Gurajada Apparao

Gurajada Apparao Biography

Posted by | Vishnu Das on | November 30, 2023

Date of Birth

21 / September / 1862


162 Years



Gurajada Venkata Apparao (1862-1915) was a distinguished Telugu poet and writer hailing from Andhra Pradesh, India. His literary legacy is deeply rooted in the Telugu language, and he is celebrated for his monumental work, the play “Kanyasulkam,” penned in 1892, which is revered as one of the greatest literary creations in Telugu literature. Beyond his role as a prolific writer, Gurajada Apparao was a trailblazing social reformer of his era, earning him the accolade of “Mahakavi,” signifying “the great poet.”

Gurajada Apparao Biography Age, Family, Career and More

His contributions to Indian theatre were groundbreaking, and he held esteemed titles such as “Kavisekhara” and “Abyudaya Kavitha Pithamahudu.”Gurajada Venkata Apparao was not confined to a single genre, as he frequently ventured into the realm of poetry. He is credited with pioneering a distinct style of poetry in the Telugu language that left an indelible mark on the literary landscape. In 1897, “Kanyasulkam” was published by Vavilla Ramaswamy Sastrulu and Sons in Madras, and it was dedicated to Maharaja Ananda Gajapati. His educational journey took him to Maharaja’s College (MR COLLEGE) in Vizianagaram, often referred to as VIDYANAGARAM of ANDHRA, where he meticulously crafted some of his most magnificent and enduring literary works. Apparao, in collaboration with his brother Syamala Rao, also ventured into English poetry. His poem “Desamante Mattikadoy – Desamante Manushuloy” has resonated deeply with every Telugu individual, regardless of their literacy level. The profound impact of Gurajada’s poetry extended far and wide. The editor of the Calcutta-based “Rees and Ryot,” Sambhu Chandra Mukherji, was so moved by his work that he republished it in his magazine. Gurajada’s poetry was characterized by its simplicity and clarity, which made it accessible to a wide audience. His verses possessed a unique vibrancy and were like crystal-clear streams of thought.

Early life and education

Gurajada Venkata Apparao, a luminary of his time, was born into a Niyogi Brahmin family on the 21st of September, 1862. His birth took place at the residence of his maternal uncle, located in the picturesque Rayavaram village, near Yelamanchili, in the Anakapalli district. His esteemed parents, Venkata Rama Dasu and Kausalyamma, hailed from a Niyogi Telugu Brahmin lineage, firmly rooted in tradition and culture. The backdrop of Gurajada’s life predominantly unfolded in and around Vizianagaram, which was known as Kalinga Rajyam during his era. He shared his upbringing with a younger brother named Syamala Rao. Gurajada’s initial tryst with education commenced in Cheepurupalli while his father was engaged in employment there. Interestingly, the roots of Gurajada’s ancestors can be traced back to the Kalinga region, where they migrated from Gurazada village in the Krishna district. Following the passing of his father, Gurajada continued his education in Vizianagaram. He displayed remarkable prowess in his studies, particularly in Sanskrit. In 1882, he successfully completed his matriculation, and in 1884, he attained the esteemed distinction of obtaining an F.A. (First Arts) degree.

1908 Congress session at Madras

Gurajada Venkata Apparao, a luminary of his time, was born into a Niyogi Brahmin family on the 21st of September, 1862. His birth took place at the residence of his maternal uncle, located in the picturesque Rayavaram village, near Yelamanchili, in the Anakapalli district. His esteemed parents, Venkata Rama Dasu and Kausalyamma, hailed from a Niyogi Telugu Brahmin lineage, firmly rooted in tradition and culture.


Over the course of the preceding decade, Gurajada Appa Rao, in collaboration with his brother Syamala Rao, had been diligently crafting a collection of English poems. This creative endeavor reflected their literary aspirations and their desire to express themselves in a language that transcended linguistic boundaries. In the subsequent year, Gurajada received a notable invitation that marked a significant milestone in his literary journey. He was invited to participate in a meeting of the Bangeeya Sahitya Parishat, also known as the Bengal Literary Association, held in the vibrant city of Calcutta. At this gathering, Gurajada’s work, “Sarangadhara,” which had been published in the esteemed periodical “Indian Leisure Hour,” garnered considerable acclaim and recognition. However, Gurajada’s most celebrated literary contribution was yet to come.

His magnum opus, “Kanyasulkam,” is a poignant exploration of the deplorable condition of widows within traditional Brahmin families in the Andhra region of India during the 19th century. Notably, “Kanyasulkam” stands out as the first Telugu drama to be expressly written in the spoken dialect, a pioneering feat in Telugu literature. The play transcends the realms of entertainment and delves into thought-provoking social issues that were highly relevant to the era in which it was penned. Before “Kanyasulkam,” there had been occasional instances of spoken dialect usage in certain parts of Telugu dramas. Veeresalimgam Pantulu, for instance, had incorporated some spoken dialect content in his works, most notably in “Brahma vivahamu.” However, “Kanyasulkam” marked a watershed moment as it seamlessly blended the spoken dialect with the dramatic narrative, achieving both linguistic authenticity and societal relevance.

