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Legends of Andhra Pradesh

Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao P.V. Narasimha Rao L. V. Prasad
Suravaram Pratapareddy Gurram Jashuva Dr. Yellapragada Subba Row
Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swami Sri Sri Potti Sreeramulu
Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Bammera Potana Dasaradhi
Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao Alluri Sitaramaraju Ballari Raghava
Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu Dr C Narayana Reddy Durgabai Deshmukh
Shyam Benegal Kancherla Gopanna Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Vishwanadha Satyanarayana Maadapaati Hanumantharao Yogi Vemana
Pingali Venkayya Gurajada Apparao

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 party leader.
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 Andhra University.

Silver screen:

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.

Politics:

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.

Aftermath:

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 foreign policy.

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 and Guyana.

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 Development.


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 roll call.
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 prejudices.

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. of India.


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 substance.
3) HETRAZAN:(1947) The medicine for Filariasis, without which south east asians would be walking with elephant legs!!
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 (1994).
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 practice.

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 medical research.


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 CSIR.

Ref: www.ysubbarow.com


Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swami

From the time of the oracle of Delphi to St. Joan’s 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 mankind’s 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-Brahmam’s 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 mankind’s 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-Brahmam’s 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 Bhotlayya’s) chief disciple.

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 Acchamma’s son, Brahmanandareddy by suggesting a retribution for Reddy’s 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 friend’s 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 Taraka Yoga.

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. Siddhayya’s 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 Nawab’s 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 Swam’s 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 Kakkayya’s 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 daughter’s 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 Guru’s dying. When Siddhayya came to know of Brahmendra Swami’s 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 Swami’s 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 Swami’s disciples propagated his teachings and travelled from one place to another chanting the predictions written by him.

Like Vemana’s teachings, the chants of Brahmendra Swami also are simple and evoke immediate emotional response from listeners. Some of Brahmendra Swami’s 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 Swami’s 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 Swami’s 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 tradition.


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 unbounded expression.
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 Sambamurthy’s house in Madras on 19 October, 1952. It started off without fanfare but steadily caught people’s 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 and Vijayawada.

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 and inequity.

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', 'KHOONI', 'BHAGAVADGITA',
'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 in practice.

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 in 1996.


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 fields.

At an early age he wrote ‘Bhogini Dandakam’ a poem wrote in praise of king Sri Singa Bhoopala’s 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 Prajapathi.

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 Vyasa’s 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 king’s 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 Maha Bhagavatamu.

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.

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: Krishnamacharyulu 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 student).
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. Rajamma.
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 United States.
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 says welcome).

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 he created.
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 Dora’s 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 Raju’s 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 Raju.
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 Government’s 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 Raju’s 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 Government’s 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 Raju’s men were killed. In another attack , the next day many other Rama Raju’s 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 Raju’s 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 of Kurnool.

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 tremendous wealth.

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 Chairman
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 (Parry’s corner) and the police resorted to firing with a view to control it. However, a young man was killed
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 (People’s 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, 1957.
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 lived.

At that time V.N.Murti was in Mumbai too. Durgabai was V.N.Murti's
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 and acclaim

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 change.

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 1989-92.
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 changes.

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 Taraka Mantra:

"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 realised soul.

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 found it.

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 them.

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 became famous.


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 masterpiece."

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, Madras.
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 Gandhi’s 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 speeches.


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 village.
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 Nizam’s 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 wife’s 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 philosophy.

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 lady) meter.

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, Aata Veladhi.

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.


Sample poems
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 Swetchapuram.
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 blue
Devanagari script.

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
Jack.

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 of dharma.

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 Reddi’s 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 Gurajada’s horoscope, viz., Nov.30, 1861 and Sept. 21, 1862. Apparently, his descendants prefer the second date. Gurajada was born at his maternal uncle’s 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. Gurajada’s 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 Collector’s 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 Gurajada’s 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 Vizianagaram.

In 1892, Gurajada’s 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. Gurajada’s 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 Gajapati’s 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, Gurajada’s 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.