Periyar E. V. Ramasamy

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Erode Venkata Ramasamy (September 17, 1879 – December 24, 1973), affectionately called by his followers as Periyar, Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R., was a businessman, politician, Indian independence and social activist, who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement and proposed the creation of an independent state called Dravidasthan comprising South India. He is also the founder of the socio-cultural organisation, Dravidar Kazhagam.

Periyar was born in Erode, Madras Presidency to a wealthy family of Kannada speaking Balijas. At a young age, he witnessed numerous incidents of racial, caste and gender discrimination. Periyar married when he was 19, and had a daughter who lived for only 5 months. His first wife, Nagammai, died in 1933. Periyar married for a second time in July 1948. His second wife, Maniammai, continued Periyar’s social work after his death in 1973, but still his thoughts and ideas were being spread by Dravidar Kazhagam.

Periyar joined the Indian National Congress in 1919, but resigned in 1925 when he felt that the party was only serving the interests of the Brahmins. In 1924, Periyar led a non-violent agitation (satyagraha) in Vaikom, Kerala. From 1929 to 1932 toured Malaysia, Europe, and Russia, which had an influence on him. In 1939, Periyar became the head of the Justice Party, and in 1944, he changed its name to Dravidar Kazhagam. The party later split and one group led by C. N. Annadurai formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949. While continuing the Self-Respect Movement, he advocated for an independent Dravida Nadu(Dravidistan).

Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalization of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. His work has greatly revolutionized Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discrimination. He is also responsible for bringing new changes to the Tamil alphabet. However, at the same time, Periyar is also held responsible for making controversial statements on the Tamil language, Dalits and Brahmins and for endorsing violence against Brahmins. The citation awarded by the UNESCO described Periyar as “the prophet of the new age, the Socrates of South East Asia, father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance, superstitions, meaningless customs and base manners”.

Early years:

Periyar was born as Erode Venkata Ramasami Naicker on September 17, 1879, in the town of Erode,then a part of the Coimbatore District of the Madras Presidency. Periyar’s father, a rich businessman, was Venkatappa Naicker (or Venkata), and his mother was Chinna Thayammal, alias Muthammal. He had one elder brother named Krishnaswamy and two sisters named Kannamma and Ponnuthoy. He later came to be known as “Periyar” meaning ‘respected one’ or ‘elder’ in Tamil.

In 1929, Periyar announced the deletion of his caste surnameNaicker from his name at the First Provincial Self-Respect Conference of Chenggalpattu. He could speak three Dravidian languages: Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. His mother tongue was Kannada. Periyar attended school for five years after which he joined his father’s trade at the age of 12. He used to listen to Tamil Vaishnavite guruswho gave discourses in his house enjoying his father’s hospitality. At a young age, he began questioning the apparent contradictions in theHindu mythological stories which he opined to be lies spread by the Indo-Aryan race. As Periyar grew, he felt that people used religion only as a mask to deceive innocent people and therefore took it as one of his duties in life to warn people against superstitions and priests.

Periyar’s father arranged for his wedding when he was nineteen. The bride, Nagammai was only thirteen. It was not, altogether, an arranged marriage because Periyar and Nagammai had known each other and were already in love with each other. Nagammai actively supported her husband in his later public activities and agitations. Two years after their marriage, a girl child was born to them. However, this child lived only for five months. The couple had no more children.

Kasi Pilgrimage Incident:

In 1904, Periyar went on a pilgrimage to Kasi to worship in the revered Siva temple of Kashi Vishwanath. Though regarded as one of the holiest sites of Hinduism, he witnessed immoral activities, begging, and floating dead bodies. His frustrations extended to functional Hinduism in general when he experience what he called Brahmanic exploitation.

However, one particular incident in Kasi had a profound impact on Periyar’s ideology and future work. At worship site there were free meals offered to guests. To Periyar’s shock, he was refused meals at choultries which exclusively fed Brahmins. Due to extreme hunger, Periyar felt compelled to enter one of the choultries disguised as a Brahmin with a sacred thread on his bare chest, but was betrayed by his moustache. The gatekeeper at the temple concluded that Periyar was not a Brahmin as Brahmins were not permitted by the Hindu shastras to have moustaches. He not only prevented Periyar’s entry but also pushed him rudely to the street.

As his hunger became intolerable, Periyar was forced to feed on leftovers from the streets. Around this time, he realized that the choultry which had refused him entry was built by a wealthy non-Brahmin from South India. This discriminatory attitude dealt a blow to Periyar’s regard for Hinduism, for the events he had witnessed at Kasi were completely different from the picture of Kasi he had in mind, as a holy place which welcomed all. Ramasami was a theist till his visit to Kasi, after which his views changed and he became an atheist.

