"దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స" - తుళువ రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
"dESa bhAshalaMdu telugu lessa" - tuLuva rAju SrI kRshNadEvarAya
Telugu is the sweetest among all languages of the Land - Great Tuluva Emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya, 16th Century

తెలుగు మాట...తేనె ఊట
TELUGU...a language sweeter than honey

మంచిని పంచుదాము వడపోసిన తేనీటి రూపం లో
తేనెకన్న మంచిదని తెలుగును చాటుదాము వేనోల్ల
ఇదే నా ఆకాంక్ష, అందరి నుంచి కోరుకునె చిరు మాట

"TELUGU - Italian of the East" - Niccolo Da Conti, 15th Century


"సుందర తెలుంగిళ్ పాటిసైతు" - శ్రీ సుబ్రహ్మణ్య భారతి
"suMdara teluMgiL paaTisaitu" - SrI subrahmaNya bhArati
Let us sing in Sweet Telugu - Tamil poet Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, 20th Century

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

He left his imprint in Telugu printing


- by V.Sundaram



Printing may be a technical job these days. But in olden days, only scholars in particular subjects took up printing. Perhaps it had to do with proofing and correction work. But that was the case.

In the late 19th Century, when printing business was getting stabilised in Madras, it faced a quaint problem. Though there was a sizeable number of Telugus in Madras then, there were no Telugu printing presses.

To fill in this vacuum, arrived an enterprising scholar in Telugu and Sanskrit hailing from one of the Andhra Districts of Madras Presidency in 1863. V Ramaswamy Sastrulu was his name.

He started a publishing firm in Madras City in 1863 to publish books in Telugu and Sanskrit. Within a period of 20 years, V Ramaswamy Sastrulu & Sons became the foremost Telugu and Sanskrit printing and publishing firm in Madras Presidency. The Government of Madras also started entrusting the printing of all their orders and circulars in Telugu to his firm.

He published almost all the existing Telugu and Sanskrit works (in Telugu character), together with commentaries on numerous Telugu classics. His name became a household word in every village in the Andhra region. The masterly way in which he edited and published very many rare Telugu books, which were hitherto unknown to the world at large, made him a father figure among all classes of people in the Telugu country.

In his publishing works he received the full support and patronage of the Maharajas of Vizianagaram and Venkatagiri. His fame as a writer and publisher rests on his gigantic work of the Ramayana, with elaborate Telugu commentaries. He published this work in 15 volumes (royal octavo).

When he started his work as a Printer, there was only one body of Telugu type (fonts, in today's parlance), called 'Great Primer'. Ramaswamy Sastrulu with his acute technical acumen invented a new class of Telugu type, which went by the name of 'English Body'. This type became very famous in the world of Telugu printing and publishing. All the great Sanskrit and Telugu scholars from different parts of Madras Presidency used to go to his house for literary and intellectual discussions. His contemporaries have reported that he was a man of outstanding intellectual caliber.

But when he saw a man of outstanding intellectual ability before him, he never hesitated to go to the person and take lessons from him. With high ideals, his aims were always noble and his methods, honest and straightforward. Always helpful to those who approached him for consultations, he was stern and forthright with everybody.

Of knowledge, of the power to benefit in every way, what he had, he gave and so benefited those who went to him, as well as himself.

In his study room there was a black board on which he had inscribed the following words of Sir William Jones (1747-1794), Founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta: 'The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from a common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.'------ Sir. William Jones (1786).

Ramaswamy Sastrulu's book department was at No.192, Esplanade Road. The Printing Press was at 69, Mallia Perumal Street, George Town. His residence was at 323, Tiruvottiyur High Road, Tondiarpet. Ramaswamy Sastrulu passed away in 1901. On his death, the business was taken over by his son V Venkateswara Sastrulu. He was also a very great Sanskrit and Telugu scholar.

Many books of Mahamahopadhyaya Vidyavachaspati S Kuppuswami Sastri (1880-1943), Principal of the Mylapore Sanskrit College (1906), Professor of Sanskrit, Presidency College, Madras (1912), Professor of Sanskrit, Annamalai University (1936) were published by Ramaswamy Sastrulu & Sons.

Quite simply, he left an imprint on the Telugu printing world.

Courtesy: News Today


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