State anthem composed in Chittoor

Staff Reporter
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Its composer Sankarambadi Sundarachari loved Telugu literature though he was a Tamilian

Not many know that the State anthem of Andhra Pradesh ‘Maa Telugu Thalliki' was written by a modest-looking personality from Chittoor district.

While Sankarambadi Sundarachari had great adoration for Telugu literature, it is really intriguing to note that his mother tongue was actually Tamil.

He was born near the Padmavathi temple in Tiruchanur, but lived at Gangundra Mandapam Street, then an extended ‘Agraharam' of Sri Govindaraja temple, which presently throbs as a commercial hub in the heart of Tirupati.

He worked as a teacher in the present S.V. High School (then called the Board School) and moved to the PCR Government School in Chittoor. It was here that the ‘Maa Telugu Thalliki…' song was composed in 1942.

This attracted the attention of theatre/film personalities T. Suryakumari and S. Balasaraswathi, who set a mellifluous tune and showcased it to the world.

It was also used in the film ‘Deenabandhu' with Chittoor V. Nagaiah in the lead.

It was widely used to trigger passion during the struggle for Statehood on linguistic basis in mid-fifties.

Sundarachari had the habit of prefixing the word ‘Sundara' to his works.

He showed Ramayana and the Mahabharata in new light and promptly named his works as ‘Sundara Ramayanam' and ‘Sundara Bharatham'.

He also penned half-a-dozen other works.

He started leading a wayward lifestyle at the twilight of his career and breathed his last in 1977.

Sundarachari remained an unsung hero even after his demise, as he did not get the recognition he deserved, except for the bronze statue got erected in the city by the Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA).

Though ‘Maa Telugu Thalliki' has been the State anthem for quite long, it is reliably learnt that the forthcoming centenary event does not begin with this theme song.

Instead the event managers are contemplating a new number highlighting the glory of Chittoor district, ignoring the composition of the son of the soil.

  • The song was used in the film ‘Deenabandhu'
  • Ironically the centenary event will not begin with ‘Maa Telugu Thalliki' though it is a State anthem

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