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T. Ramaswamy Chowdary

Krishna, Andhra Pradesh

June 21, 2022

The Kaviraju (As he is popularly known in Andhra Pradesh), a fearless freedom fighter, a great native poet, and an uncompromising rationalist, was born in a farmer’s family in village Angaluru, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, on the 15 January 1887. His entire family was comprised of literati and in his childhood, he wanted to learn Sanskrit but was put off by the traditional pundits. Shri Ramaswamy‘s zeal and quest led him to the study of Sanskrit and to a very thorough understanding and critical study and analysis of the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, and Itihasas. He concluded that the decadence of Hindu society was due to misinterpretation of our great Indian texts and that there is no sanction for the caste system or for untouchability and that it is the vested and self-interest of the privileged section of the society that has been keeping millions in ignorance, illiteracy, superstitious beliefs and degraded status. He took to intensive and extensive propagation of reform through his poetry, dramas, lengthy dissertations, and extensive discourses. He used his considerable literary talents to write beautifully in Telugu to lead people to rational thought. His works on Bhagwad Gita, Soota Purana, Sambukavadha Khooni, Rana Pratap, and Kurukshetra Sangramam stirred the masses to rational thought and action. He saw that social reform and the awakening of the masses were inextricably linked up with the freedom movement. His songs and Satakas inspired people to participate in Gandhiji‘s Satyagraha Movements. He demystified the marriage rituals by writing in Telugu Vivaha Vidhi and conducting the marriages in a simple, meaningful way, and also preserving the solemnity and dignity that our ancients had built into the Hindu marriage.

He studied in London and Dublin to become a Bar-at-law but gave up lucrative practice to propagate social reform through his literary talents. As Chairman of Tenali Municipality, he put an end to all irrational and traditional practices and rituals like animal sacrifices and superstitious observances, unmindful of popularity, but upholding his beliefs and rational thought. He died in 1943.

Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi paid a tribute to him for his patriotic, reformist, and literary contributions and the Government of Andhra Pradesh installed his statue as one of the Telugu greats, on the picturesque Tank Bund in Hyderabad.

Source: Information Brochure of Commemorative Postage Stamp issued by Department of Posts.