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