Personal life

In the year 1885, Gurajada Venkata Apparao embarked on a new chapter in his personal life by entering into the sacred institution of marriage. He wed Appala Narasamma, marking the beginning of a shared journey filled with mutual support and companionship. Even as he embraced married life, Gurajada’s passion for learning remained undiminished. In 1886, he achieved another milestone by graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Sanskrit. His commitment to education and his multifaceted talents were becoming increasingly evident. During a period in 1886, Gurajada briefly served as the Head Clerk in the Deputy Collector’s office, gaining valuable administrative experience. However, his heart remained firmly rooted in the world of academia and literature. On the auspicious occasion of Vijayadasami in 1887, Gurajada commenced a new chapter in his career by assuming the role of Lecturer (Level IV) at M.R. College. This appointment came with a monthly salary of Rs. 100, reflecting his dedication and expertise in the field of education.


In 1913, Gurajada Venkata Apparao made the decision to retire, concluding his illustrious career with a well-earned pension of Rs. 140. His retirement marked the culmination of a lifetime dedicated to education, literature, and societal reform.


Other literature works

  • The Cook (N/A. An English Poem -1882)
  • Sarangadhara (In English, a long poem, (padya kavyam) -1883. {Refer to a letter addressed by the Editor of Reis and Rayyet, to Gundukurti Venkataramanaiah, dated:14-8-1883)
  • Chandrahasa (N/A. An English long poem, padya kavyam – Authorship and Date uncertain)
  • Victoria Prasasti (English poems in praise of Queen Victoria presented to the then Viceroy of India by Maharani of Reeva -1890)
  • KanyaSulkamu (Drama, First Ed. -1892, Completely revised second Ed. -1909)
  • Review and Introduction in English to Sree Rama Vijayam and jArji dEva caritaM (both Sanskrit works -1894)
  • Edited (1890s) “The Wars of Rajas, Being the History of Hande Anantapuram, Thathacharyula kathalu,” both originally collected by C.P. Brown. These works were published after Gurajada’s death.
  • Review and introduction in English to Harischandra (An English Drama -1897)
  • Minugurlu (children’s story, perhaps the first in a modern style -1903?)
  • Kondubhatteeyam (Unfinished humorous drama -1906)
  • Neelagiri patalu (Songs describing the beauty of Nilagiri hills where Gurajada recuperated from an illness -1907)
  • Gurajada Venkata Apparao, in his article titled “Madras Congress,” published in The Hindu, offered a critical perspective on the proceedings of the 1908 Congress Party Annual Session held in Madras. In his analysis, Gurajada scrutinized the perceived shortcomings within the Congress Party, highlighting issues related to focus, integrity, and the lack of a strong resolve to confront British colonial rule.
  • “Canna kalapu cinna buddhulu,” an essay denouncing the superstitions associated with the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1910.
  • In 1910, Gurajada Venkata Apparao made significant contributions to Telugu literature through his poetic works “Mutyala Saralu” and “Kasulu.” What set these poems apart was Gurajada’s use of his unique meter, known as “matra Chandassu,” which added a distinctive and innovative touch to his verses.
  • Bilhaneeyam (Unfinished drama, Act I -1910, Act II -1911)
  • Lavanaraju kala (Poem -1911)
  • Kanyaka (Poem -1912)
  • Subhadra (Poem -1913)
  • Visvavidyalayalu: Sanskrit, matru Bhashalu (Report submitted to Madras University -1914)
  • Asammati patram (Minute of Dissent -report against the decision of Madras University to retain classical language as the platform for curriculum development -1914)
  • Dimcu langaru (Poem -1914)
  • Langarettumu (Poem -1915)
  • “Sree gurajada appa ravu gari Daireelu,” Collected dairies of Gurajada published many decades after Gurajada’s death. Editor: Burra Seshagiri Rao
  • The comprehensive collection of Gurajada’s literary works, titled ‘Gurujadalu,’ was compiled and edited by Sri Pennepalli Gopalakrishna, Dr. Kalidasu Purushotham, and Sri Mannem Rayudu. This anthology was published by the MANASU Foundation, based in Hyderabad, and was first released on September 21, 2012.
  • “Subject For An Extravaganza” is an English poem authored by Gurajada Venkata Apparao. This poem was published in the ‘Vijaya’ magazine, which was edited and published by Ramadasu Pantulu, around the year 1940. Gurajada’s foray into English poetry showcased his versatility as a writer, allowing him to reach a wider audience with his literary talents.


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Body Measurements N/A
Birth Place Visakhapatnam, India
Children 2
Eye Color Black
Hair Color Black
Height In CM 173 CM
Height In Meter 1.73 M
Nationality Indian
Parents Father: Venkata Rama Dasu Mother: Kausalyamma
Profession Poet
Siblings Brother: Syamala Rao
Spous Appala Narasamma
Weight 50 kg
Zodiac Sign


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