada
to open up and seek out others with similar views.
He came in contact with several contemporary luminaries.
The rumbling sounds of movement to support spoken
dialect as a platform for literary activity were gathering
around that time. Gurajadas childhood friend
and classmate in Chipurupalli, Gidugu Rama Murti (1863-1940)
was the leading light of this school of thought. The
highly successful staging of Kanyasulkam gave this
movement a big boost. It conclusively showed that
works that have undisputed literary value and are
very popular could be composed in spoken dialects.
Even the opponents of the spoken dialect movement
such as Kaseebhatla Brahmayya Sastri had to concede
that the Kanyasulkam has a significant literary merit.
The success made Gurajada a sort of celebrity. He
was being sought after for literary events and for
reviewing other literary works.
In 1896, Gurajada tried to establish a magazine by
name Prakasika. It is not known whether
this magazine was ever published. In 1897, Kanyasulkam
was published (by Vavilla Ramasastrulu & Sons,
Madras) and was dedicated to Maharaja Ananda Gajapati.
In the same year, the prince died following a brief
illness without leaving a successor. After this, Gurajada
was appointed as personal secretary and advisor to
the Maharani of Reeva (Appala kondamamba -sister of
Anada Gajapati). Gurajada had his second daughter
(third child) Puligedda Kondayyamma in 1902. In 1903,
a court case was filed challenging the right of Ananda
Gajapatis mother (Alaka Rajeswari) to adopt
an heir to the throne of the principality. Gurajada
was put in charge of taking care of all the legal
proceedings. The case dragged on for many years and
ended in an out of court settlement in 1913.
In 1905, Gurajadas mother passed away. In 1906,
his close friend P.T. Srinivasa Iyyangar, principal
of Mrs. A.V.N. College, Visakhapatnam started an association
to promote curriculum reform in high schools. One
of the chief aims was to introduce spoken dialects.
Along with him, J.A. Yates (1874-1951) -a British
civil servant, Gidugu and Gurajada were the principal
members. Another friend S. Srinivasa Iyengar (1874-1941)
also gave a lot of support and encouragement. Incidentally,
this Srinivasa Iyengar was a well-known lawyer and
was the President of AICC (All India Congress Committee)
annual session at Guahati in 1926. Gurajada attended
the 1908 Congress session at Madras. Gurajada developed
some health problems and took some time off to convalesce
at the Nilgiri hills. While taking rest, he got around
to preparing the second edition of Kanyasulkam and
published it in 1909. This edition was completely
revised and greatly expanded compared to the original
version. It is this edition that made the drama a
truly outstanding work of art. Each character developed
a life of its own and they all came together in an
unforgettable comedy. The next year, he participated
in a community meal at Berhampur where people of various
classes and castes shared the same food and ate together.
Around this time, Gurajada started writing very prolifically
and composed several poems, songs and short stories.
These works are among the most famous in Telugu literature.
In 1911, he was appointed to the Board of Studies
by Madras University. The same year, Gurajada and
his friends started the Andhra Sahitya Parishat to
promote the use of spoken dialects. The next year,
he was invited to attend the meeting of the Bangeeya
Sahitya Parishat (Bengal Literary Association) at
Culcutta. The same year, his second patron, Maharani
of Reeva died. Gurajada took retirement in 1913 with
a pension of Rs.140. Madras University honored him
by making him a Fellow. His health started
deteriorating slowly. He constructed a new house and
moved into it in 1915. After a few months of illness,
Gurajada passed away in 1915.