Member of Congress Party (1919-1925):

Periyar Ramaswamy joined the Indian National Congress in 1919 after quitting his business and resigning from public posts. He held the chairmanship of Erode Municipality and wholeheartedly undertook constructive programs spreading the use of Khadi, picketing toddy shops, boycotting shops selling foreign cloth, and eradicating untouchability. In 1921, Periyar courted imprisonment for picketing toddy shops in Erode. When his wife as well as his sister joined the agitation, it gained momentum, and the administration was forced to come to a compromise. He was again arrested during the Non-Cooperation movement and the Temperance movement. In 1922, Periyar was elected the President of the Madras Presidency Congress Committee during theTirupur session where he advocated strongly for reservation in government jobs and education. His attempts were defeated in the Congress party due to a strong presence of discrimination and indifference. He later quit the party on those grounds in 1925.

Vaikom Satyagraha (1924-1925):

In Vaikom, a small town in Kerala state, then Travancore, there were strict laws of untouchability in and around the temple area. Dalits, also known as Harijans were not allowed into the close streets around and leading to the temple, let alone inside it. Anti-caste feelings were growing and in 1924 Vaikom was chosen as a suitable place for an organized Satyagraha, passive resistance campaign as practiced by Gandhi. Under his guidance a movement had already begun with the aim of giving all castes the right to enter the temples. Thus, agitations and demonstrations took place. On April 14, Periyar and his wife Nagamma arrived in Vaikom. They were met with arrest and imprisoned for participation. In spite of Gandhi’s objection to non-Keralites and non-Hindus taking part, Periyar and his followers continued to give support to the movement till it was withdrawn. He received the title Vikkom Veeran, mostly given by his Tamil followers who participated in the Satyagraha. However, a considerable section of intellectuals feel that Periyar’s participation in the Indian independence movement and his contribution in the Vaikom Satyagraha have been highly exaggerated.

The way in which the Vaikom Satyagraha events have been recorded provides a clue to the image of the respective oraganizers. In an article entitle Gandhi and Ambedkar, A Study in Leadership, Eleanor Zelliot relates the ‘Vaikom Satyagraha’ including Gandhi’s negotiations with the temple authorities in relation to the event. Furthermore, the editor of Periyar’s Thoughts states that Brahmins purposely suppressed news about Periyar’s participation. A leading Congress magazine Young India in its extensive reports on Vaikom never mentions Periyar.

Self-Respect Movement:

Periyar and his followers campaigned constantly to influence and pressurize the government to take measures for removing social inequality even while other nationalist forerunners focused on the struggle for political independence. The Self-Respect Movement was described from the beginning, as “dedicated to the goal of giving non-Brahmins a sense of pride based on their Dravidian past”.

In 1952, the Periyar Self-Respect Movement Institution was registered with a list of objectives of the institution from which may be quoted as

for the diffusion of useful knowledge of political education; to allow people to live a life of freedom from slavery to anything against reason and self respect; to do away with needless customs, meaningless ceremonies, and blind superstitious beliefs in society; to put an end to the present social system in which caste, religion, community and traditional occupations based on the accident of birth, have chained the mass of the people and created “superior” and “inferior” classes… and to give people equal rights; to completely eradicate untouchability and to establish a united society based on brother/sisterhood; to give equal rights to women; to prevent child marriages and marriages based on law favorable to one sect, to conduct and encourage love marriages, widow marriages, inter caste and inter-religious marriages and to have the marriages registered under the Civil Law; and to establish and maintain homes for orphans and widows and to run educational institutions.

Propagation of the philosophy of self respect became the full-time activity of Periyar since 1925. A Tamil weekly Kudi Arasu started in 1925, while the English journal Revolt started in 1928 carried on the propaganda among the English educated people. The Self-Respect Movement began to grow fast and received the sympathy of the heads of the Justice Party from the beginning. In May 1929, a conference of Self-Respect Volunteers was held at Pattukkotai under the presidency of S. Guruswami. K.V. Alagiriswami took charge as the head of the volunteer band. Conferences followed in succession throughout the Tamil districts of the former Madras Presidency. A training school in Self-Respect was opened at Erode, the home town of Periyar. The object was not just to introduce social reform but to bring about a social revolution to foster a new spirit and build a new society.

