All you the Facts, History and other Details of Biruduraju Ramaraju, Rangareddy

Biruduraju Ramaraju was born on 16th April, 1925 in Devanoor village, Dharmasagar Mandal Hanamkonda district. And died on 8th February 2010, in Hyderabad.

He completed his primary school education at Devanoor and Madikonda. And for his higher education he had to travel 14 km to and from Hanamkonda. He completed his graduation from Nizam College, and then PhD in Telugu language and literature and folklore studies from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Biruduraju was the first Ph.D. scholar from Osmania University in folklore studies. And in 1995, the government of India declared and honored him with the distinction of a National research professor for his huge service and contributions to the literature. In 1951. Dr. C. Narayana Reddy and Rama Raju both were known as the duo of Rama Naryana poets.

As not many scholars could claim authority over the pan- Indian Sanskritic traditions and the local, folk tradition with equal knowledge and joy. This is the big accomplishment of Biruduraju Rama Raju. Then he came into the contact with leaders of the Arya Samaj, and Andhra Mahasabha in Warangal, and under their guidance, he was actively involved in politics for a short period of time.

Biruduraju Ramaraju

His first thesis was on folk literature in South India which was awarded a doctorate in 1956. He collected countless Sanskrit and Telugu Palm leaf manuscripts. Even in the collection some unpublished manuscripts were brought to light with explanations by him. In his incredible work, to the contribution of Telangana to Sanskrit Literature, he again recreated the literary history of Sanskrit and brought the focus to many neglected writers and their poetic works. The contribution of 34 unknown poets was recorded by him in his significant work, Charitrakekkani Charitatarthulu so far. He also wrote about 12 works consisting of legends of important places.

His doctoral thesis Janapada Geya Sahityamu, published in 1955 continues to be the Bible for all those interested in Telugu Folklore studies. A few years later he served as the Dean of Studies and Head of the same Telugu department, which had rejected his Ph.D. proposal previously.

Let’s dig into the history, Biruduraju Rama Raju was the eldest child in the house. As a young student of matriculation during the independence movement, he volunteered for Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Telangana in 1946, even though he was jailed for participating in the Satyagraha movement in 1947. But with the sudden death of his father in the same year, he got the entire responsibility of the family on his shoulders and lost his dream of studying in the London School of Economics for further studies. This incident urged him to complete his studies in his home state.

The First time he translated the works of famous writers like Sharat Chandra Chatterjee and Munshi Premchand into Telugu and introduced them to literature lovers. He lived and worked in the former Nizam state, Prof. Raju had a mastery of Urdu. He showed his interest by publishing a book Murarram folk songs in Telugu and then became the first person to edit the first-ever Urdu-Telugu Dictionary. He was also interested in theatrical drama, so he played the lead role in Hamlet in 1957.

His long and close association with the strugglers from the Telangana region, revolutionary poets like Kaloji Narayan Rao, veteran dancers like Nataraja Ramakrishna and the former PM P.V. Narasimha Rao trails the history of the growth and development of Telugu Literature. You know, PV Narasimha Rao was a well-established littérateur before he got into active politics. Behind the successful Narasimha Rao, It was Prof. Raju who stood as a backbone to support him in all his literary matters but stayed far during his political career.

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Prof. Raju was fascinated by old manuscripts and this fascination for old palm leaf manuscripts started in 1953 when he saw a huge sack full of them lying unattended in the house of a priest who could not afford their maintenance. As soon he did an M.A. and got a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and published his thesis as a book titled ‘Contribution of Andhra’s to Sanskrit Literature’. This incredible work which have never been done before in Indian history at that time, introduced, for the first time, over 300 lesser-known scholars and poets from Telugu speaking states who have made an extreme contribution to Sanskrit literature. Prof. Raju collected over hundreds of rare manuscripts and donated them to libraries across the country.

The great A.K.Ramanujam, Javare Gowda and H.M.Nayak of Mysore, Shankar Sengupta of Calcutta, P.D. Goswami of Assam, and Pushkar Chandavarkar of Gujrat, Prof. Raju was instrumental in introducing folklore studies as a discipline in the universities of these parts of the country. He was even associated with over 50 universities from Kashmir to Kanyakumari where he traveled as a visiting professor.

On inquiry about the saints of the Andhra region, he was humiliated by the response saying Andhra Pradesh had no saints, or else someone would have surely written about them. This thing forced him to start another phenomenal project. He utilized whatever he received as the National Research Professor to compile half a dozen volumes on the ‘Saints of Andhra Pradesh’. This huge project was an incredible effort and has helped scores of research scholars and literary enthusiasts over the decades.

Among all the academic circles, he was known as the ‘Godfather of Telugu Folklore Studies’. He died peacefully at his home in Hyderabad on 8th February 2010. Having published over a hundred seminal research papers, forty books in over half a dozen languages, and edited many more titles, mentored his students who later become vice-chancellors of different universities. His massive collection of lakhs of rare books, manuscripts and research papers has been donated to the C P Brown Memorial Library.

All his lifetime work and contributions to literature and folklore studies remain unforgotten, but sadly, he did not live to see the birth of the new Telangana state. And the State forgot the contribution of this son of mother earth. Over time, now Prof. Raju is framed photograph in the corridors of Osmania University but he will be remembered as one of the founding father figures of post-independent India’s folklore academics. Most of Prof. Raju’s fellows are no more and the hard work they put in to bring about literary and cultural awareness had still faded out of public memory

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