Running towards 100th year
There is a proverb ‘old is gold’. In this article, I am presenting a case of a ‘young person’ who is 99 years of age and all his relatives of four generations celebrated his birthday on 22 December 2021 at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Sri 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.
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 degree in education (B.Ed.).By virtue of completing his master 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 metres 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 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 metres) 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 honour 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 Naidu.
For the benefit of readers, the poem is placed here.
“My heart swells up when I behold
A women 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. But all of his family members have been taking care of him so he never felt lonely. 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 from time to time.
All of his relatives always have been feeling that he is a great asset to their family members and to the society and also his case is a lesson to the people of our country who feel parents are a burden when they become senior citizens and leave them or send them to old age home.
(The author is a former Professor & Head (CPME), NIRD & PR (Govt. of India), Hyderabad)
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