International travel (1929-1932):

Between 1929 and 1935, under the strain of World Depression, political thinking worldwide received a jolt from the spread of international communism. Indian political parties, movements and considerable sections of leadership were also affected by inter-continentalideologies. The Self-Respect Movement also came under the influence of the leftist philosophies and institutions. Periyar after establishing the Self-Respect Movement as an independent institution began to look for strengthening it politically and socially. And for this, he undertook a study of the history and politics of different countries combined with personal observation of the systems at work.

Periyar toured Malaysia for a month from December 1929 to January 1930 to propagate the self-respect philosophy. Embarking on his journey from Nagapattinam with his wife Nagammal and his followers, Periyar was received by 50,000 Tamil Malaysians in Penang. During the same month, he inaugurated the Tamils Conference convened by the Tamils Reformatory Sangam in Ipoh and then went to Singapore. In December 1931 he undertook a tour of Europe, accompanied by S. Ramanathan and Erode Ramu, to personally acquaint himself with theirpolitical systems, social movements, way of life, economic and social progress and administration of public bodies. He visited Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Germany, England, Spain, France and Portugal, staying in Russia for three months. On his return journey he halted at Ceylon and returned to India in November 1932.

The tour shaped the political ideology of Periyar to achieve the social concept of Self-Respect. The communist system obtained in Russia appealed to him as appropriately suited to deal with the social ills of the country. Thus, on socio-economic issues Periyar was Marxist, but he did not advocate for abolishing private ownership. Immediately after his return, Periyar in alliance with the enthusiastic communist M. Singaravelu Chettiar, began to work out a socio-political scheme incorporating socialist and self-respect ideals. This marks a crucial stage of development in the Self-Respect Movement which got politicized and found its compatibility in Tamil Nadu.

Opposition to Hindi:

In 1937, when Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari became the Chief Minister of Madras state, he introduced Hindi as a compulsory language of study in schools, igniting thereby a series of anti-Hindi agitations. Tamil nationalists, the Justice Party under Sir A. T. Panneerselvam, and Periyar organized anti-Hindi protests in 1938 which ended with numerous arrests by the Rajaji government.

During the same year, the slogan “Tamil Nadu for Tamilians” was first raised by Periyar in protest against the introduction of Hindi in schools. He explained that the introduction of Hindi was a dangerous mechanism used to the infiltration of Aryans on Dravidian culture. He reasoned that the adoption of Hindi would make Tamils subordinate to Hindi-speaking North Indians. Periyar explained that Hindi would not only halt the progress of Tamilians but would completely destroy their culture and nullify the progressive ideas that had been successfully inculcated through Tamil in the recent decades.

Cutting across party lines, South Indian politicians rallied together in their opposition to Hindi There were recurrent anti-Hindi agitations in 1948, 1952 and 1965.

As President of the Justice Party (1938-1944):

A political party known as the South Indian Libertarian Federation (commonly referred to as Justice party) was founded in 1916, principally to oppose the economic and political power of the Brahmin jati groups. The party’s goal was to render social justice to non-Brahmin groups. In order to gain the support of the masses, non-Brahmin politicians began propagating an ideology of equality among non-Brahmin jati groups. Brahmanical priesthood and Sanskritic social class-value hierarchy were blamed for the existence of inequalities among non-Brahmin jatigroups.

In 1937, when the government required that Hindi be taught in the school system, Periyar organized opposition through the Justice Party to this policy. After 1937, the Dravidian movement derived considerable support from the student community. In later years, opposition to Hindi played a big role in the politics of Tamil Nadu. The fear of the Hindi language had its origin in the conflict between Brahmins and non-Brahmins. To the Tamils, acceptance of Hindi in the school system was a form of bondage. When the Justice Party weakened in the absence of mass support, Periyar took over the leadership of the party after being jailed for opposing Hindi in 1939. Under his tutelage the party prospered, but the party’s conservative members, most of whom were rich and educated, withdrew from active participation.

Formation of the Dravidar Kazhagam:

At a rally in 1944, Periyar, in his capacity as the leader of the Justice Party, declared that the party would henceforth be known as the Dravidar Kazhagam or “Dravidian Association”. However, a few who disagreed with Periyar started a splinter group claiming to be the original Justice Party. This party was led by veteran Justice Party leader P. T. Rajan and survived till 1957.

The Dravidar Kazhagam came to be well known amongst the urban communities and students. Villages were influenced by its message. Hindi, and ceremonies that had become associated with Brahmanical priesthood, were identified as alien symbols that should be eliminated from Tamil culture. Brahmins, who were regarded as the guardians of such symbols, came under verbal attack. From 1949 onwards, theDravidar Kazhagam intensified social reformist work and put forward the fact that the superstitions were the cause for the degeneration of Dravidians. The Dravidar Kazhagam vehemently fought for the abolition of untouchability amongst the Dalits. It also focused its attention on the liberation of women, women’s education, willing marriage, widow marriage, orphanages and mercy homes.

Split with Annadurai:

In 1949, Periyar’s chief lieutenant, Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai established a separate association called the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), or (Dravidian Advancement Association). This was due to differences between the two where Periyar advocated a separate independent Dravidian or Tamil state, while Annadurai compromised with the Delhi government combined with claims of increased state independence. Periyar was convinced that individuals and movements that undertake the task of eradicating the social evils in the Indian sub-continent have to pursue the goal with devotion and dedication without deviating from the path and with uncompromising zeal. Thus, if they contest elections aiming to assume political power, they would lose vigor and sense of purpose. But amongst his followers, there were those who had a different view. They wanted to enter into politics and have a share in running the government. They were looking for an opportunity to part with Periyar. Thus, when Periyar got married to Maniammai on July 9, 1948, they quit the Dravidar Kazhagam stating that Periyar set a bad example by marrying a young woman in his old age – he was 70 and she 30. Those who parted company with Periyar also joined the DMK. Though the DMK split from the Dravidar Kazhagam, the organization made efforts to carry on Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement to the villagers and the urban students. The DMK advocated the thesis that the Tamil language was much richer than Sanskrit and Hindi in content, and thus was a key which opened the door to subjects to be learned. The Dravidar Kazhagam continued to counter Brahminism, Indo-Aryan propaganda, and uphold the Dravidians’ right of self-determination.

Later years:

In 1956, despite warnings from P. Kakkan, the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, Periyar organized a procession to the Marina in order to burn pictures of the Hindu God Rama. Periyar was subsequently arrested and confined to prison.

The activities of Periyar continued when he went to Bangalore in 1958 to participate in the All India Official Language Conference. There he stressed the need to retain English as the Union Official Language instead of Hindi. Five years later, Periyar travelled to North India to advocate on the eradication of the caste system. Nearing Periyar’s last years, an award was given to him by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and it was presented to him by the Union Education Minister, Triguna Sen in Madras (Chennai) on June 27, 1970. In his last meeting at Thiagaraya Nagar, Chennai on December 19, 1973, Periyar declared a call for action to gain social equality and a dignified way of life. On December 24, 1973 Periyar died at the age of 94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tapi Dharma Rao

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Thapi Dharma Rao Naidu B.A. (1887 – 1973) was a Telugu writer, lyricist and social reformer. He wrote dialogues and lyrics for the films like Mala Pilla,DrohiThathajiBhishma, and Patni. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Indian Literature. He had authored many books which were the eye openers for many in the field of social sciences in India, in particular South India. His books ” Vidhi Vilasam”, “Devalayala paina bootu Bommalu endhuku” and many more find place in the annals of Indian literature.

He was a native of a village in Sreekakulam, and born in Berhampur on September 19, 1887. His father Thapi Appanna Naidu was a medical practitioner and mother’s name was Narasamma. His early education was in Sreekakulam till 1900 and continued further in Rippan High school of Vizianagaram. He did his F.A. in Parlakhamidi. He was a pet student of Gidugu Ramamurthy at Parlakhamidi. He had completed his B.A. graduation from Pachaiyappa’s College, Madras.

He was the trend setter in Telugu journalism. He introduced the spoken language in journalism. He worked as an editor for Telugu magazines ‘Kondegadu’ and ‘Janavani’. In 1940, he was established a popular weekly named ‘Kagada’. Thapi Dharmarao was the founder of book publications named Veguchkka Grandhamala.

Honours:

  • Andhra Sahitya Akademi honored him with ‘Visishta Sabhyathvam’.
  • The chief priest of Sringeri Sharada Peetham honored him by conferring the title Andhra Visharada for his extraordinary service to Telugu language.
  • He was senate member of Sri Venkateswara University.

Family:

His son is Tapi Chanakya, who was foremost director of Telugu movies. His grandson,(s/o Tapi Chanakya)Thapi Dharmarao, did his doctorate in Immunology from the Osmania University in India and now lives in New York. A great granddaughter, Sahityasri Thapi, currently attends Townsend Harris High School in New York, learns sangeetam, participates in various styles of dance, and is currently participating in many cultural events around New York.

Literary works:

  • Devalayala Meeda Bhutu Bommalenduku?
  • Pelli- Dani Puttupurvotharalu,
  • Inupakatchadalu,
  • PathapaliKotha Pali,
  • All India Adukkutinevalla Mahasabha,
  • Sahityamormaralu.
  • Rallu-Rappalu is his autobiography from 1887 to 1908.

