ANDHRA & 50 Years of India's Independence - #3

Wed, 19 Feb 1997 00:46:40 -0500

		 Garimella Satyanarayana - Poet & Freedom Fighter

     There died a famous man "unhonored, unsung, and unwept" in a helpless
     state on the 18th December of 1952, just a couple of days after the
     death of Father of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Potti Sreeramulu. Sri Sreeramulu's
     death brought a complete halt of all the activities and transportation
     throughout the state of Andhra pradesh and the result was the absolute
     lack of a functioning news media. The AIR might have probably ignored
     Garimella's death and it would be surprising to see if his death was
     covered in any local news papers of Madras.

     Garimella Satyanarayana is identified as a "Tiger Poet" by his famous
     (popular) song - "mAkoddI tella doratanamu" (We don't need this white
     rule). Garimella himself used to sing this song and the British were
     scared right from their roots. This particular song was a house-hold
     freedom rhyme in all four corners of Andhra those days.

     Garimella Satyanarayana was born in Gonepadu village (Sivaru priyagraharam)
     of Narasannapeta Taluk (Srikakulam district) in 1892. In 1992, his birth
     centenary was celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and on this occassion the
     collection of his songs as "garimeLLa gEyAlu" was published by the
     Visalandhra Publishers. Parakala Pattabhiramarau, another famous freedom
     fighter of Andhra, edited this valuable collection of Garimella's songs.

     Prof. Madduri Subbareddi of the Telugu Department, SV University, Tirupati
     published a research paper entitled "telugu jAtIyOdyama kavitvam" (telugu
     freedom struggle poetry) and described Garimella's poetry with due respect.
     This was published in 1982. The Akhilandhra Virasamsmarana Mandali of
     Kovvur also published a biographical sketch of Garimella.

     Garimella Satyanarayana was at the zenith of Telugu poetry and enjoyed the
     loudest cheers of the crowds and the greatest warmth of the literary lovers
     but he lived a tragic life as stricken by worst poverty and died unknown in
     a place that is not his (Madras). His poverty did not stop with him but
     became an inheritance for his children and as a result his daughter and
     grandchildren live in filthy conditions in Vijayanagaram. It is a fact that
     Garimella was hungry in his last days and the Government of India did not
     even bother to feed this Freedom Fighter. Was the Mother India poor to feed
     a tiny little son of hers who tried to free her from the strong chains of
     the British?

     It is right time for the Government of Andhra Pradesh to commemorate this
     freedom fighter and his unparallel services to Mother India and Andhra.

     Prof. Challa Radhakrishnamurthy of the Madurai Kamaraj University Telugu
     Department did an outstanding research on Garimella's literary works and
     ultimately published a book called "garimeLLa sAhityam" (garimeLLa's
     literary works). During his endeavor, Sri Radhakrishnamurthy, tirelessly
     contacted several relatives and friends of Garimella, obtained information
     about Garimella's life history, collected several of his unpublished
     materials, and finally published his book. That was a real accomplishment of
     Prof. Radhakrishnamurthy and he will be remembered as long as Garimella is
     remembered. In fact, this book on Garimella's literary works by Sri
     Radhakrishnamurthy, reopened the the doors of the old memory boxes about
     Garimella and his writings. Madala Virabhadrarao and Mahidhara
     Ramamohanarao subsequently reviewed Radhakrishnamurthy's book on
     Garimella's literary works in major News Papers of Andhra Pradesh (Udayam
     and Visalandhra).

     Smt. B. Krushnakumari did an MPhil research with an emphasis on the
     crtical analysis of Garimella's literary works. She obtained her degree in
     1990. During the course of her research, Smt. Krushnakumari collected
     various works of Garimella after visiting several libraries. That was a
     major effort by Krushnakumari which the literary lovers now enjoy.

     Upon submission of a memorandum (by Vavilala Gopalakrushnayya, Mahidhara
     Ramamohana Rao, and Parkala), Prof. C. Narayanareddi, the then VC of Telugu
     University was instrumental in celebrating Garimella's 98th birthday on
     the 15th July of 1990 at Hyderabad. Famous writers and freedom fighters
     were invited to attend this function. Mallik and others sang the most
     famous song of Garimella, "mAkoddI tella doratanamu" and other songs in
     this function.

     On the 8th of February, 1922, Garimella joined the Freedom Struggle at
     Rajahmundry while he was a student of BALT at the Training College. The
     students and the faculty recently wanted to rename the college as Garimella
     Government Training College and submitted a memorandum to the Government as
     a follow up.

     Again on the 15th of July, 1992, The Telugu University celebrated the 100th
     birthday of Sri Garimella Satyanarayana. The then chief minister Mr.
     Janardhana Reddy declared that (1) he would take a lead role in getting a
     postage stamp released commemorating Garimella and (2) would see that his
     family would receive sufficient pension or financial help from the
     Government. The same day, the book written by Smt. B. Krushnakumari
     (garimeLLa vyAsAvaLi) was released by the Telugu University with in a very
     short time.

     Parakala Pattabhiramarao felt bitter about the way the freedom fighters of
     Andhra like Garimella are treated. Parakala says that with in 45 years
     after the freedom struggle and attaining independence, the entire history
     of the freedom fighters disappeared and became unrecognized. Unfortunately,
     the present generation may even not know about these freedom fighters.
     Parakala says "Tamilians at least recognized Subrahmanyabharati as their
     poet. We totally forgot who Garimella is. In order to remind everyone about
     Garimella, we had to struggle this much."

     After all this, I am reminded of a famous Telugu proverb - caccinavADi
     kaLLu cAreDEsi. It is unfortunate to know that Garimella suffered hell
     while he was alive, went unrecognized during his last days, and totally
     forgotten now by the present generation. At least those who recognized like
     Parakala, Vavilala, and Mahidhara say that he was an elephant while alive
     and he is an elephant now but how can they convince the present generation
     and present rulers who never saw how an elephant looks like - because
     elephants are endangered and struggling the oncoming forces of extinction!



     1) garimeLLa gEyAlu : Editor - parakAla paTTABirAmArAu
	1992, Visalandhra Book House
     2) telugu sAhitya samIksha - Dr. G. Nagayya, Navya Parisodhana Pracurana,
	Tirupati, 1985.
     3) AdhunikAndhra kavitvamu - Dr. C. Narayanareddi, Visalandhra.
     4) Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh (Andhra) - Prof. Mamidipudi
	Venkatarangayya, Vols I-IV, 1965.
     5) Andhrula Sankshipta Charitra - Etukuri Balaramamurthy, Visalandhra.
     Disclaimer: Opinions are mine only.

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