CSIS

Centre for South Indian Studies

Kaloji Narayana Rao ((9 September 1914 – 13 November 2002) People’s Poet of Telangana

On the occasion of 109th Birthday of Awards winning Popular Poet, Political Activist, Human Rights advocate- Sri Kaloji Narayana Rao one of the early birds of band of informed leaders of Telangana Region. This info chit is meant for the benefit of young readers reminding them about the sacrifices made by Elders of yester years.

 

The People of Telangana and the State Govt. officially celebrate 9th of September every year, the birthday of Praja Kavi (People’s Poet), Kaloji Narayana Rao as ‘Telangana Language Day’ as a tribute to him who contributed to the Culture, History and Literature of Telangana. Soon after the formation of Telangana State in the year 2014, Govt. of Telangana named Telangana State Health University as Kaloji Narayana Rao Health University in his Honour. He was proficient in Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Hindi and Kannada languages and written Poetry in Marathi and Urdu. He was good at translation of Telugu to other languages and vice versa. His father, Kaloji Ranga Rao had roots in Maharashtra and Mother Ramabayamma in Kannada and due to it he had a cosmopolitan outlook. His brother Rameshwar Rao was known Urdu Poet in those days under the pen name of ‘Shaad’. His family had strong bonding with Warangal. Govt. of India duly recognized him with ‘Padma Vibushan’ award.

 

He was great lover of Telugu Language and its Local Diversity which we call ‘Mandalikam’ (Local slang &accent and dialect). He spelt out clearly in his autobiography ‘Idhi Na Godava’ (This is my Problem) that the language of Telugu would die without understanding the local slangs and its strength is found in variation. To build a case for uniformity or arguing which Mandalikam is superior and popular will do more damage to Telugu, he felt. He was early protagonist of separate Telangana in 1960s. Political and Social satire was his forte which reflected in his writings. He was awarded honorary Doctorate by the Kakatiya University @ Warangal.

 

He had close association with stalwarts like Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Burgula Rama Krishna Rao, and PV. Narasimha Rao, Hayagrivaachary, Jamalapuram Kesava Rao and Survaram Pratap Reddy. He was one of the founders of ‘Andhra Sarwasth Parishat’ with an intention of making Telangana a land of Literates. He actively pursued the Library Movement in Telangana for the same purpose. He condemned Violence and State Violence for which Police suspected his role in plaguing Naxalite Movement.

 

He was associated with every phase of social and political movements of Telangana in his life time. He was deeply involved in the activities of Andhra Maha Sabha and Arya Samaj in Nizam State. He was expelled from the Osmania University for his role in Vande Mataram along with PV. Narasimha Rao. He was also member of Congress Party and part of struggle against Nizam. He was jailed at the age of 25 years for anti Nizam slogans and struggles. He voiced concern against Razakars and exploitative Feudal chiefs patronized by Nizam.

He was part of Justice Tarkunde Committee which investigated into Human Rights violations. He contested against Jalagam Vengal Rao, the then CM of Undivided AP State. It was noted with interest in Public Politics. He believed in Democratic Process and Methods. Although he contested thrice in the Elections, he became once a Member of Legislative Council. He died in 2002 and his body was given to Kakatiya Medical College as it was his last wish.

 

 

Some of Kaloji writings:

 

  • Anakathalu (1941)
  • Naa Bharatadesha Yatra (1941, translation of Brail Ford’s Rebel India)
  • Kaloji Kathalu (1943)
  • Parthiva vijayam (1946)
  • Naa Godava (1953, 1st edition)
  • Idi Naa Godava (1995, autobiographical)
  • Bapu! Bapu!! Bapu!!! (1995)

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