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.

 

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