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Remembering PV: The Politician Who Never Shunned Books and Libraries

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Picture credits: DH Ronak wikimedia commons
(K C Kalkura*)
THE WORLD TELUGU WRITERS ASSOCIATION has announced the Pamulaparthi Venkata NaisImha Rao’s Centenary as Telugu Language proactive Celebrations.  (తెలుగు భాషా చైతన్య మహోత్సవంగా శ్రీ పి.వి.శతజయంతి.  ప్రపంచ తెలుగు రచయితల సంఘం ప్రకటన).
I received the above pamphlet, through WhatsApp from Dr Poornachandu, the President of the organization.  I posted it in Osmania College, Kurnool, Alumni Association Group. The response has been encouraging.  One of them from Dr Mysore Jagannath, a distinguished and active Alumni is worth recording.
“Dear Sri. Chandrasekhara Kalkura Garu, I have this to share in response to the announcement about Sri. P. V.’s Centenary.
    “In the above announcement “Antarjaateeya Telugu Samstha” is mentioned.
 “Antarjaateeya Telugu Samstha (i.e. “International Telugu Institute”) office was located in Barkatpura, Hyderabad. In 1975, Dr P.S.R. Appa Rao (his PhD work was on the Sri Nannaya Kavitvam) was the Director. After my M.Sc. (Physics) (Specialization in Semiconductor Physics), I joined this Institute as the 1st Stenographer-cum-Typist (English). Assistant Director was Dr M. Veerabhadra Sastry (proficient in English, as well). Dr. Sastry would pick classic short stories (Panchatantram, Kasimajili kathalu, various sathakas – Vemana, Dasarathi, Sumathi etc) and would dictate translations – I would take notes in Shorthand and type drafts for further fine-tuning – the final product was intended for distribution among Telugu people settled in far off places such as Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, etc.
 “I am indebted to Sri. PV, who was instrumental in setting up of The International Telugu Institute. I started my career as a Stenographer-cum-Typist in this Institute and the experience gained there brought me to the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Seeds for my career growth were sowed in International Telugu Institute, for which I am ever grateful. Through this forum, I want to express my gratitude to Sri. P. V. Sir.” 
With Regards, 
Sincerely yours,  
M. Jagannatha.  
That PV Narasimha Rao was responsible for the Industrial and Economic Liberalisation and Reformation in India is History. That he ranks among the renowned linguistic Scholars like Madan Mohana Malavya, Sunithi Kumar Chatterjee and Puttaparthi Narayanacharlu is well known.  That he was a freedom fighter and a Gandhian is well documented.
Among the Prime Ministers,  born with a Silver spoon in his mouth, Jawaharlal Nehru was a Cambridge educated Barrister and Scholar.  Manmohan Singh is an Oxonian and a trained Economist.  Born in a middle-class traditional family PV was down to earth a self-taught, if not self-made man. He studied only in Hyderabad,  Nagpur and Pune, did not go abroad for studies. In the midst of his active political career, he did not give up his genuine desire for learning. He pursued his literary career throughout. “A genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. “
PV’s Gandhian philosophy did not end with wearing Khadi and following Vegetarianism.  He was a follower of Swamy Ramananda Teertha, a first-generation Gandhian and an undaunted Congress leader of the Nizam’s Hyderabad State.  PV started SWAMY RAMANANDA TEERTHA MEMORIAL in Brahmanwada in  Begumpet, Hyderabad after his mentor. When PV was the Chief Minister, in 1973,  his rural bias was translated into action through the Land Ceiling Legislation.
The price he paid was his Chief Minister’s post. Jai Andhra agitations of the 1973-’73 was basically a movement of the wealthy and influential landlords, personally targeted against Narasimha Rao. The agitation subsided after his resignation. But the legislation was implemented in its original form.
He also established SWAMY RAMANANDA TEERTHA RURAL UNIVERSITY at Bhoodan Pochampally, Nalgonda Dist. In 1973 Centenary Celebrations of Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu were held all over the country and New Delhi. President Giri and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were also involved and a Postal Stamp was released in Prakasam’s honour. In 1994 when he was the PM, Prakasam’s statue was unveiled by P.V. in the premises of Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in Ashoka Rd, Delhi.
Presiding over the 1924 Belgaum Congress Session,  Gandhiji gave a call to reorganize the Provinces on linguistic basis and introduce Vernacular as the Official Languages of the Provinces and Medium of Instructions in the academic institutions.