Filmography:

  • Rojulu Marayi (1955) (dialogue)
  • Kanna Talli (1953)
  • Mangala (1951) (dialogue)
  • Palletoori Pilla (1950) (dialogue)
  • Paramanandayya Shishyula Katha (1950) (adaptation) (dialogue)
  • Keelugurram (1949)
  • Drohi (1948)
  • Krishna Prema (1943) (adaptation) (dialogue)
  • Raitu Bidda (1939) (dialogue)
  • Malapilla (1938) (dialogue)
  • Mohini Rugmangada (1937)

 

 

 

 

 

Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu

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Sir Dr. Rao Bahaddoor Sri Raghupati Venkataratnam Nayudu (1862 -1939) was an Indian social reformer who hailed from a Telaga Naidu family from Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh in India. He was a disciple of Veeresalingam, and has been described as “the most powerful orator of his day”.

He founded the Social Purity Association in 1891 to train people as honest citizens.

He worked for the eradication of untouchability and upliftment of Harijans, and founded an orphanage and a hostel for Harijan boys and girls in Kakinada.

He strived for the abolition of the “Devadasi system” (the system in which women were devoted to the temples and who in the course of time were treated like prostitutes) in Andhra, and succeeded to a considerable extent.

He promoted widow remarriages and encouraged women’s education.

He stood for inter-caste marriages which, in his opinion, would lessen the rigidity of the caste system.

He was an ardent Brahmo and promoted the Brahmo movement in Andhra. The Brahmo Samaj honored him with the title of “Brahmarshi”.

All the above social reforms have led to him being described as the second great social reformer of Andhra, the first being Veeresalingam.

After passing Matriculation at Hyderabad, he took his B.A., degree from Madras Christian College and MA. and L.T. degrees from Madras University.

Joining the teaching line, he worked as the Principal of the Mehboob College, Secunderabad between 1889 and 1904, and then of the Pitapuram Raja College, Kakinada between 1905 and 1919. In 1925 he became the first elected vice chancellor of Madras University, holding that position until 1928. He was conferred a knighthood by the British government in 1924.

He was born in Machilipatnam in 1862 and died in 1939 at Madras.

 

Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu

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Rao Bahadur Sir Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu (1875 – 1942) was an Indian lawyer, professor, politician and Justice Party leader who served as the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from April 1, 1937 to July 14, 1937. He was the last Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from the Justice Party.

Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu hailed from the Eluru, Godavari district of Madras Presidency. He graduated from Rajahmundry Arts College, the Madras Christian College, Madras Law Collegeand Madras University and served as the Professor of Physics at Rajahmundry Arts College.

Reddy Naidu joined the Justice Party in 1919-1920 and was a part of T. M. Nair’s delegation to the United Kingdom. Later, when a Justice Party government was formed in Madras, Reddy Naidu served under A. Subbarayalu Reddiar and the Raja of Panagal as Minister of Development. In 1923, the Raja of Panagal replaced Reddy Naidu as Minister of Development with T. N. Sivagnanam Pillai.

Reddy Naidu served as India’s agent to the Republic of South Africa from 1929 to 1932 and acted as the Governor of Madras from June 18, 1936 to October 1, 1936. He was selected as Chief Minister on April 1, 1937 and served in this capacity till July 14, 1937. He also served as the Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University in 1940. Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu died in 1942.

Early life:

Reddy Naidu was a native of Eluru in Madras Presidency and belongs to a prominent Telaga Naidu Family, who served as Commander-in-Chief in Indian Army. His mother tongue wasTelugu. He seems to have had a varied education, attending the Government Arts College inRajahmundry , the Madras Christian College , the Madras Law College and the Madras University. Before joining the Bar in 1900, he was a Professor of Physics at the Government Arts College , Rajahmundry . After serving on various local and district boards between 1901 and 1919, he entered the national political arena in 1919 – 1920.

Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu hailed from the Eluru district of Madras Presidency. He graduated from Rajahmundry Arts College, the Madras Christian College, Madras Law College andMadras University and served as the Professor of Physics at Rajahmundry Arts College.

Reddy Naidu joined the Justice Party in 1919-1920 and was a part of T. M. Nair’s delegation to the United Kingdom. Later, when a Justice Party government was formed in Madras, Reddy Naidu served under A. Subbarayalu Reddiar and the Raja of Panagal as Minister of Development. In 1923, the Raja of Panagal replaced Reddy Naidu as Minister of Development with T. N. Sivagnanam Pillai.

