Dampuri Narasaiah : A forgotten name in the history of journalism
K. Mrityunjaya Ram
|Dampuri Narasaiah was the first Telugu to edit an English journal|
NELLORE: When one goes through many books, which have dealt with the history of Indian and in particular, Madras journalism, one will come across quite a few names of prominent yesteryear journalists. Surprisingly there is no mention of Dampuri Narasaiah or his journals in those books.
Narasaiah, who hailed from Nellore was the first Telugu man to edit an English journal. Moreover, he published `The Native Advocate', an English weekly, while he was working as an assistant teacher at Patchyappa's High School in Madras.
And the pioneering journalist inspired by several social reformers as well as the Brahmo Samaj Movement, published `The Nellore Pioneer', a newspaper from Nellore in 1871, which was one of the first newspapers in the District of Madras Presidency, claimed Dr. Kalidas Purushottam, a retired Principal of Sarvodaya College. Mr. Purushottam wrote a book on Narasaiah's contribution to Indian journalism - `English Journalism Lo Tholi Telugu Velugu - Dampuri Narasaiah'.
The Asylum Press Almanac, Madras in fact, stated that he was the publisher of an English weekly __ The People's Friend __ from Madras continuously from 1881 to 1897. Narasaiah, who was very passionate about journalism, left the Government job and began publishing the weekly.
And he was the first journalist to review eminent Telugu poet Gurujada Apparao's కన్యశుల్కం (Kanyasulkam) play in `The People's Friend'. In turn, Gurajada praised Narasaiah's erudite scholarship in English, "perhaps, he was the first journalist to have sensed that `Kanyasulkam' was a path-breaking dram in Telugu literature," Mr. Purushottam told The Hindu on Thursday.
Narasaiah published a book `Letters on Hindu marriages' in 1867. Madras dailies of 1883 speak of Narasaiah as one of the `six reformers of Madras'. Narasaiah's ఆంధ్ర భాష గ్రామ వార్తామణి (Andhra Bhasha Grama Varthamani) from Nellore was the first Telugu weekly dedicated to the welfare of rural poor and the underprivileged.
Courtesy: The Hindu