Monday, July 9, 2018

E.Balakrishna Naidu: Entrepreneur, advocate, author and the first graduate of Peelamedu


Entrepreneur, advocate, author and the first graduate of Peelamedu, E.Balakrishna Naidu (1900 - 1984 ) belonged to an agrarian Kamma family and was born to R.Ellappa Naidu and Rangammal. He did his early schooling at Sri Ramanuja Iyengar and travelled by a bullock cart to St.Michaels for his secondary education. Later on, he graduated from Pachaiappas in Chennai and then studied law.

E.Balakrishna Naidu (EB) married Ammaniammal in1927. On moving to Gopalapuram to take up legal practice, he engaged an Anglo Indian lady to teach his wife spoken English. The couple was blessed with two daughters,Chandrakanthi and Kamalam, and a son B.Ramaswamy.

G.Kuppuswamy Naidu and G.D.Naidu were his first clients and by 1936 he was involved in the construction and management of Saroja Mills on Trichy Road along with A.T.Devaraja Mudaliar . He was the Managing Director of this textile enterprise. However, he quit this comfortable career due to some misunderstanding, and moved to Peelamedu by the year 1942. He joined the Nava India team as the General Manager on the request of the Founder P.R.Ramakrishnan.

Nava India gave EB an opportunity to further his life long passion - reading and historical research. EB's first work was the humorous Devalogathil Ration. Encouraged by its success, he wrote several novels which included Danaicken Kottai, Chambal Kottai, Vasudevanallur Kottai, Sankagiri Kottai, Bednur Kottai, Madurai Kottai, etc., which belonged to his ' Kottai series'. His plays included Pooranaiya and Vidhiyinkai.Trichy Radio broadcast his plays. EB was a short story writer too and Deepawali Sweet, Pongalo Pongal, Vallimaniyin Pullikalai etc., were among his famous short stories. His history series on queens immortalised Rani Meenakshi, Rani Cleopatra and Chand Bibi.

His role as a responsible media person and his interest in history led to EB’s magnum opus, Danaicken Kottai. He was greatly inspired by Tippu Sultan and the historic Danaicken Kottai was submerged during the construction of Bhavanisagar. EB collected documents which refuted the claims that Tippu was a tyrant. The gripping novel was serialised in Nava India every Sunday. The characters included Tippu Sultan, his mother Sultana, the elderly Queen Mother of the erstwhile dynasty Rani Lakshmi Ammani, Poornaiya the Diwan, Balaraja - the ruler of Danaicken Kottai, the beautiful and bold Veeramma and so on. In the book the author speaks about Tippu’s contribution to the Hindu temples in the region and also his closeness to the Pontiff of Sringeri - the Shankarcharya. The readers were greatly attracted to this story and the circulation of the paper went up due to this. Subsequently, the Editor of Nava India, P.R.Ramakrishnan supported EB by getting this published in 1955. Suddhananda Bharati, Namakkal Kavignar, Dr.M. Varadarajanar and Ki.Va.Jagannathan showered encomiums on EB on this occasion. P.S.G.Venkataswamy Naidu was greatly impressed by the novel and he took EB to Mysore and introduced him to His Highness Jayachamraja Wodeyar. The Raja of Mysore offered his wishes to EB and also showered gifts on him.

Libraries and books fascinated EB and even on the day of his passing he had requested his assistant to get him a book while he was at a hospital for a surgery. He had a vast circle of friends who included T.S.Avinashilingam, C.Subramaniam, Vetrivel Mudaliar, Arunachala Gounder, Hanumantha Rao, B.Rangaswamy Naidu and R.V.Lakshmiah Naidu.

EB established the ABC School in Peelamedu and his daughter and Correspondent Chandrakanthi fondly remembers her father, “My father knew English,Telugu,Tamil and Kannada very well and he was keen that we emulated him. He wanted us to learn Hindi too. I was the research assistant for Danaicken Kottai. Ilayavalli Srinivasan Company made this into a play and ran it successfully at the Raja Annamalai Mandram. Actor R.S.Manohar came forward to produce a play based on this novel. Thanks to the recent efforts of Thilagavathy IPS it was possible to reprint the novel. My father firmly felt that alcohol brought down both the moral and physical well being of the society. He wanted to start Tippu Sultan Seva Sangams throughout the length and breadth of our country for the promotion communal harmony and prohibition. He was of the opinion that this was the way forward for improving harmonious co existence and productivity.”

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