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Tripuraneni Ramaswamy on a 1987 stamp of India
|Born||15 January 1887|
Angaluru, Krishna district
|Died||16 January 1943|
|Alma mater||Noble College, Machilipatnam|
|Genre||Lawyer, Playwright, Poet, Avadhanam|
|Notable works||Kurukshetra Sangramam|
|Children||Tripuraneni Gopichand, Chouda Rani|
|Relatives||Pitcheswara Rao Atluri|
Tripuraneni Ramaswamy or Kaviraju Tripuraneni Ramaswamy (15 January 1887 – 16 January 1943) was a lawyer, poet, playwright and reformer active among the Telugu-speaking people. Popularly known as Kaviraju, Ramaswamy is considered the first poet to introduce rationalism and humanism into Telugu poetry and literature.
Ramaswamy was part of a growing movement in India to reassess the culture of India. This movement included such people as Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Ranade, Dayananda Saraswati, Kandukuri Veeresalingam and Gurazada Apparao.
Childhood and early years
Ramaswamy was born in the village of Angaluru in the Krishna District (present day Andhra Pradesh) into a family of farmers. At the age of 23, he passed his Matriculation Examination. In the same year Ramaswamy wrote two plays: "Karempudi Kadanam" based on the Palanadu battle and "Kurukshetra Sangramam" based on the Mahabharata war. In 1911, Ramaswamy joined the Noble College at Bandar to study for the Intermediate Course. In those years he displayed his literary skills and prodigious memory in his Avadhanam.
In 1914, Ramaswamy went to Britain and studied law as well as English Literature and modern European culture in Dublin. During this time, Ramaswamy wrote to Krishna Patrika, a Telugu weekly appealing to Indians to support the Home Rule movement started by Annie Besant. He pleaded for India's independence. Ramaswamy wrote many patriotic songs during the independence movement.
After returning to India, Ramaswamy practiced law for some years, mostly in Tenali town. However, his main activity was directed towards social reforms. He launched a full-scale attack on casteism and the social injustices resulting from it.
Literary career and public life
Ramaswamy chose literary writing as the vehicle for expressing his rationalist thoughts. His work Sutaparanam in four cantos was a fierce attack on the ancient Puranas, Ramaswamy has attained the state of excellence in poetic&literary criticism. His poetic work Kuppuswamy Satakam reveals the theme of social revolution and talks about social evils, blind faith and indignity to man. He was against Congress and its fight against independence.
In his other works such as Sambhukavadha, Suthashrama geethaalu, Dhoortha maanava, Khooni, Bhagavadgita, Rana Pratap and Kondaveeti pathanam, Ramaswamy made a rational analysis of dogmas prescribed by ancient classics and the injustice these dogmas did to people belonging to the lower social orders. Moreover, Ramaswamy attacked discriminatory practices and fought against the idea of untouchability.
Sambhuka Vadha created lot of controversy. Sambhuka was a character who did tapas to go heaven with live body before death. That was considered as adharma and was killed by Lord Rama. This story was interpreted that Brahmins do not like doing tapas by non-Brahmins, which is why Sabhuka was killed.
Ramaswamy was against the traditional Hindu marriage ceremony which resulted in burdensome expenditure, especially among the poor. He prepared a simple procedure in Telugu called Vivaha Vidhi. He officiated at many marriages. When he was the Chairman of Tenali Municipality, he did not permit animal sacrifice to appease Devatas.
Ramaswamy was a patriot even when he was a student. He wrote a patriotic play Rana Pratap, which was proscribed by the British government. He was an ardent lover of the Telugu language and culture and was proud of their history. He was an educationist and was a member of the senate of the Andhra University for three terms. Ramaswamy was awarded many honors and was popularly known as 'Kaviraju', a title conferred on him.
Ramaswamy died in 1943, but left his imprint on the development of the Telugu-speaking people. The Indian government honored his legacy by issuing a commemorative postage stamp with his picture in 1987, his centenary year.
Among his children were Tripuraneni Gopichand, who has left his own mark on the Telugu literature, Tripuraneni Gokul Chand whose literary work Karuvu Rojulu was associated with ex-Chief Minister Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao during his initial days, and Chouda Rani, who married Pitcheswara Rao Atluri and was the first woman to run an exclusively Telugu language bookstore in Tamil Nadu. Tripuraneni Saichand – actor of maa bhumi is his grandson, son of Tripuraneni Gopichand.
- Ramaswamy Tripuraneni (1887–1943), Luminaries of 20th Century, Part 2, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, 2005, pp: 552–3.
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