His main seat of activity was the town Rajamahendravaram pronounced as Raja-mahendra-varam , on the banks of river Godavari. He inspired generations of reformers and purposive writers, and continues to do so. Veeresalingam awakened Andhras out of their suffocating medieval orthodox customs and superstitions. In , he established another school for girls at Innispeta in Rajamundry. The second feature of this new school was i t started admitting children from panchama SC communities too.
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His main seat of activity was the town Rajamahendravaram pronounced as Raja-mahendra-varam , on the banks of river Godavari. He inspired generations of reformers and purposive writers, and continues to do so. Veeresalingam awakened Andhras out of their suffocating medieval orthodox customs and superstitions.
In , he established another school for girls at Innispeta in Rajamundry. The second feature of this new school was i t started admitting children from panchama SC communities too. There were five such panchama High School students to begin with. And it was free for them like for girls. The students were successfully trained to treat them well irrespective of gender and caste. It had more than students in his life time itself.
NBT Gulamgiri by Phule. Sec 15 on Education. These were by local initiatives led by Phule. Though he was born in an orthodox Brahmin family, he wrote plays criticizing the attitude of Brahmin priests such as Prahlada , Satya Harischandra He faced all of them undeterred, his wife Rajya Lakshmi November- August 12 standing by him in everything as his comrade-in-arms. She was educated and trained by him to be a teacher and writer too. He wrote that he could not have carried on but for their support.
One such swami, a jagad guru, tried to overwhelm Kandukuri but had to quit the town when challenged by students. Police also stood by him as they were bound to protect enforcement of reformist laws. NBT p. Those whom opposed him used to enter into organized public debates, basing themselves on scripturs etc. Sometimes they would fix a date ansd come later too. In many such debates, he defeated them by his argument.
Some of them conceded defeat too. He opposed superstitions, black magic etc, and wrote and worked against them. So many books on Jyotish Sastra gave an impression that it was science.
It continues till date, being taught in some universities, even before RSS influenced them. NT Rama rao had introduced it in Telugu University, for instance.
The latter, apart from wikipedia etc. He hailed from an orthodox Brahmin clan of Kandukuru village of Nellore area in coastal Andhra,with a feudal background. His forefathers worked as divans Ministers in feudatories and zamindaris, and shifted to Godavari tract, first to Eluru and later to Rajahmundry, for their livelihood. A migrant is usually identified with reference to their place of origin. His forefathers had a religious past associated with Veera Saivism on one side, and Vaishnanavism on another.
But given their earthly activities as divans , they had turned a little liberal and philanthropic too. He inherited these good traits but shunned orthodoxy. After studying in an Indian street school, he was later sent to English medium school where his talents were recognized. His good nature and studiousness earned him the best student award in his school. He completed his matriculation in and got his first job as a teacher in Korangi village, later shifted to his home town, Rajahmundry.
Later he became a Telugu pandit in Government Arts College in the same town. He worked for some years in Presidency College, Madras, and then again came to back to his home town. He started his own Brahmo Mandir in Rajahmundry near Godavari bridge in He was often considered as Raja Rammohan Roy of Andhra.
Letters of appreciation from Vidyasagar etc are there. Justice Ranade was a founding Member of Congress in He also established Maharashtra Girls Education Society in His words are no less apt for Kandukuri.
For him patriotism meant something different from nationalism as can be seen below. He had seen — we can also see — many unprincipled and unscrupulous men and vested interests, masquerading as nationalists, then and now. Viveka vardhini july and january. A country is progressive only when the masses are educated and civilised. Without social reforms, people could not fully reap the benefits of political liberty. Even evil customs of our country are being hailed as good traditions. Even good practices of other countries are being denigrated as evil features.
Many nationalists saw them as loyalists. Whatever the viewpoint, Veeresalingam occupies a unique place in the history of modern era of India, more so of Andhra and Telugus. KV Narayana Rao sums up his views and work thus:. His work was mainly in the literary and social spheres. He believed that the country would never progress unless native languages were improved.
However advanced the official language English might be, it could never become the language of the country. A good language could be considered developed only if there were good works in that language. He wrote that competent people should write in prose in the native languages on ethics and natural sciences.
Of his own literary activities, he wrote in his auto-biography:. I was the first to render drama in Telugu; the first Telugu book on natural sciences and on history were authored by me.
Whether he was indeed the first writer, as claimed above, was disputed in recent times by some critics. It can however be safely said that he was a pioneer in many respects, whether literally first or not. It is not so material too. He was unsurpassed for his multifarious contributions. After all many writers are hypocrites and do not practise what they write. We can only develop through review of such mistakes. These can help later-day writers to be more responsible. He was not flawless as nobody is.
He had his own idiosyncrasies. He was limited by his times, his social settings and reformist views. But by far, he strove to go beyond his limitations. Though born in a family of feudal divans, he did not hesitate to name and criticise them when he felt it necessary and paid for it.
The Zamindar of Polavaram had married an young girl aged ten even when his legal wife whom he deserted was alive and protesting. Veeresalingam was married to Rajyalakshmi in At the time of marriage, he was 13 years old, and his wife was 8. His wife, born with the maiden name Bapamma, in a nearby village Kateru, was renamed, as was quite common in those days, post-marriage Rajyalakshmi, November- August She was married early as was the custom then, to Kandukuri aged 12, and was a great companion in all his activities.
The couple was ostracised, troubled, and harassed for their reformist zeal but they stood up together until last. The couple had no children of their own.
They adopted a boy born to one Sriramulu Gogulapati, who married a widow, and gave up the child born of his first wife. He had named him after Veeresalingam, and requested Kandukuri to adopt him. Rajya Lakshmi desired to adopt him, and so was adopted. When his wife died in her sleep, he was upset. He narrated about her life of multi-sided suffering because of his activities.
Kandukuri narrates some episodes about her in his auto-biography: NBT p. She used to warmly receive any strange widow who arrived at our home for help. She used to give them food, clothes, shelter etc even before I arrived from outside.
She used to give them literacy and education. We had set up an orphanage for destitute women, a Patita Yuvati Rakshana Shala, in front of our house for such widows and deserted women. She used to look after that work, and tried to rescue them from their plight and their past, fallen ways. There was a brahmin widow who came to our place being pregnant. My wife took care of her, sent her to the Christian Maternity Hospital in our town.
When a child was delivered, the woman tried to give up her child to the hospital staff. Later the woman left behind the child with us and left to her parental home.
My wife named the child as Premavati beloved child and brought her up. When my wife died, I handed over the child to the hospital , where she was growing up.
Birth of Kandukuri Veeresalingam - [April 16, 1848] This Day in History
He is considered as the father of renaissance movement in Telugu. He was one of the early social reformers who encouraged women education, remarriage of widows which was not supported by the society during his time and fought against dowry system. He also started a school in Dowlaiswaram in His novel Rajasekhara Charitramu is considered to be the first novel in Telugu literature. He often considered as Raja Rammohan Roy of Andhra. He was also known by the title Gadya Tikkana, meaning ' Tikkana of Prose'. When he was six months old, he suffered from smallpox , a dangerous disease during that time, and when aged four his father died.
Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu