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Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu
K. Veeresalingam Pantulu
|Died||27 May 1919 (aged 71)|
|Occupation||Social reformer, writer|
Bapamma Rajyalakshmi (m. 1861)
Rao Bahadur Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu (16 April 1848 – 27 May 1919) was a social reformer and writer of Andhra Pradesh, India. 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 1874. He constructed a temple as 'Brahmo Mandir' in 1887 and the 'Hithakarini School' in 1908 in Andhra Pradesh. His novel Rajasekhara Charitramu is considered to be the first novel in Telugu literature.
Veeresalingam was born in an orthodox Brahmin family in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh to Subbarayudu, and Poornamma. When he was six months old, he suffered from smallpox, a dangerous disease during that time. But somehow he survived. He lost his father when he was four years old. He was adopted by his paternal uncle Venkataratnam. 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 1869 and got his first job as a teacher in Korangi village.
Veeresalingam was a scholar in Sanskrit, Hindi & Telugu. Considering literature as a weapon to fight against social evils, his writings also reflected the same. He wrote plays criticizing the attitude of Brahmin priests such as Prahlada (1885), Satya Harischandra (1886). He published a novel Rajashekhara Charita in 1880, originally serialized inViveka Chandrika from 1878. Generally recognised as the first Telugu novel, it is inspired by The Vicar of Wakefield, a novel by the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith.
His works include:
- First novel in Telugu 'Rajasekhara Charitra'
- 'Viveka Vardhini' a journal for women education in 1887.
- 'Satihita bodhini' a monthly magazine for women.
- First drama in Telugu and first book in Telugu on sciences & history.
Veeresalingam was inspired by the principles of Brahmo Samaj leaders like Raja Rammohan Roy, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, & Maharshi Keshab Chandra Sen. He started his own Brahmo Mandir in Rajahmundry near bridge in 1887.
Welfare of women
One of the greatest reforms of Veeresalingam was to promote women's education, which was considered to be a taboo in those days. In 1876, he started a journal called Viveka Vardhini and published articles about women's issues of that era. The magazine was initially printed at Chennai (then Madras), but with his writings gaining popularity, he established his own press at Rajahmundry.
Remarriage of widows was not appreciated in the society during those days, and he opposed this by arguing that widows were not prohibited from remarrying by quoting verses from the Hindu Dharma Sastra to prove his point. His opponents used to organize special meetings and debates to counter his arguments, and even resorted to physical violence against him when they failed to stop him. Undeterred, Veeresalingam started a Remarriage Association and sent his students all over Andhra Pradesh to find young men willing to marry widows. He arranged the first widow remarriage on 11 December 1881. For his reformist activities, Kandukuri gained attention all over the globe. The Government, in appreciation of his work, conferred on him the title of Rao Bahadur in 1893. Later he established a widow home.
Veeresalingam was married to Bapamma Rajyalakshmi in 1861. At the time of marriage, he was 13 years old, and his wife was 8.
Kandukuri Veeresalingam served as one of the members of the first Indian National Congress (INC) meeting in 1885.
He died on 27 May 1919 at the age of 71. His statue has been unveiled on the Beach Road in Vishakhapatnam.
- Arnab, Sengupta (18 December 2013). "Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu (Andhra Social Reformer)". ImportantIndia.com. Important India. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Editor, ILoveIndia. "Kandukuri Veeresasilngam Biography". iloveindia.com. iloveindia. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Sisir Kumar Das (1991). A History of Indian Literature 1800–1910 (Western Impact: Indian Response). New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. pp. 209–210. ISBN 978-81-7201-006-5. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- Vepachedu, Srinivasa Rao. "Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Father of Andhra Renaissance". Vepachedu.org. Vepachedu Srinivasa Rao. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
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