Mana Sanskriti (Our Culture)

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Chief Editor: Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, PhD, LLM

Issue 64

5105 Kali Era , Swabhanu Year, Vaisakha month
1925 Salivahana Era , Swabhanu Year, 
Vaisakha month
2061 Vikramarka Era, Swabhanu year, 
Vaisakha month
 2003 AD, May

Satyanarayana Garimella (1882-1952)

Satyanarayana Garimella was a great nationalist. He influenced and mobilized the Andhra nation against the British with his patriotic songs and writings for which he was jailed several times by the British government.  

He was born into a poor Brahmin family. His place and date of birth are disputed.  According to Kameswarrao Tekumalla, he was born in Gonepadu village of Srikakulam district in 1893 and according to M. L. Narasimharao, in Priya village of Srikakulam district in 1882.  His father was Venkatanarasimhamu and mother was Suramma.  He was married very young to his first wife in menarikam, which is legal and an ancient and continuing tradition in Andhra society.  

He finished his education with the help of a kind lawyer, Narasimharao Kannepalli, in Bandaru, Viajanagaramu, Rajamandri cities.  After finishing his BA, he worked as a clerk for a short while in Ganjam district collector’s office.  For sometime he worked as a teacher at a high school in Vijayanagaram.  Later, he went to school again to study L.T.  However, he gave up his studies to participate in civil disobedience movement called by Mahatma Gandhi.  During this time, he wrote his famous song “maakoddee telladoratanam (we reject this white rule),” for which he was jailed in 1922 for one year.  He continued his participation in the movement by singing songs in villages after the release from jail.  For this he was sentenced for two and half years rigorous imprisonment. His wife, father and grandfather died when he was in jail.

He learned Tamil in jail and translated “tirukkuraalld” and “naandiyar” from Tamil. His works include swaraajya geetamulu (1921), harijana paatalu (1923), khandakaavyalu, baalageetaalu (1926),  a translation tallikota from Kannada, an English poem “Heart of the Nation,” and a Telugu translation of “the Economic Conquest of India” by Pattabhiseetaramaiah Bhogaraju.  He wrote several articles in various daily and weekly journals such as grihalakshmi, krishnapatrika, aanandavani, dhanka, aandhraprabha, bhaarati etc. He also ran a restaurant called kalpakavilaas for sometime.

Mahatma Gandhi was surprised that Garimella was imprisoned for his song “maakoddee telladoratanamu.”  Although he was one of the greatest political poets of Andhra nation and devoted everything for freedom movement, he died as a destitute on December 18,1952 after spending several years in poverty.  Tekumalla laments his death as “Unwept, Unhonoured and Unsung.”

Source: "Noorguru Telugu Pramukhulu,"  Narasimharao, ML, "Naa Vaajnmaya Mitrulu," Kameswarrarao Tekumalla
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