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Kaloji, who left an indelible mark on Telugu literature

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Warangal Urban: An indomitable personality, Raghuveer Narayan Lakshmikanth Srinivasarao Rajaram, popularly known as Kaloji or Kaloji Narayana Rao, made an indelible mark on Telugu literature, particularly in Telangana dialect, with his unique style which earned him the title ‘Praja Kavi’ (people’s poet).

Born on September 9, 1914, at Rattihalli village in Bijapur district of Karnataka at his maternal grandparents’ home and raised at Madikonda village near Warangal, Kaloji advocated the Telangana dialect and made writings in the language that can be understood easily to everyone.

Noted poet and Virasam leader P Varavara Rao said, “Kaloji is a true people’s poet. Though popular Hindi poet Nagarjun is known as people’s poet (Lokshahir), I consider Kaloji above Nagarjun.”

Speaking at a birth anniversary function in Warangal, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao called Kaloji a universal poet (Vishwa Kavi). Kaloji, who loved Telugu a lot, censured those who spoke in other languages instead of their mother tongue Telugu (Anyabashala nerchi arndhrambu radhantu sakilinchu andruda chavavendukura).

Kaloji also actively participated in the Telangana movement and known for his contributions in the social and literary fields. His writings are very varied, which include ‘Na Godava’, a collection of his poems in eight volumes, stories and translations. Great Telugu poet Sri Dasaradhi called it “a commentary on contemporary history”.

He also wrote extensively in Marathi, English, Urdu and Hindi and also translated many literary works from other languages into Telugu. He was conferred Padma Vibhushan, the second highest award given by the Government of India, for his excellent service in the literary and social fields.

Former associate professor of Kakatiya University, English Department, K Damodar Rao, terms Kaloji as a rebel, a rishi, an activist, an orator, a commentator, a chronicler and a conversationalist. Noted film director B Narasinga Rao described Kaloji as a prophet. The State government was constructing a mega auditorium in Warangal city in memory of Kaloji and it also named a health university after him.

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