Andhra Bheeshma Nyapathy Subbarao Pantulu for whom journalism was a mission 06/12/2011

1ST.May, 2010 was a landmark in the recent history of   Rajamundry when more than 700  and odd citizens   including   both young  veterans from   legal,  medical  and journalistic  fraternity,   braved the sweltering heat to witness the unveiling  of the bronze statue  of Nyapathy Subba Rao Pantulu, who was considered the  uncrowned king of this cultural capital of Andhra. The  site where his statue majestically stands  is aptly  named as  ‘The Hindu Square.’ Subba Rao Pantulu,  a leading Advocate, freedom fighter  and social reformer  was  also  one  among six others who founded the Hindu, a National daily along with KasturiAiyangar  in the year 1878 to support the freedom movement and create awareness among  people.  This was at a time when the English Press  was almost exclusively   controlled by the British.

Historian S.Muthiah writes about the birth of the Hindu  when it celebrated  125  years in 2003:

‘Believe it or not, The Hindu was born in ire. Six angry young men, all barely out of their teens, felt the campaign waged by the Anglo-Indian Press—newspapers owned  and edited by the British—against the appointment of the first Indian,T.Muthuswami Aiyer, to the Bench of the High Court was blantantly unfair and should be forcefully rebutted. So they borrowed a rupee and twelve annas and founded The Hindu, printing 80 copies at Srinidhi Press in Mint street, Black town and promising every   Wednesday evening an eight-page paper, each a quarter of today’s page size, for four annas.’

Only Subba Rao Pantulu  continued to write for the paper for many years, till its Diamond jubilee  in 1938. In course of an article  in its Diamond jubilee number of The Hindu, He wrote (he was 82 at that time) :’As the sole survivor of  a band of  half a dozen young men who started the paper,  I rejoice that The Hindu has completed the Diamond jubilee of Sixty years. My friends who took part in starting the paper were Messrs. G.Subramania  Aiyer, M.Veeraraghavachari, T.T.Rangachari and D.Kesava Rao Pant who have not been spared to see the gloriuous position which the Hindu now occupies in the journalistic world. All of us were then members of the Triplicane Literary Society  just fresh from college, and were eager to start a weekly newspaper, with the ambition of rousing public opinion and guiding it, though without any capital whatever and without any thought whether we would be able to keep it up financially and otherwise and compete with the dailies ably conducted by Englishmen. At first for a few months, it appeared in cyclostyle as a Fortnightly. Due to the encouragement of friends, we converted it into a regular Weekly in September  1878. It was soon felt that it supplied a great want and was received favourably by the Public. Shortly after, I had to leave for Rajamundry, though I continued to support the paper.”

The Hindu published a marvelous and befitting  editorial on the life and times of Nyapathy Subba Rao Pantulu on January 7, 1941, following his demise.

Excerpts from  the editorial:

Mr.N.Subba Rao Pantulu escaped the fate of most public men who live to a great age and whose names become ‘A legend to the younger generation’ which is often a euphemistic way of saying it knows very little about them and cares less. His magnificent vitality held good to the last and this was fortunate  both for him and for the public. For he was the man who had the insatiable zest for life  and an inexhaustible capacity for well doing.

“At eighty five ’’he was as active as ever in promoting the progress of liberal Hinduism and in infusing into younger men his own quiet faith in constructive work in all spheres of National life.

His ripe wisdom and judgement at the service of all who sought his counsel, and his eager curiousity in regard to all matters that had a bearing on the people’s advancement kept him perpetually young. Himself a lover of the golden mean, he could understand and make allowances for the ardour of youth. Many and distinguished as were his services to the country in the legislature, in local self government and other spheres. The The Hindu, his death comes as a personal loss, he was one of the young men who founded this journal more than sixty years ago, and to the last he evinced a paternal interest in it.

n.meera raghavendra rao


2 thoughts on “Andhra Bheeshma Nyapathy Subbarao Pantulu for whom journalism was a mission 06/12/2011

    1. i don’t have a photograph of him but you can find a complete profile of him in my book ‘FEATURE WRITING’ second edition published by PHI,NEW DELHI .A photo of his statue in Rajamundry in the HINDU SQUARE is included in the writeup.

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