Born on May 28, 1896, Suravaram Pratapa Reddy was an eminent social historian who dedicated his life for the development and advancement of Telangana Region and Literature. His early life began in Boravelli village where he was born. His parents Rangamma and Narayanareddy belonged to Itikalapadu of the Mahabubnagar district.
Suravaram did his higher education in Nizam College of Hyderabad. Later he began his career as a lawyer having completed his BA and BL degrees from the portals of the Presidency College, Madras (the present day Chennai). However, the rampant illiteracy among the Telugu speaking people distressed him. His angst was further aggravated when he witnessed the gradual degradation of the Telugu language caused by the hegemony of the Urdu speaking elite. He realized the need to use his knowledge to help his mother tongue move out of this ignominy.
Suravaram’s portfolio is abundant with literary works that upholds the sanctity and purity of the Telangana Telugu language. His first endeavor to awaken a pride amongst the Telugu speaking people of Telangana for their language and history was through the publication of the Golconda Patrika in 1926. The journal was published twice a week and strived to reinstate the popularity of the Telugu language. It was also intended to help in the development the Telangana Telugu people irrespective of tribe or caste. Several articles published in the Golconda Patrika were republished in other noted journals like Shobha, Sujata and Bharti thus ensuring a wider reach and helping spread the greater cause.
During that time, there were no proof readers, sub editors, editors, etc. in Telugu language. He alone did everything – writing content, proof reading, editor work, designing, etc. He used different names like Bhava Kavi, Cithra Gupta, Verri Vengalappa, etc. for different kinds of articles in his publications. In the spam of 10 years, he wrote close to 1500 articles in Telangana’s first press media ‘Golconda Pratika’.
Suravaram was a scholar in four languages namely, Sanskrit, Telugu, Urdu and English. However, his love for Telugu and Telangana led him to publish works primarily in that language. The Andhrula Saanghika Charitra, the social history of the Andhras was first published in 1949. It highlights the rich history and culture of the Telangana people, the origin of the various castes living within the Telangana community and their subsequent intermingling which has led to the evolvement of the rich Telugu culture.
The Andhrula Saanghika Charitra earned Suvravaram the Kendra Sahitya Academy Puraskaram (national book award). The popularity and relevance of the book in understanding the Telugu history and culture were profound. It has been republished several times and has also been translated into Hindi by Yarlagadda Laxmi Prasad.
From 1970 onwards this became the official textbook for the Andhra Pradesh Civil Services Commission as well as for the Indian Administrative Services and the Indian Police Services.
Suravaram Pratapa Reddy’s most celebrated attempt at reinstating the glory of the rich Telanagan Telugu literature was the publication of Golconda Kavulu Sanchika. An Andhra poet Venkata Raghavachaaryulu criticized that there are no poets in Telangana region and these words made Suravaram very angry. He did a great research on finding all the poets from different villages of Telangana and made them write poems. With more than 350 poets contributions and compilations, he published the book ‘Golconda Kavula Sanchika’ in the year 1936 and is considered a milestone in establishing the richness and versatility of Telangana Telugu literature. In this process, Suravaram also brought many Telangana poets to limelight and published their great work in his publications also.
Some of his other works include Nizamrashtra Palanam, Mogalayi kathalu, Sanghoddharana, Ucchala Vishadamu, Grandhalayamu, Hinduvula Pandugalu, Haindava Dharmaveerulu, Yuvajana Vignyanam. All through his life he wrote close to 40 books, several articles based on research, novels, poems and literary criticisms. It is through each of these that Pratap Reddy’s passion for research and his love for cultural and literary study are best reflected.
Writer, poet, novelist, literary critic, social historian Suvravaram Pratap Reddy found various channels by which he could uplift the fast decaying Telangana population. His passion for his roots made him realize the need to keep nurturing them in order to foster the right environment for the proper growth and development of the future generation. He realized the deep peril of the Telugu speaking population owing to the increasing dominance of the Urdu language and worked towards addressing that need. He also started ‘Andhrajana Sangam’ organization in the year 1921.
Suravaram Pratapa reddy got elected to Hyderabad Assembly from Vanaparthi constituency of Mahabubnagar district in the year 1952. Suravaram Pratapa Reddy died on 25-Aug-1953 leaving behind a generation of conscious and proud Telanganas who are carrying forward his legacy with the same momentum. There is a statue of Suravam Pratapa Reddy on Tank Bund, Secunderabad for his contribution to literature. In Jan 2012, Suravam statue is unveiled in Mahabubnagar town. Many Andhra poets’ birthdays were celebrated in the united AP State but never gave any importance to this great literature figure of Telangana.
Suravam was the first person to raise his voice for self-respect. He is the one who started press in Telangana region. His service and dedication to Telangana literature for 4 decades cannot be described in words. He treated Culture as body where language is our breathe. Telangana is certainly missing the great giant of Telangana Literature.