Rayaprolu Subbarao

[Abhinava Nannaya] (1892 - 1984 / Bapatla taluq, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh / India)

Biography of Rayaprolu Subbarao

Rayaprolu Subbarao poet

ayaprolu Subbarao (Telugu: రాయప్రోలు సుబ్బారావు; b: 1892 - d: 1984) is one of the pioneers of modern Telugu literature. He is known as Abhinava Nannaya. He was recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award to Telugu Writers for his poetic work Misra Manjari in 1965. He is inspired by the Western literary movement and brought romanticism into Telugu literature by breaking away from the traditional translations of Sanskrit literature. He introduced the concept of "Amalina Shringara Tatvamu" into Telugu literature.

His poem Edesamegina Endukalidina:
Pogadara Neetalli Bhoomi Bharatini,
Nilupara Neejaati Nindu Gauravamu is very popular.
Whichever country you go to, wherever you set foot,
Whatever dais you ascend, whatever anyone says,
Praise your Mother Bharati,
Keep up your race’s whole dignity!

Early Life

He is born in a family of Pandits. His maternal uncle Avvari Subramanya Sastri initially taught him Sanskrit and Telugu. He has studied in Board High School in Bapatla and subsequently in Kakinada and Rajahmundry.
He has assisted Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao in the preparation of Andhra Vignana Sarvasvamu.

Department of Telugu in Osmania University, Hyderabad was started in 1919. He was the professor and head of this department for 25 years. Khandavalli Lakshmi Ranjanam, Divakarla Venkata Avadhani, B. Rama Raju and C. Narayana Reddy were associated with him as faculty.

He is the chief editor of Andhra Maha Bhagavatam published by Telugu Academi, Hyderabad.


Subbarao's literature is a mixture of Telugu Indian culture and Western ideas. He brought Western romanticism especially English lyric style to Telugu literature. However, he followed classical Sanskrit and Telugu meter in his writings and he didn't abandon Sanskrit Telugu form common language. His literature can be distinguished into various kinds: sensual, love of nature, patriotism, spiritual, humanitarianism, Social Reforms etc. Sensuality, in general, may be divided into two kinds, union and separation. Rayaprolu preferred separation in his writings. In his first independent poem, Trunakankanamu, Rayaprolu narrates love pangs of separation. The hero's lover marries another man and he remains unmarried to suffer from the memories. By the end of the poem, hero's love transforms into a platonic love and friendship. In this poem, Rayaprolu's heroin continues a platonic relationship with the hero while married to another man. In Kastakamala, Kamala loves (platonic) two men. However, when one of them writes a love letter, she commits suicide. Rayaprolu was a great patriot and Telugu nationalist. He praised the (past) greatness of Telugu warriors to awaken the sleeping Telugu pride. Rayaprolu Subbarao defined Telugu romanticism and began a new era in Telugu literature. His romantic literature is considered as the watershed in Telugu literature for its modernity of themes such as naturalism, rural life, platonic love, a sense of history, libertarianism, patriotism, and fierce nationalism


He was awarded Kalaprapoorna from Andhra University in 1977.

Rayaprolu Subbarao's Works:

Anumati (Permission)
Bhaja Govindamu (Pray to Govinda) (Telugu translation of Shankaracharya's Bhaja Govindam)
Soundarya Lahari (Billow of Beauty) (Telugu translation of Shankaracharya's Soundarya Lahari)
Sundara Kanda (Beauty Section) (Telugu translation of Valmiki Ramayana)
Doota Mattebhamu (Messenger Elephant)
Lalitha (Telugu translation of The Hermit of Oliver Goldsmith)
Madhukalasamu (Liquor Pitcher) (Telugu rendering of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam)
Meghaduta (Telugu translation of Kalidasa's work)
Uttararama Charita (Telugu translation of Bhavabhuti's work)

Independent Works
Trunakankanamu (Grass Bracelet)
Andhravali (Andhra Row)
Kashta Kamala (Kamala in Distress)
Ramyalokamu (Beautiful Sight)
Telugutoata (Telugu Garden)
Vanamala (Forest Necklace)
Misra Manjari (Mixed Bouquet)
Kannepatalu (Virgin Songs)
Jadakutchulu (Braid Tassels)

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