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Rao (राव) is an Indian princely title cognate with Raja (King). It's also used as a surname across India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, Italy and Brazil. Rao is also used as an addition to one's name or as a suffix to a male name in some places.
Rao is commonly added as a suffix to a person's name in southern, northern and western parts of India, in particular in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Konkan/Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra (also Rao Saheb), Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. Rao is the surname of Brahmins in Karnataka. Rao is the surname of Rajputs from UP and Rajasthan, Rao is the surnames of Ahirs Yadav of Haryana. Variants of the name include "Rai", "Raja", "Rayudu", "Rayar", "Rayulu", "Raut", "Raya", "Rana" and others. In the Gujarati diaspora, Rao is a common name among the Brahmbhatt or Barot community.
India's ex-prime minister Narasimha Rao (whose last name is often featured in the any Times crossword puzzle) was a native of Andhra Pradesh. In south India, Rao is not a family name, but is the last of the middle names, if ever used.
Famous Indians with the surname
This is a list of some famous Indians and people of Indian origin with the surname Rao, in order by date of birth.
- Rao Tula Ram Yadav Raja of Southern Haryana.
- Rao Birender Singh Yadav Second Chief Minister of Haryana.
- C. R. Narayan Rao (1882–1960), Indian zoologist and herpetologist
- Raja Rao (1908–2006), Indian novelist who wrote in English
- S. V. Ranga Rao (1918–1974), Indian actor, director and producer
- Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (born 1920), Indian American statistician
- P.V. Narasimha Rao (1921-2004), 9th Prime Minister of India (21 June 1991 – 16 May 1996)
- Akkineni Nageswara Rao (born 1923), Indian Telugu film veteran actor
- S. Rajeswara Rao (1922–1999), Indian film composer
- N. T. Rama Rao (1923–1996), Indian Telugu film actor, director, producer and politician; founder of the Telugu Desam Party, a political party in Andhra Pradesh, India
- Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga (1947–1988), Indian National Congress politician
- Tadepalli Lakshmi Kanta Rao (1923–2009), Indian film actor and producer
- Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (1925–2010), Indian Telugu film actor
- Singeetam Srinivasa Rao (born 1931), Indian film director
- Jaladi Raja Rao (1932–2011), Indian Telugu writer, playwright and lyricist
- Udipi Ramachandra Rao (born 1932), Indian space scientist and former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation
- Pavani Parameswara Rao (born 1933), Indian Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India
- C. N. R. Rao (born 1934), Indian chemist
- C. S. Rao (born 1935), Indian writer, actor, director and producer
- Gandikota V. Rao (1934-2004), expert on tropical meteorology
- Ramoji Rao (born 1936), Indian businessman and media entrepreneur, head of the Ramoji Group
- Rao Gopal Rao (1937–1994), Indian actor, producer and politician
- Kovelamudi Raghavendra Rao (born 1942), Indian film director
- Dasari Narayana Rao (born 1947), Indian Telugu film actor, director, producer and politician
- Kota Srinivasa Rao (born 1947), Indian Telugu film actor
- Srikumar Rao (born 1951), Indian motivational speaker, author and former business school professor
- A. N. Prahlada Rao (born 1953), Indian author and Kannada crossword writer
- Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (born 1954), Indian politician
- Akkineni Nagarjuna Rao (born 1959), Indian film actor, son of Akkineni Nageswara Rao
- Amrita Rao (born 1981), Indian film actress and model
- Yalaka Venugopal Rao (born 1982), Indian cricketer
- N. T. Rama Rao Jr. (born 1983), Indian Telugu film actor, grandson of N. T. Rama Rao
- Shilpa Rao (born 1984), Indian playback singer
- Sunitha Rao (born 1985), American tennis player
- K. Chandrasekhar Rao (born 1954), Indian politician; founder and leader of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, a political party in Andhra Pradesh, India
- K. T. Rama Rao (born 1976), Indian politician from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi; son of K. Chandrasekhar Rao
- T. Harish Rao (born 1972), Indian politician from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi; nephew of K. Chandrasekhar Rao
The majority of Raos in Pakistan are Muslim Punwar (Pawar) Rajputs and Chauhan Rajputs. Raos can be found all across Pakistan and are found in large numbers in the Punjab province as well as in Sindh. The Rao are famous for their customs, norms and traditions. Rao are very brave people, the majority of Raos are serving in Pakistani Armed Forces, Police & Civil Services at responsible positions In the Past, Rao Family participated in politics with big names. Major are ., still Rao are the part of politics in Pakistani Politics with respect. Rao families prefer to marry in their own Caste Ranghars/Muslim Rajputs . After Indo Pak partition majority of Rao got settled in the cities of Punjab: Pakpattan District, Okara District, Phullarwan of Sargodha District, Shujabad, Bahawalnagar, Maharwali, Khanewal, Lahore, Mandi Bahaud DinKot Radha Kishan Chichawatni, Burewala, Vehari, Bahawalpur, Haroonabad, Sahiwal, Multan Mailsi & many other cities.They Speak Ranghari/Haryanvi & (Mewati)Khari Boli in their Homes & Villages, but they can also Speak Urdu as national language, lingua franca of Pakistan & Known Punjabi, Saraiki (in Punjab & South Punjab respectively).
In Sindh they settled in District Karachi,Hyderabad, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazir Abad District, (Nawabshah), Umerkot, Tharparkar, Tando Allayar etc. In Sindh they known as Sindhi Rajput which is the addition in Sindhi Rajput after independence of Pakistan. In Sindh, Sindhi & Khari Boli is common language of Rao Family. They maintain an overarching tribal council (panchayat in the their dialect), which deals with a number of issues, such as punishments for petty crime or co-operation over village projects. Raos are further categorized according to their geographical locations and education level. They maintain a distinct identity in Pakistan. In 2002 elections of Pakistan, Rajputs were in the largest number in assemblies.
Famous Pakistani with the surname
- Rao Sikandar Iqbal late politician and 25th defence minister of Pakistan hailed from okara Punjab
- Rao Hashim Khan late politician and former member of national assembly and chairman land commission hailed from pakpattan Punjab
- Rao Muhammad Afzal Khan late politician.In 1952, he was elected as MPA from Sahiwal District tehsil Depalpur. He went on to win election an additional four times as Member Provincial Assembly and twice as a Member National Assembly in 1985 and 1988.
- Major generalRao Farman Ali a senior and high profile officer who commanded combatant assets and elements of the Corps of Military Police during the East-Pakistan and later as military adviser in East Pakistan known as butcher of Bengalis
- Air Chief MarshalRao Qamar Suleman 19 chief of air staff
- Rao Iftikhar Anjum Pakistani cricketer
- Sarwar Munir Rao Pakistani journalist
- Shafiq-ur-Rahman (humorist) Pakistani humorist and military physician who retired from the rank of major general in Pakistan army
The Sicilian-Calabrian Italian surname Rao is pronounced in the Italian language similarly to the Indian pronunciation, although in the United States many Raos of Italian descent pronounce the name "RAY-O." Examples are Raos in New York City, Boston, and Rao families in Rhode Island and North Carolina. It is also common among the descendants of Italian settlers in Brazil.
- "Rajkumar Yadav is now Rajkummar Rao". Hindustan Times. 2013-11-21. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Rajkummar Rao Denies Falling Out with Anushka Sharma". Indiawest.com. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2014-02-03.