Remembering Aluru Venkata Rao - Kannada Rajyothsava special

Kannada Rajyothsava is a day of celebration and pride for the people of Karnataka. It marks the formation of the state on November 1, 1956, when all the Kannada-speaking regions of South India were merged into one entity. On this occasion, we  share a story of one of the pioneers of the Kannada unification movement, Aluru Venkata Rao.

Aluru Venkata Rao was born on July 18, 1880, in Kolar district. He was a scholar, writer, historian, and freedom fighter. He was deeply influenced by the ideals of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Sri Aurobindo. He joined the Indian National Congress and participated in the freedom struggle. He also founded the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat, a literary organization that promoted Kannada literature and culture.

But his most lasting contribution was his vision of a united Karnataka. He wrote a book called Karnataka Gatha Vaibhava in 1909, which narrated the glorious history and culture of the Kannada land and people. He also coined the term Karnatakatva, meaning the essence of being a Kannadiga. He appealed to the people to rise above their regional and caste differences and unite under one flag and one language.

He traveled across the Kannada-speaking regions and organized public meetings, rallies, and conferences to spread his message. He also formed the Karnataka Ekikarana Samiti, a committee that campaigned for the unification of Karnataka. He faced many challenges and opposition from the British government, the Nizam of Hyderabad, and some local leaders who feared losing their power and influence. But he did not give up his dream.

Remembering Aluru Venkata Rao - Kannada Rajothsava special


Finally, his efforts bore fruit when the States Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956, which reorganized the Indian states on linguistic basis. On November 1, 1956, the new state of Mysore (later renamed as Karnataka in 1973) was formed by merging the Kannada-speaking areas of Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency, Hyderabad State, and Coorg. Aluru Venkata Rao was honored as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the state.

Aluru Venkata Rao passed away on February 25, 1964, at the age of 83. He is remembered as the Karnataka Kulapurohita, meaning the chief priest of Karnataka. His statue stands at the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature. His book Karnataka Gatha Vaibhava is considered as a sacred text by many Kannadigas. His life and work inspire millions of people to cherish their language and culture.