I would like to start off by saying that I am not the best person to be introducing Radio Annaya. I do share the same name but apart from that have very little experiences to share with. He was my grandfather's younger brother. I grew up in New Delhi and visited Hyderabad very rarely during my school years. He used to visit us occasionally whenever he had meetings there. I remember he always had a smile on his face and had a ready sense of humor. On one occasion, he landed in our house with very high fever and was very weak and could barely sit up. When my mom went to light the stove to warm up milk, he said with a poker face, "You can heat up the milk on my cheeks. It is warm enough".
Anyone who grew up in Andhra Pradesh during the 60s through the 70s would know about Radio Annayya and Radio Akkayya. I am told they were highly simple people and did not really have a lot of money. People who I met in the USA and back in India have told me that they grew up listening to him and were inspired by him. I hope that these same people will get to read this and recollect some of their experiences. I am sure they will also appreciate the efforts being made back in Hyderabad to continue the activities started by Radio Annayya and Radio Akkayya. I know there are quite a few people here in the USA that does stellar service by teaching our children about Telugu culture and tradition. There are organizations like TLCA all over the USA that provide ample encouragement and opportunity to children to show off their talents and knowledge in our arts. In a way, I am sure many will agree that they are carrying on the work started by Radio Annayya and Radio Akkayya.
What made me think of writing this? The credit goes to Mr. Sreenadh Jonnavithula, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable editor of this magazine. He had approached me a couple of times to give him some input on Radio Annaya's works. I was initially very hesitant to take it up. However, Mr.Sreenadh persisted and I did get down to tracking the people concerned. I literally pestered my brother and sister back in Hyderabad to get me some information and they managed to get in touch with our cousin, Mrs.Kameshwari. I had lost touch with her and getting back in contact has been a very pleasant experience. She has taken on the humongous task of keeping Radio Annayya's legacy alive and continuing his good work with the rest of the crew in Andhra Balananda Sangham. The following pictures and articles have been provided by her. I have to thank her for being so prompt and co-operative. Acknowledgements are also due to Mr. G.L.Narasimham who put together a very elaborate biography and was very kind to allow me to edit it.
The pages that follow contain biographies of Radio Annayya and Radio Akkayya, then details of the Celebrations of the Centenary year and finally an invitation to the ex-members of the association from Andhra Balananda Sangham. These are the edited versions for lack of space. If anyone is interested in reading the complete versions, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sri Nyayapathi Raghava Rao was born on April 13th, 1905. He is popularly known as "Radio Annayya" and is a household name in Andhra Pradesh. He, along with his wife Smt.Kameswari, are considered to be the "pioneers" in the field of developing children's overall personality.
He realized that children grew up to be better, responsible and more successful citizens if they enhance their overall personality by developing their latent talents in various cultural fields in a stress free atmosphere.
His theory is proved right when we see the number of people who are successful in their own chosen fields that were groomed by him. Sri Bapu (the cine director, artist), Sri Mullapudi Venkataramana (writer), Sri Mohan Kanda (Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh), Smt.P.Sushila (singer), Chittibabu (eminent veena artist) are just a few of the several other prominent Telugu personalities who have acknowledged his influence on their childhood.
Some of the achievements of Sri Nyayapathi Raghava Rao (Radio Annayya)
Smt. Nyayapathi Kameswari or "Radio Akkayya" as she was popularly known was born in Vizianagaram in 1908 in a family of learned scholars. She was the " first lady graduate from Maharaja College, Vizianagaram.
She became Joint Editor of "BALA" the First Children's magazine in Telugu (1945), and contributed many stories and skits for children. She produced Children's programs in Telugu (along with her husband Shri N.Raghava Rao) at the All India Radio, Madras (1939 to 1956). She also served as Assistant Producer, Women's Program since 1956 and retired from service in 1969. She co-founded Andhra Balananda Sangham (Childrens' Cultural and Recreational Centre) in 1940 at Madras and later at Hyderabad, 1958. She wrote many storybooks and play-lets for Tiny Tots for the Radio and the Journals.
