Mahakavi Gurajada Apparao (September 21, 1862 – November 30, 1915) , also known by the titles Kavishekara and Abyudaya kavitha pithamahudu was a Telugu poet and writer of Andhra Pradesh. He was fondly called Gurazada. He was also an influential social reformer. He was the first Telugu writer who is known to incorporate different dialects of spoken language to Telugu literature. He frequently dabbled in poetry, thus creating a new poetic style. His first Telugu play, Kanyasulkam is considered to be the greatest play in the Telugu language. He was also given the title, Mahakavi (Great poet). The great Telugu patriotic song Desamunu Preminchumanna was written by Apparao. He had a close relationship with Maharajah Pusapati Ananda Gajapati Raju who encouraged arts and education in his princely state.
Based on Gurajada’s horoscope, two birthdates of Apparao are considered – Nov.30, 1861 and Sept. 21, 1862, though his descendants prefer the second date. He was born in Rayavaram village near Yelamanchili of Visakhapatnam district. He was born in a Telugu Brahmin family to Venkata Rama Dasu and Kausalyamma. His childhood and adulthood were spent in Vizianagaram and nearby locations. He lost his father during his school days and hence led a poor life. He was generously taken care of by the then M.R. College Principal, C. Chandrasekhara Sastri who provided him free boarding. He completed his metriculation in 1882 and obtained F.A. in 1884. He started his career as a teacher at M.R. High school.
In 1892, Gurajada’s celebrated drama “Kanyasulkam” was staged for the first time and became a huge hit very soon. It was the first Telugu drama expressly written in spoken dialect. “Prataparudreeyam,” is another experimental work. In 1896, Gurajada started a magazine, ‘Prakashika’. He has also served as as personal secretary and advisor to the Maharani of Reeva. Gurajada attended the 1908 Congress session at Chennai. A few of his literary works include – Visvavidyalayalu, Poornamma, Sarangadhara, Mutyala Saralu and Kasulu.
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