Reddy Naidu served as India’s agent to the Republic of South Africa from 1929 to 1932 and acted as the Governor of Madras from June 18, 1936 to October 1, 1936. He was selected as Chief Minister on April 1, 1937 and served in this capacity till July 14, 1937. He also served as the Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University in 1940. Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu died in 1942.

Early Political Career:

Naidu was a member of the Justice Party right from its inception. He was a member of the delegation to England along with Dr. T. M. Nair and Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar in July 1918.[1]In 1919, he led the non-Brahmin deputation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms. Reddy Naidu was an active partyman and when the Montagu Chelmsford Reforms were passed in 1919, Reddy Naidu formulated a set of activities that the Justice Party should follow.

“Social legislation has to be undertaken and inequitious laws that, for ages, maintained an invidious distinction between Brahmins and non-Brahmins, with regard to marriage, adoption and inheritance nd the like, must be altered. Outside the sphere of politics, the work before us is equally onerous. Social reconstruction must be taken in hand at once. Social equality must be established. The strain of untouchability shall be removed. The dictates of priestcraft must be silenced. Paracheries must be purified. Agraharams must be humanized. The hold of humiliating customs and rituals must be unloosed. The partals of temples must be thrown broad open. The contents of sealed scriptures should be brought to light

In December 1920, when the Justice Party was elected to power in Madras Presidency, Naidu won a set in the Madras Legislative Council and served as the Minister of Development. He also served as the Minister of Industries in the government of the Raja of Panagal from 1921 to 1923, when he was dropped in favor of T. N. Sivagnanam Pillai. He remained neutral when a vote of no-confidence was passed against the government of the Raja of Panagal.

In 1924, when the Muddiman Committee came to India to assess the implementation and progress of dyarchy, K. V. Reddy Naidu explained its progress thus:

“I was a Minister of Development without the forests. I was a Minister of Agriculture minus Irrigation. As a Minister of Agriculture I had nothing to do with the Madras Agriculturists Loan Act or the Madras Land Improvement Loans Act… The efficacy and efficiency of a Minister of Agriculture without having anything to do with irrigation, agricultural loans, land improvement loans and famine relief, may better be imagined than described. Then again, I was Minister of Industries without factories, boilers, electricity and water power, mines or labor, all of which are reserved subjects”

In 1928, Reddy Naidu was a member of the Indian delegation to the League of Nations, Geneva.

In January 1929, Naidu succeeded V. S. Srinivasa Sastri as British India’s agent to the Republic of South Africa. In January 1930, he came under severe criticism from the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) for not having done enough to protect the interests of the Indians migrants. In February 1930, the first reading of the TALT (Amendment) Bill was passed. The South African Indian Congress was severely opposed to the Bill and Reddy Naidu spoke at a meeting of the SAIC in October 1930 expressing his outrage. He was a member of the delegation which participated in the Second Round Table Conference with the representatives of the South African Government on January 4, 1932. Reddy Naidu’s term came to an end on August 3, 1932 and he was succeeded by Kunwar Maharaj Singh.

On leaving South Africa , he took up various positions in the Indian Government. He became a member of the Council of State from 1933–1934, and a member of the Governor’s Executive Council, Madras , 1934 -1937. In between, he was Acting Governor of Madras from June-October 1936.

Naidu was the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from April 1, 1937 to July 14, 1937. The 1937 assembly elections were held and the results declared in February 1937. Despite being the majority party in the Assembly and the Council, the Indian National Congress was hesitant to form a Government because of the veto powers given to the governor. The Governor of Madras, Lord Erskine, decided to form an interim provisional Government with non-members and opposition members of the Legislative Assembly. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri was first offered the Chief Ministership of the interim government but he refused to accept it. Then Erskine formed an interim government with Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu as Chief Minister on 1 April 1937. However the ministry was short lived as the Congress was persuaded to form the government. On 14 July, Naidu resigned and Rajaji became Chief Minister.

He was also the Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University from 1940. Annamalai University offers a prize every year in his name as The Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu Prize.


Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu

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Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu (8 November 1893 to 25 November 1964) was one of the most important carnatic violinists of the 20th century.

Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu was born in November (Deepavali day), in Bangalore, India and was raised in Visakhapatnam. He was appointed Professor of violin in the Maharaja’s Music College in Vijayanagaram, at the young age of 26, and became its principal in 1936.

He was the first one to start the violin solo concerts. His first solo concert was given in Vellore in 1938.

He was partially blind. He played at the National Physical Laboratory auditorium, New Delhi in 1952, to raise funds for the Blind Relief Association.

Yehudi Menuhin, a world renowned violinist, was greatly impressed when he heard Dwaram play at Justice P.V. Rajamannar’s house. The famous playback singer Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao learned Carnatic music under Naidu.

