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Eminent Telugu Personalities

The following are a few images of eminent people in Telugu history

Abburi Varada Rajeswara Rao (1923-1993)

Prominent poet, critic and educator. On the editorial staff of several literary magazines. Taught for some time at Univ. Wisconsin, Madison.

Harikathaa Pitaamaha,
Ajjada Adibhatla Narayana Dasu (1864-1945)

The foremost modern exponent of the literary and performing arts genre "harikatha." Great musician and scholar of Telugu, Sanskrit and Persian. Principal of Maharaja Music College, Viziyanagaram.

Ajanta -Penumarti Viswanatha Sastry (1922-)

Eminent poet and editor. Made a very big impact on modern Telugu poetry even though he wrote only a few verses in all his life in a highly individualistic tone.

Akkiraju Umakantam (1889-1942)

Eminent scholar of Telugu, Sanskrit, English, etc. Writer. Influenced early Telugu literary criticism.

Padakavitaa Pitaamaha, Harikeertanaacharya,
Tallapaka Annamacharya (1408-1503)

One of the greatest composers of South Indian classical tradition. World-class. Wrote more than 32000 compositions known as 'padam' as well as other major works. More than 14000 have been discovered to date on copper plate and stone inscriptions. He was the head of an astonishingly brilliant lineage. Seems to have influenced some other great composers of that time, e.g., Purandara Dasa.

Arudra - Bhagavatula Siva Sankara Sastry (1925-1998)

Major modern poet, critic, movie lyricist and literary historian. His "tvamevaaham" and the encyclopedic work on Telugu literature "samagraamdhra saahityam" are very influential.

Bapu - Sattiraju Lakshmi Narayana (1933-)

Eminent painter, cartoonist, movie director, writer, journalist. World class artist. Uniquely personalized style blending to perfection the classical Telugu lines and modern techniques. Had an enormous impact on contemporary Telugu arts, movies, etc.

Bhandaru Achchamamba (1874-1905)

Writer and early pioneer of women's issues. Published a well known biographical work on prominent national and international women, "abalaa satcharitra ratnamaala" (1901).

Caaso - Chaganti Somayajulu (1915-1993)

Eminent writer of short stories and poetry. Although he wrote sparingly, many of his short stories have been translated into other languages. His indirect contributions include his influence on his friends such as Sri Sri and Narayana Babu. He was a long time president of Progressive Writers Association, arasam.

Chellapilla Venkata Sastry (1870-1950)

Brilliant and highly influential poet in the classical genre. Prolific literary genius. Trained a large number of famous writers. The second of the great duo tirupati venkata kavulu. Honoured as the first poet laureate of Andhra.

Chilukuri Narayana Rao (1890-1952)

Well-known lexicographer, historian and scholar. Published "aandhra Bhaashaa charitram" (1937) and a revised version of Sankaranarayana's English-Telugu Dictionary, etc.

Sinaare - C. Narayana Reddy (1931-)

Well-known poet, educator, critic, administrator, and song writer for the movies. For his epic poem visvambhara in modern style the highest literary award in India j~naanapeetha, was given to him in 1987. He also produced several other major works, e.g., karpura vasamta raayalu.

Sir Arthur Cotton (1803-1899)

Perhaps the most beloved western personality in Telugu history. Knighted. One of the finest civil engineers of 19th cent. Built the anicut on Godavari at Dhavaleswaram among other things. His irrigation works and plans transformed the economy of the coastal districts and very strongly influenced its current domineering position.

Charles Philip Brown (1798-1884)

Brilliant scholar of Telugu. Although he was not an Indian, he was intimately connected with Telugu literature for nearly sixty years and immensely contributed to its progress.

Damerla Rama Rao (1897-1925)

Brilliant artist. Became well-known within a very short life span. Founded the Andhra School of Art at Rajamundry. There is an art gallery named after him at Rajamundry today.

Divakarla Tirupati Sastry (1872-1919)

One of the greatest classical poets in the modern era. Excelled in several genres. The first of the famous duo "tirupati vemkata kavulu."

Durgabai Deshmukh (1909-1981)

Eminent freedom fighter, social reformer, educator and leader of early women's movement

Gora - Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (1902-1975)

Highly influential thinker and social reformer. Dedicated his life to developing atheistic thought in Andhra and beyond. Authored several works. Founded the Atheist Center, Vijayawada. His son lavanam is also a well-known atheist and thinker.

Navayuga Vaitaalikudu,
Gurajada Venkata Appa Rao Pamtulu (1862-1915)

Perhaps the greatest modern writer in Telugu. Commands tremendous respect. Uncompromising intellectual and a social reformer in his own way. More than any one else's, his works defined the beginning of modern Telugu drama, poetry and short story. The Kanyasulkam drama and much of his poetry are world class. His contributions lay not only in the techniques but also in the refreshing, original and modern outlook and a deep humanistic spirit that he instilled in Telugu literature.

Visva daata, Desoddhaaraka,
Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao Pamtulu (1868-1937)

Great philanthropist, scholar, editor, journalist and entrepreneur

Mandapaka Parvatriswara Sastry (1833-1897)

Brilliant scholar of Sanskrit and Telugu. Authored 23 Satakas, several maalikas, and kaavyas. Well known for his travelogue yaatraa caritra.

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (1930-)

Brilliant musician in the South Indian classical style. Perhaps the finest from Andhra in his generation. Composer, vocalist, and music scholar.

