(Served the Institution from 1907-1922)
Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu Garu was a renowned educationist and stalwart freedom fighter in the time of Pre-Independent India. He actively participated in the Freedom movement by closely associating with Sri Lala Lajapathi Roy, Sri Bala Gangadhar Tilak and Sri Bipin Chandra Pal (Lal-Bal-Pal). He also led the Indian National Congress in Andhra Pradesh before Gandhian era. The conglomeration of his ideologies towards Swaraj and in response to the nation’s call to make India self-sufficient,he put forward a constructive work by bequeathing his family property for the establishment of “Andhra Jatheeya Kalasala” and the creation of a body that is to be known as Andhra Jatheeya Vidya Parishad, on 17th November, 1907. The Parishad itself was registered under the provisions of Act XXI of 1860 of the Acts of the Viceroy and Governor-General of India in Council, being an Act for the registration of Library, Scientific and Charitable Societies, on 19-6-1911.
The Kalasala itself was an offspring of the Vande Mataram Movement of 1906. Naturally the Non-Co-operation Movement launched by Gandhiji enthused the patriarch founder of the Kalasala. The triple boycott, namely, of colleges, courts and councils, being a part of the programme of Gandhiji, the National College did not allow its students to take part in Public Examinitations of the Government. Yet, students where taught arts, literature, science, music, paintings, handicrafts like carpentry, mouldings, smithy, and civil engineering, besides dyeing, spinning and weaving of cloth and carpets and kalamkari printing on cloth, all of which are more or less on the lines of vocational training as it is now understood. The pupils were given physical training and were encouraged to wrestle, swim and so on. Anniversary Celebrations of the Kalasala were celebrated and outstanding personages addressed the students inspiring young minds and kindling patriotic fervour and spirit of nationalism in them. Men of repute like Bipin Chandra Pal, Dr. Anne Besant, Anand C. Kumara Swamy, Sarojini Devi and Janes H. Cousins were among those that participated in such functions or otherwise contributed to the growth of this mighty institution. The Founder Principal, Sri Kopalle Hanumanta Row, was a stalwart in his days and devoted his all for the cause of national education through this college. He was a stern disciplinarian. All the same he was humane in his outlook and treatment.
The foundation stone for the construction of the Kalasala building was laid on March 25th 1909 in the 24.4 acres of land in Rajupeta, Masulipatnam. The institution was inaugurated by “Desabhaktha” Sri Konda Venkatappayya Panthulu garu on 27th March, 1910. In the process the founder has mentored many contemporary leaders like Sri Mutnuri Krishna Rao, Dr. B Pattabhi Sitaramayya who later helped in continuing the legacy of the institution further. Inspired with his commitment, dedication and patriotic fervour in the establishment of the Institution, lot of people contributed their mite. The Indian National Congress had also served its share and donated 27000/- in the year 1920-21. Dr. Anne Besant, inspired with the aims and objectives of the Institution, contributed a sum of Rs. 30000 for the institution and also established another educational Institution at Madanapally in 1916 which is still in existence.
In 1918, Dr. Annie Besant revisited the Kalasala and paid tribute by writing a few kind words in the Visitors’ book: “It seems to me that the Andhra Jatheeya Kalasala stands for that kind of education which I have been sketching. That is why I feel grateful to you who have thought me worthy to participate in your anniversary meeting. Nothing is more glorious than that there should be springing up in Indian schools where patriotism is the atmosphere and devotion to the Motherland is the ideal of service. I pray that the High Gods may bless the Kalasala and with that blessing it would become a centre of service to the Motherland.” The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi visited Machilipatnam twice, once April 1921 and then in December 1933. During his visit on April 3, 1921, he had cherished spending a couple of days at the Kalasala in the invaluable company of Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Row. A few lines he had written in the college visitors’ register, sharing his unforgettable experience. These words promise delivery of high standard education. A page of the visitors’ book of the college is one of the living memories available in Machilipatnam till date. His original message and his experiences with his signature are still kept for display for visitors at his memorial at the college entrance.
“I have passed two quiet and what shall always remain with me sacred days on the sacred grounds of this great educational institution. The expectation that I had formed of the institution, has been more than realized. I see method, organizing ability and sacrifice written on every inch of these grounds. As an Indian I feel proud of it. As the inhabitants of this great Andhra Province, I hope that all my Andhra friends are equally proud of it, and I hope that you citizens of Masulipatnam, consider it a privilege that you have an institution in your midst, which is manned by men, who are filled with the spirit of sacrifice. I ask you therefore to make this institution your own, strengthen it where you may find it to be weak, strengthen it further, where you may find that there is strength in it. Look up to it as an ideal and try to perfect it in order to perfect your own ideals.” The Kalasala had seen growth in 1920s with a collection of one lakh rupees called “Sri Hanumantharaya Nidhi” to commemorate the matchless services of the Founder Principal. An Arts section was opened with an Art Museum annexure to the Arts section. Here are the kind words spoken by Dr. James H Cousins on the occasion of the inauguration of the Arts Section.
“Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao was greatly interested in the idea of resuscitating the traditional art of the country. Today his spirit must be happy that at least a definite step has been taken to add the technical education, imparted here, this element of true Indian art. I am looking forward to the future when Masulipatnam will have made a notable contribution to the great Renaissance that we witness around us.”