She organized many Radio Mahila Mandals in the State, mostly in the rural areas. She also organized many Rural Welfare Centers in districts as Convenor; Welfare Extension Projects of State Social Welfare Advisory Board managed by Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sabha. She organized Holiday Homes for children at New Delhi (twice), Warangal, Srisailam and Kurnool. She was associated in the production of three short films for children directed by Sri K.S.Prakasa Rao at Madras. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honored her at the First All India Telugu Children Festival in 1974 and later at the World Telugu Conference in 1975. She worked hand-in-hand with her husband, Sri N. Raghava Rao, in all welfare activities for children.
ANNAYYAGARU'S BIRTH CENTENARY CELBRATIONS
Andhra Balananda Sangham launched the birth centenary year of Sri. Annayyagaru on April 13th, 2004. This article has been provided upon request to TLCA by Mrs.Kameshwari, Correspondent at Andhra Balananda Sangham, to make us aware of the activities that went on during the course of the year.
We have conducted competitions in singing Annayya's songs in August. 75 groups of children have participated in that event.
A two day Annayya's drama festival was held in September. 24 schools and other Balananda Sanghams have taken part. It was a really a nostalgic and thrilling experience for many ex-child members who have attended the festival.
In October, all the top cartoonists have got together and conducted a two day workshop on "How to draw cartoons". We thought this would be appropriate as "humour" was Annayya garu's strong point. More than 200 children have participated in this workshop.
We held competitions in almost 15 disciplines such as dance, music, slokas, neetipadyams, mono-action etc. for the children of twin cities from November to January.
In December we had a 7 day workshop for children in "Acting". Nearly 50 children have enrolled in the workshop. They had practical training in acting from top theatre personalities. At the end of the workshop, they performed Annayya's "Ashoka chakram" play for the invited audience.
Andhra Pradesh Book publishers have dedicated a day in their publishers meet to annayya garu. A big function was organised in Vijayawada to celebrate the centenary year in January. We also conducted a two day state level seminar for all the writers of children's literature. We were overwhelmed by the response. Many well known writers from all over the state have attended the seminar. All of them without exception have stated that it was Annayya and Akkayya who inspired them and encouraged them to become writers. Every one felt very emotional when recalling their association and experiences with them.
We are installing a 'BRONZE FRESCO" of Annayya and Akkayya in Balanandam Bhavan. The unveiling ceremony will be held on April 13th.
INVITATION TO PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS
To conclude the Year long celebrations of the Centenary year of Radio Annayya, we have decided to have a program on April 23rd, Saturday at Ravindra Bharathi.
We are releasing the following on that day.
The central Government has agreed to release "First Day Cover" in his honour on that day.
A photo exhibition is being organised and we are sure many of you would enjoy seeing these rare photographs. In fact, most of you are there in them too.
There will be a LCD presentation of selected photos and clippings from the movies in which Annayya garu acted.
And of course there will be a short cultural programme by the children of Balanandam.
Annayya and Akkayya were a part of our childhood. While many have only heard or seen them from a distance, we were all fortunate to interact with them on a daily basis. They were one of the most important people who were instrumental in developing our over all personality. Besides every thing we have had a wonderful childhood and carry those pleasant memories even today.
WE ARE CORDIALLY INVITING YOU TO ATTEND THE FUNCTION AND MAKE IT A GRAND SUCCESS.
This would be a great opportunity to meet with all your old friends and renew your friendship.
We are aware of your busy schedules. But still it would be great to forget who we are now for a couple of days, turn the time machine back, recall and share childhood memories with each other and enjoy once again like young kids.
We are also organizing a get together of all old members on 22nd evening at Balanandam Bhavan where you can meet all your friends and spend an exciting evening.
So please make an effort to be here on those two days i.e. 22nd and 23rd of April.
Your presence and participation will be the highlight of this celebration and add colour to the festivities. It would also give us a satisfaction that we have done some thing worth while by bringing every one together to pay tributes to this great couple.
We are all very excited about the celebrations as it will be a great get together.
WE ARE SURE THAT THE 'SOULS' OF ANNAYYA AND AKKAYYA WILL BE WITH US ON THAT DAY AND BLESS US ALL.
With Best Regards,
Malapaka Purnachander Rao Secretary