Pusapatii Vijayarama Gajapathi Raju (1883-1922), the Rajah of Vizianagaram Samsthanam established the music college on February 5, 1919

“Music reduces stress and alleviates frustration,” said N. Madhusudhana Rao, an employee in a private organisation. He has completed diploma in violin and now aspiring to complete diploma in vocal soon. He was one among many employees working in the State government departments, banks, and other establishments attending music classes at Maharajah’s Government Music and Dance College, which recently celebrated its 95 anniversary.

Apart from regular students, homemakers, retired persons, bank employees, and people from other strata of life joined the college solely with an intention to reduce stress. While the employees/retired persons have no longing for concerts, Mr. Madhusudhana Rao wants to perform in public and earn a name in the near future. However, regular students are of the opinion that diploma in music would earn them a living.

Principal of the college Buridi Anuradha Parasuram told The Hindu that unlike in the past, learning music has now become a leisure activity for many and that has been the reason why the college has full attendance. She said that nearly 80 students passed out of the college every year. About half of the students got employment in temples at Annavaram (East Godavarai district), Ramatheerthaalu (Vizianagaram), Sri Kanaka Mahalakshmi and Simhachalam (Visakhapatnam), she added.

The alumni of the college include Nookala China Satyanarayana, Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, Komanduri Krishnamacharyulu, Saluri Rajeswara Rao, Srirangam Gopalaratnam, Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, P. Suseela, Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao, Dwaram Narasinga Rao and Bhuvaneswara Mishra, a musician of Odisha.

The history of the college would interest chronologists. Pusapatii Vijayarama Gajapathi Raju (1883-1922), the Rajah of Vizianagaram Samsthanam, who was moved by the plight of a young blind boy, Chaganti Ganga Babu, had established the music college, the first of its kind in South India then, and christened it Sri Vijayarama Gana Pathasala, on February 5, 1919 in the sprawling Town Hall, behind the fort. He had appointed Harikatha Pithamaha Ajjaada Adibhatla Narayana Dasu as its first principal and Dwaram Venkata Swamy Naidu as the violin professor, who later succeeded the former in 1936. Dr. P. V.G. Raju handed over the college to the State government in August 1955.

Affiliated to Sri Potti Sriramulu University, Hyderabad, the college offers both full time and part-time courses -- two-year diploma and four-year certificate courses in vocal, violin, veena, mridangam, nadaswaram and dolu, and Bharata Natyam.   

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