He was known for his extremely well developed soft bowing technique combined with a firm fingering technique.

He wrote several interesting articles on music, like an essay on the “Peculiar characteristics of the tambura”.

He cautioned his disciples against missing practice even for a day. “If you don’t practice for one day, you will notice your mistakes, if you don’t practice for two days the audience would notice your mistakes!!”. He often used to say, “Music is an audible tapas.”

Sri Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu Memorial Trust was established in Chennai.

Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu Kalakshetram was established in Visakhapatnam.

Statues of this great musician have been erected in Visakhapatnam and Chennai.

Awards:

  • Madras Music Academy presented him with Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1941.
  • Andhra University conferred on him Kala Prapoorna in 1950.
  • He received Sangeet Natak Academi Award in Fine Arts in 1953.
  • Padma Shree Award was conferred on him in 1957.
  • Indian Postal Department has released a commemorative stamp on his birth centenary in 1993.
  • Raja-Lakshmi Award for the year 1992 by Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai was awarded to Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu Memorial Trust.

Family:

  • Eminent Musicologist Dwaram Bhavanarayana Rao is his son. Dwaram Anantha Venkata Swamy and Dwaram Lakshmi are his children.
  • Dwaram Narasinga Rao Naidu is son of Dwaram Venkata Krishnaiah Naidu, who was the elder brother of Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu. He worked as violin lecturer and principal of M.R.Government Music College at Vizianagaram for many years. Dwaram Durga Prasada Rao, Dwaram Satyanarayana Rao and Poosarla Manorama are his children.
  • Dwaram Durga Prasada Rao is eldest son of Dwaram Narasinga Rao Naidu. He has worked as principal of M.R.Government Music College at Vizianagaram.
  • Dwaram Anantha Venkata Swamy is his grandson. He is a Civil Engineer working in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
  • Dwaram Lakshmi is daughter of Dwaram Bhavanarayana Rao. She is Vocalist presently working as professor in Padmavathi Mahila University.
  • Justice Meenakumari ,is grand daughter of Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu and presently working at Patna High Court.

 

 

 

 

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu

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Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu (15 October 1887 – 15 March 1941) was a Indian artist involved photography and in many aspects of the Cinema of India. He was the first owner of movie theatres in Madras, and the producer and director of the first few silent Indian movies and talkies.

Venkaiah Naidu was the second son of an Indian Army official in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. At the age of 18, he moved to Chennai and started drawing pictures and carving sculptures and selling them. He then learned photography and started a photo studio.

In 1909, he ordered a Chrono Mega phone, equipment that relates sounds with pictures, from John Dickinson and Company. To pay for the Chrono Mega phone he bought for Rs 30,000, he rented out his photo studio. He shot 12 short films and exhibited them in Victoria Public Hall. He also traveled to Bangalore, Vijayawada, Srilanka, Rangoon and Peg to exhibit his films.

In 1910, he established Esplanade Ten House to exhibit his films. In 1912, he constructed Gaiety Talkies on Mount Road, the first Indian-owned cinema theatre in Chennai. He later constructed Crown Theater on Mint Street and Globe Theater in Parasuwakka, Chennai. He also exhibited American and British films. Some of the first movies shown in his theatres were Million Dollar MysteryMysteries of Meera,Clutching HandBroken CoinRaja’s casketPeral fish, and ‘Great Bard’.

In 1919, he started a production company called Star of East Films and a film studio called Glass Studio. He sent his son, Raghupathi Surya Prakash Naidu to study cinematography in London. Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu and his son Prakash made their first movie “Meenakshi Kalyanam” around actual locations of the Madurai Meenakshi temple. Later, they produced films like Gajendra MokshamMathsyavatharam,Nandanaar, and Bhishma Pratigna, the first Telugu mookie (with no playback voices) movie.

In 1929, he was forced to sell his properties to pay off his debts. The Andhra Pradesh state government established the Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu Award, later changed to Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for lifetime contributors to the Telugu movie industry.

Savitri Ganesh

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Kommareddy Savitri or Savitri Ganesh (6 December 1934 – 26 December 1981), was an Indian actress, director and producer. She had appeared in Telugu,Tamil and Hindi languages. She was known for her liveliness and captivating performance and is still treated as the benchmark for acting in movies.

Savitri was born to Nissankara Rao Guruviah and Subhadramma in Chirravur (near Tenali) inGuntur, Madras Presidency, now part of Andhra Pradesh. She learned music and Indian classical dance under Sista Purnayya Sasthri. She performed stage shows during her childhood. She acted in 318 films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi languages, with ten to fifteen movies released per year.

