(Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad)
This story is about a young Telugu person of around 100 years in age. CBS Raju full name is
Chodimella Ventaka Sanyasi Raju was born at Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh on 24
December 1922. So Next year on 24 December he will complete a hundred years of age at the
blessing of Almighty God.
His primary education and secondary education were in Vizianagaram and in Vizag/
Visakhapatnam. He completed a Master degree in English literature from Oxford University
London during the period of 1947 – 48 covering pre-independence and post-independence of
India. Also, he has completed his bachelor’s degree in education (B.Ed.).By virtue
of completing his master’s degree in English literature from Oxford University, he was
associated as a member of the Royal Society of Teachers, London.
He worked in various capacities in government departments and also abroad. For four years
he worked as a teaching professional in a college in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
He was a good sportsperson in school and college days. He was first in the 100 meters sprint
many times. Also, he won district championships in table tennis, badminton, and lawn tennis.
In addition, there is a sport called ball-badminton and as captain of his team at all India level
won eight times.
A few lines about the ball- badminton may be mentioned here (source:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_badminton) “ball badminton is a sport native to India. It is a
racket game, played with a yellow ball made of wool, on a court of fixed dimensions (12 by
24 meters) divided by a net. The game was played as early as 1856 by the royal family in
Tanjore, the capital of Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu”.
Raju garu participated during the freedom movement also. Against British rule he organised
rallies three times in Visakhapatnam. In 1942 when Quit India movement was at its peak he
participated and along with 20 other students and all were arrested.
During the Congress Session in 1936 which was held at Visakhapatnam he wrote a poem in
honor of Sarojini Naidu. And on the stage read the poem for which he had to take
permission from Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and finally from Sarojini
For the benefit of readers, the poem is placed here.
“My heart swells up when I behold
A woman worshipped by the whole world
Proud daughter of India
How to praise you
I have no idea”
According to Raju Garu after listening to the poem Sarojini Naidu garlanded him.
Wishing him a long and healthy life so that we can celebrate his hundred years next year on
24 December also my prayer to Almighty God to give him more and more age so that not
only his next many generations can see him but we can also get his blessings.
I have the opportunity to interact with him on 16 August 2021 in Hyderabad. I was
astonished as his memory is still very sharp. Many incidents which took place 80/85 years
ago he narrated to me. Also, I was charmed to observe his smiling face. In addition to Telugu,
he is fluent in English.
His marriage took place in 1948 but unfortunately in September 1977, his wife passed away
by leaving him and three daughters and three sons. All of them are married and well-settled
in life and now Raju Garu enjoys his life with grandchildren and great-grandchildren by
staying at their places. (Author is former Professor & Head (CPME), NIRD & PR)