Mutnuri Krishna Rao (1879-1945)

Great editor and journalist. His Krishna Patrika was instrumental in shaping the Telugu Literary scene for four decades beginning 1907.

Uyyalavada Narasimha Reddy (d. 1847)

Led one of the first popular revolts in all of India against British occupation

Nataraja Ramakrishna (1933-)

Very influential dancer, scholar and writer on Telugu dance forms. Single handedly revived the forgotten art form "aamdhra naatyam." Although he was born in Bali, his service to Telugu, his ancestral language and its culture is very meritorious.

Oleti Parvatisam (1882-1955)

Pioneering modern writer. The second of the famous duo "vemkata paarvateesvara kavulu." Authored major kavyas, children's literature and novels. Produced several translations.

Jaateeya Pataaka Nirmaata,
Pingali Venkayya (1887-1963)

Freedom fighter. Great follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Designed the tricolour -the Indian national flag.

Amara Veerudu,
Potti Sriramulu (1901-1952)

Freedom fighter. Led the popular movement to unite Telugu speaking people under a single government and martyred himself in the process. His act of "Satyagraha" directly led to the eastablishment "Linguistic states" in modern India.

Andhra Kesari,
Tanguturi Prakasam Pamtulu (1872-1957)

One of the greatest freedom fighters of India, eminent leader and administrator. Chief minister of Madras Presidency and the first chief minister of Andhra.

Chandra Rajeswara Rao (1915-1994)

Freedom fighter, eminent socialist, long time general secretary of the communist party of India

Swami Ramananda Tirtha (?-?)

Freedom fighter. He and other prominent communist and non-communist leaders led the free Telangana movement.

Telamgaanaa Poru Bidda
Ravi Narayana Rao (1908-1991)

Eminent freedom fighter, philanthropist, reformer, and parliamentarian. Spear headed liberation of Telangana movement. Founding member of the communist party of India.

Alluri Sitarama Raju (1897-1924)

Fearless freedom fighter. Led the most famous armed revolt in Telugu history against the British occupation

Kamyunishtu Gandhi,
Puchchalapalli Sundarayya (1913-1985)

Great freedom fighter, social reformer and parliamentarian. Led communist movements in Andhra and beyond for many decades.

Tenneti Viswanatham (1895-1979)

Freedom fighter, parliamentarian, leader and administrator. Close associate of Tanguturi Prakasam.

Naada Brahma,
Kaakarla Tyaaga Raju (1767-1847)

Perhaps the most famous of all the South Indian composers. Part of the great trio of Carnatic music. Great writer. Devotee of Lord Rama. He has a very large lineage of brilliant pupils (Sishya Parampara). Greatly praised and revered as a saint. Hailed as "on whose art no human hand can improve!"

Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma (1927?-?)

Famous exponent of the Kuchipudi style dance drama. Well-known for his portrayal of female roles, e.g., satya bhaama in bhaamaa kalaapam. Influenced several other artists.

Telugu Chaitanyodyama Saarathi,
Kandukuri Viresalingam Pamtulu (1848-1919)

One of the most brilliant and profoundly influential writers in Telugu. One of the greatest social reformers of 19th century India.

Vecheru Narayana Rao (1932-)

Eminent literary critic and educator. Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison. Produced several well-known translations of medieval Telugu poetry in English. Collaborated with many western scholars. His seminal work "telugulo kavitaa viplavaala svarupam" is highly influential.

Vempati China Satyam (1930?-)

Eminent dancer, scholar and dance composer in the Kuchipudi style. Founded the Kuchipudi Art Academy, Madras and a trained several top performers.

Kavi Samraat,
Visvanatha Satyanarayana (1890-1976)

The greatest classical style writer in modern times. A literary institution all by himself. His work and personality invoked just about every superlative (positive as well as negative) from various critics. Prolific writer and critic. Eminent educator. Significantly contributed to many diverse literary genres . Received India's highest literary award j~naanapeetha for his raamaayana kalpa vruksham. His novels such as veyi padagalu are equally famous.

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.

Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Choudary

Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Choudary was — a solicitor by profession, a scholar by choice and a social reformer by requirement. In the 19th Century blind customs and conventions in the name of religion were observed. Social evils like the dowry system and untouchability were widespread. It is surprising that Tripuraneni born in a humble agricultural family, went to study law in Dublin, came back to India and decided to devote his life to reforming age-old, meaningless traditions that have become like cobwebs in men's brains. While many others of his time were busy making themselves wealthy in the legal profession, Tripuraneni was occupied with the freedom movement against the British and with introducing new thought into his society. His pen became his sword and he wrote a number of literary works to show that old Puranas were misleading men and leading them into intellectual darkness.

Money was being wasted on weddings. He changed the Telugu wedding invitation, which was referred to as Vivaaha patrika (matrimonial document) to a simpler Pendli pilupu (marriage invitation). The marriage mantras and muhurtams were also changed according to the convenience of the bride and bridegroom's families and marriage vows were made in Telugu rather than in Sanskrit, which noone understood. Such changes were not easily acceptable and in spite of opposition, Tripuraneni was able to establish a system in social festivals and functions, which was followed by the progressive youth of those days. Sacrifice of animals and caste system in the name of religion was also questioned and people were made to realise their mistakes and correct them which they did. His writings contributed to his deeds and the educated who read them were ready to reform themselves. This great man passed away in 1943. A stamp was released on his birth centenary. This year (January 15) marks the 117th year of Tripuraneni Ramaswamy's birth.