She later directed some films. One day she went to meet the Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and donated all her jewelry she was wearing for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. She also built a high school in Andhra. Her favorite sports were cricket and chess. She used to play chess at home. She claimed that her favorite sports person was Gary Sobers. She participated in many celebrity cricket matches.

Career:

She gave some public performances as a child in Vijayawada. She worked in a theater company run by Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao. She also started her own company, the Navabharata Natya Mandali. Her best stage role was in Atma Vanchana written by Bucchi Babu.

Her first offer ‘Agni Pariksha’ at age twelve in 1949. However she looked too young after screen tests and was soon dropped. She was selected for main role in the film Samsaram by the banner ‘Sadhana Chitra’ in 1950. However she was replaced by Pushpavalli and she was given small role, as she was nervous to act with popular actor Nageswara Rao. She performed a dance in Pathala Bhairavi in 1951. Her first main roles was as a second heroine Pelli Chesi Choodu by L. V. Prasadin 1952. Her early popular roles are in Ardhangi and Missamma.

She later acted in memorable Telugu films like Chandra Haram (1953), Devadasu (1953), Ardhangi (1955), Missamma (1955), Donga Ramudu (1955), Amara Deepam (1956), Todikodallu (1957),Mayabazaar (1957), Abhimanam (1958), Mangalya Balam (1958), Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu(1959), Muripinche Muvvalu (1960), Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (1960), Manchi Manasulu (1961), Aradhana (1962), Gundamma Katha (1962), Rakta Tilakam (1963), Mooga Manasulu (1963),Doctor Chakravarthy (1964), Poojaphalam (1964), Devatha (1965), Pandava Vanavasam (1965), Kanya Sulkam, Naadi Aada Janme, Prana Mitrulu (1967), Varakatnam (1968), Maro Prapancham (1970), Manase Mandiram (1966) and Jagan Mohini (1978). These movies are testimony to her versatile action skills. She got national award for the magnum opus movie Chivaraku Migiledi.

Savitri was a legendary actress in Tamil. She has paired opposite leading actors like Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran. She married Gemini Ganesan, while acting in ‘Manam Pola Mangalyam’(1953) with him. Savithri’s 100th film ‘Konjum Salangai’ (‘Muripinche Muvvalu’ in Telugu) also happened to be paired with Gemini Ganesan. She was fondly called ‘Nadigaiyar Thilagam’ in the Tamil film industry.

Kalathur Kannamma (1959), Pasamalar (1961), Pava Mannippu (1961), Paarthal Pasi Theerum (1962), Karpagam (1963), Karnan (1963), Kai Kodutha Deivam, Navarathri (1964), Thiruvilaiyadal (1965), Yaar Paiyyan, and Padithal Mattum Podhuma are some of her memorable classics in Tamil cinema.

She acted in few Hindi films like Bahut Din HuweGhar Basake DekhoBalaram Sri Krishna and Ganga Ki Lahren.

She acted in few Kannada films towards the end of her career. She played the role of mother of Dr.Rajkumar in superhit films Thaayige Thakka Maga and Ravichandra. It was her longtime wish to act with Rajkumar. She also acted in Chandanada Gombe.

She had directed films like Chinnari Papalu (1968), ‘Chiranjeevi’, ‘Maathru Devatha’ and ‘Vintha Samsaram’ in Telugu. ‘Kuzhanthai Ullam’ and ‘Praptham’ in Tamil.

Personal life:

Savitri secretly married Gemini Ganesan in 1955 and she declared it publicly three years after the wedding. Gemini Ganesan and Savitri made a hit pair on-screen. Her wedding was revealed when she signed in a photo for a Lux advertisement as Savithri Ganesh. They had two children Vijaya Chamundeswari and Sathish Kumar. Savitri was a strict, disciplined and compassionate mother. Since there was no availability of televisions at that time, she arranged a 16mm projector to show movies to kids. She would watch Hollywood movies and analyze them thoroughly. She loved Sophia Loren and Shirley MacLaine. She died at an early age of 47.

Awards:

She got National Award for Best Actress in 1960 for her performance in the movie Chivaraku Migiledi.

The movie was the Telugu remake ofDeep Jele Jai (1959), a Bengali classic starring Suchitra Sen. The movie also got remade in Hindi later in 1969 as Khamoshi with Waheeda Rehman enacting the lead role.

She was crowned with title Nadigayar Thilakam (Empress of acting) for her fine performances in Tamil.

She was awarded with the title Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu State Government, Nata Siromani by the Andhra Yuvathi Mandali and with an apt title as Maha Nati.

 

 

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