Attention was made to the cosmopolitan hostel with a view to eradicate untouchability in the college campus. The Kalasala workshop came under the Factories Act in the year 1927. The move to get Kalasala affiliated to Andhra or Banaras University met with opposition once in 1927 and again in 1928. In a year from the founding of the institution, Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu Garu collected a sum of Rs. 11,000. He toured widely in the circars, the ceded districts, and the city of Madras, interviewed leading men and received promises of help and their blessings for the institution. Collections were made from individuals and associations and no plausible source of funding was left untapped; no stone was left unturned. This shows the arduous efforts involved and performed in establishing a truly national institution.Under the inspiring stewardship of Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Row Panthulu Garu, the College grew into a model institution, and with his passing away in February 1922, a glorious chapter in its history came to a close.
Inspired by our beloved founder, Sri Mutnuri Krishna Rao Garu, Sri Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya Garu and others contributed a lot in developing and up bringing of the institution, by taking part in the governing of the notable Andhra Jatheeya Vidya Parishad. The Institution had a mixed personalities from all over India to impart education to the students. Notable patrons of the institution include:
Eminent Personalities associated with Kalasala include:
a.Sri Pingali Venkaiah, the designer of Indian National flag, was a follower of Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu Garu and served in the workshop as Diesel instructor
b.b. Sri Viswanadha Satyanarayana (a great poet and Gnanapeetha Awardee) is an Ex-Lecturer in the Kalasala.
c. ‘Andhra Ratna’ Sri Duggirala Gopala Krishnaiah of the Cherala-Perala Freedom Movement has served as a Principal of the Kalasala.
d. Sri Adivi Bapiraju, a renowned painter and writer has also served as a Principal of the Kalasala
e. Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy, Ex-Governer of UP was an Alumni of the Kalasala
f.Sri Surisetty Anjaneyulu, who designed the Seal & Emblem of Government of Andhra Pradesh, was an Alumni of the Institution.
g. World renowned Radiation Oncologist, Padma Sri, Sri Nori Dattatreyudu, pursued B.Sc., from the Andhra Jateeya Kalasala, between 1962 and 1965
It has always been known as the foremost educational institution in South India with varied and composite courses in literary, artistic, scientific, production and industrial arena. It is the pioneer organisation in Andhra which, in the days of National Movement and Andhra Renaissance, trained and produced national leaders and constructive workers. The institution has given to our country great scholars, poets, painters, sculptors and engineers. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the then Vice-President of India, rightly said “Though the outlook is Andhra, its appeal is universal. It is, therefore, a true example of National Integration.”
In spite of its truly non-political and non-communal character, the Kalasala for the very fact of it being a national institution was looked upon with disfavour by the Government. Particularly in times of political upheaval in the country it was shunned by the students and parents for whom the University degrees was a great attraction for jobs in Government service. Hence the Kalasala began to dwindle year after year in the 1930s.
In the nineteen forties Sri S.T.G. Varadachari, a celebrated Sanskrit scholar took over the institution as the Secretary of the Andhra Jatheeya Vidya Parishad from Dr. B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya and revived it to that day standards. The A.J. Kalasala was affiliated to Andhra University in 1949 and started functioning with Three years U.G. Courses. The College was raised to the First Grade in the year 1951 with affiliation in B.A. History and Economics, Telugu and Sanskrit Courses. In the next two or three years, affiliation in Inter Biology and Commerce Courses, B.A. Mathematics Course and the B.Com. Course was secured from the University. Further, the A.J.Kalasala Engineering workshop started functioning as Industrial School. The strength of the College grew from year to year and at the beginning of the academic year 1957-58 the strength stood at 960
In 1959, the Government of Andhra Pradesh granted permission to start Oriental High School in the Parishad with a branch at Ramanayudupet. The special feature of the Oriental School being a pronounced bias for the study of Sanskrit.
In August 1961, the institution was privileged to celebrate its ‘Golden Jubilee’ year. The function was celebrated with lot of gaiety and enthusiasm. The celebrations were presided by Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Garu, the then Vice- President of India. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India, also wished success to the Institution on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee. His message was,
“I am glad to learn that the Golden Jubilee of the Andhra Jateeya Kalasala will be celebrated shortly. I send my best wishes for the Kalasala.”
Sri. C P Ramaswami Aiyar who was closely associated with the founder principal Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu garu, sent a message on the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Kalasala. He was the earliest Patron associated with this institution. His kind words about the Kalasala:
“As one closely associated with the Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao and Sri B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, I have followed the work of the Kalasala with keen interest and on this happy occasion send my best wishes and congratulations. The Kalasala is a pioneer in many directions and has been a real nationalising institution.”
C Rajagopalachari also responded sending his best wishes in the context of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Kalasala. His message said,
“The Andhra Jatheeya Kalasala of Masulipatnam is a venerable old institution. This work has been taken up and is being done by many younger institutions also. But our reverence is due to this Mother of Andhra institutions.”
The services rendered by the founder and his associates will always leave a memorable space in the hearts millions of people. The indefinite effort of preserving the Indian culture of art and living which were the moral basis of the Kalasala are maintained. We all are truly blessed to have a glorious Institution in our province.
Associate of Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu Garu in the formation of Andhra Jatheeya Vidya Parishad
Associate of Sri Kopalle Hanumantha Rao Panthulu Garu in the formation of Andhra Jatheeya Vidya Parishad