Andhra had been vocal in this agenda since 1913, through Andhra Mahasabha. PV in his capacity as a cabinet minister introduced Telugu in all the Departments under him, Law and Medical, and Health. As Minister for Education, he did marvellously.  All Departments were provided Telugu typewriters and founded Telugu Academy to prepare Telugu textbooks in technical subjects too. Official Languages Commission and Andhra Saraswat Parishad were strengthened. Telugu Libraries were encouraged. Telugu Professors were appointed Principals and Vice Chancellors. Personally he wrote and translated articles and books in more than one languages and won laurels and awards from National and International Academies Institutes and organizations.
He had an abiding interest in Libraries, personal as we as Public. It is said, subject to verification his personal library consisted of more than 25,000 books of all the 14 languages he knew.  He did not miss an opportunity to visit the famous old libraries,  not only in AP  but in other states also. He was a regular visitor to the Sarvothama Grandhalaya in Vijayawada. It is Head Quarters of the AP Libray Association (APLA),  the oldest active Library Association in the Country, established in 14-4-1914. It spearheaded the Library Movement in AP.  PV, the Law Minister of A.P.was the Chief Guest of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of APLA held at Vijayawada on 25 &. 26, May 1964. Again, on 22-3-1981, as Minister for External Affairs, Union of India he was the Chief Guest of Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of APLA held at Warangal.
On both the occasions he addressed in touching and moving terms. Tracing the History of the Library Movement, he said how he and his colleagues were, personally benefited and inspired by it, and participated in the National Movement. He
regretted the lack of interest among the youth in the libraries and negligence of the administration.  He particularly stressed the importance of our epics, scriptures, and spiritual literature.  With pardonable privilege and benevolent pride, I am the present President of the A.P.L.A.
KC Kalkura
For the first time,  I saw PV, when he was the Minister for Law in Sanjeeva Reddy Cabinet, on 25th, July 1963, in Kurnool when he translated Pandit Nehru’s Nehru’s English speech into Telugu.
Nehru was on his way back to Delhi after laying the foundation stone for the Srisailam Project, on 24th July 1963. It was as good as an original speech. At the end, Nehru acknowledged PV’s acumen in effectively carrying his message to the people.
I met him in Kurnool more than once when he was the Minister for Education.  As Chief Minister, to mark Silver Jubilee of Indian Independence, he instituted, in 1972 the Govt Silver Jubilee College,  Kurnool, the First Autonomous College in AP and one of the earliest in the country. It was the translation of the recommendations of the Education (Kothari) Commission, 1965. MV Rajgopal, the Secretary for Education was his competent and trusted Lieutenant, not only in establishing the particular College but in all Academic Affairs. Even after the reorganization of the State, after a separate admission test, it admits students from both the Telugu states and provides free Hostel facilities.
 When he came to file his nomination papers for the Nandyal Lok Sabha by-election, in November 1991,  I hosted a sumptuous lunch, with a mixed Andhra and Udupi menu. He relished it so much that patting my back he said: It is nice. You served new tastes. (బాగుందండీ. కొత్త వంట రుచి చూపించారు.)
Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy,  then Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs was in charge of the campaign at Nandyal.  He assigned me the job of Chairman, Reception Committee. For 20 days I was fully engaged with my headquarters at the prestigious Shobha Lodge, Nandyal. No other election in India would have attracted so many leaders and journalists. Congress leaders from all over the country and Journalists from across the Continents visited the constituency.  Food and accommodation were arranged for all of them.  As expected he won a landslide victory.
He not only managed a minority govt to run a full five-year term but wriggled it out of the financial crisis.  He made full use of the fall of Soviet Russia and the collapse of the Communist block.  He was loyal to the Nehru family. For some inexplicable reason, Rajiv Gandhi, after 1989 electoral reversed and kept him at arm’s length, ultimately denying him a ticket in the 1991 Midterm poll.
After Rajeev Gandhi’s assassination, the Commanderless Congress Party found an efficient alternative in PV Unfortunately, the coterie behind Sonia caused his disgraceful exit from politics after 1997.
Sonia and the Congress are reaping the harvest. It is high time Sonia and Coterie realise the blunder and seize the opportunity by celebrating PV’s Centenary.  That will help the Grand Old Party to extricate itself from the debris. PV might have been denied an honorable cremation.  But like Jesus Christ, he is resurrected. It is the price paid by the destiny for cool and composure practised by PV.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin.
 (*K.C.Kalkara,  Advocate,  President,  A.P.Library Association,  Vijayawada and Formerly,  President,  Town Congress Committee, Kurnool)