Nizamabad Jail Remembers Dasarathi, The Revolutionary Poet
Nizamabad: ‘Naa Telangana Koti Ratanaala Veena’ (My Telangana is like the Veena decked with one crore diamonds) is a stanza from a poem written by revolutionary Dasarathi Krishnmacharyulu, who inspired the first and second phase of the separate Telangana state movement.
The poem was conceived and written in the barracks of the historical Nizamabad jail in 1947. Dasarathi was a political prisoner at that time.
Ahead of the centenary celebrations of Dasarathi Krishnamacharyulu, the historical Nizamabad jail (fort) deserves special attention.
Dasarathi was born on July 22, 1925 in Chinna Gudur village in the present-day Maripeda mandal of Mahabubabad district. An orthodox but discreet Vaishnava Bhakta, he was an erudite scholar of Indian Puranas, with a fine grip on Telugu, Sanskrit and Tamil languages.
He matriculated from the Khammam Government High School but gave up higher education to join the movement against the autocratic Nizam rule in the then Hyderabad kingdom. He began writing poems at a very young age while as a student. The poems were revolutionary in their spirit. The plight of the downtrodden, poor, exploited workers formed his subject matter.
Dasarathi strongly believed that the capitalist, feudalist and autocratic society under Nizam’s rule would give way to democracy and equality.
After Independence in 1947, many princely states and independent kingdoms joined the newly formed Indian Union. However, Hyderabad state under the rule of Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan chose to maintain its independent identity. He failed to control the atrocities committed by the Razakars.
At this juncture, the state Congress led by Swamy Ramananda Teertha called for a movement against the Nizam’s rule. Thousands of people responded to this call, participated in Satyagraha (civil disobedience) and went to jail.
Dasarathi was arrested in 1947 and sent to Warangal central jail along with many other leaders who later gained national prominence.
Dasarathi was later shifted to Nizamabad central jail. While in jail, he wrote poems criticial of the Nizam government. The poem, “Oo Nizam Pishachama, Kaanaraadu Ninnu Bolina Raju Makennadeni, Teegelanu Tempi Agni loo Dimpinaavu. Naa Telangana Koti Ratanaala Veena” become popular in those days and inspired the people a lot.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, historian Kandakurthi Anand said Dasarathi along with other political prisoners were kept in Nizamabad jail from August 10, 1947 to September, 1948. Dasarathi scribbled his poems with coal on the jail walls.
To identify who wrote the poetry, the jail authorities pushed two jailed criminals into the barracks of political prisoners to attack them. This turned sensational and this was one reason why the central government expedited its action against the Nizam government and annexed Hyderabad.
A-1000-year-old Nizamabad fort had been used as a jail during the Nizam government. The jail continued till 2009 in the Quilla (fort) and later it was shifted to a new building in Sarangapur. But, the renovation of the jail premises and Barrack 8, where Dasarathi was imprisoned, did not happen. The photos and poetry boards set up in the jail were damaged. After the formation of Telangana state, new-age leaders promised to renovate the historical jail, but this is yet to happen.
Ahead of the centenary celebrations of Dasharathi, BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha sanctioned â‚¹40 lakh for renovation of the jail premises.
The Bharat Jagruthi organisation is planning to take out a rally of poets and writers on the birth anniversary of Dasarathi on July 22, seeking that due respect should be accorded to him. Dasarathi had penned 2000 songs for Telugu movies and was honoured with Kala Prapurna title by Andhra University. He was appointed as Asthana Kavi but the united Andhra Pradesh government in 1977.
Dasarthi Krishnamacharyuly died on November 5, 1987.