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Kandukuri’s house gets facelift

B.V.S. Bhaskar
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Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu’s house reconstructed by Hitakarini Samajam Trust Board.— Photo: S. RAMBABU
Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu’s house reconstructed by Hitakarini Samajam Trust Board.— Photo: S. RAMBABU

The house where the great social reformer of yesteryears Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu and his wife Rajyalakshmi lived at the fag end of their lives, “Anandasramam”, and which was later named “Sri Rajyalakshmi Stree Prardhana Mandiram” (women prayer hall), was renovated and reconstructed with great effort by the present trust board of Hitakarini Samajam. The couple had shifted from their official residence from Vankayalavari Street in the town to Anandasramam in 1905.

The present board, led by Buddiga Srinivas as chairman of Hitakarini Samajam, is managing the properties, including lands, educational institutions of Mr. Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu and Rajyalakshmi. Mr. Srinivas along with Hitakarini members Pediredla Srinivas, S. Rajyalakshmi, Sudhakar and others have decided to renovate and reconstruct the women prayer hall which was in a dilapidated condition.

According to researcher P.V.B. Sanjeeva Rao, senior Telugu faculty in Veeresalingam Theistic College in Rajahmundry, and who had done his doctorate on Kandukuri, the couple, after shifting to Anandasramam, asked the widows living in Victoria Widows Home in the same vicinity to conduct prayers in the ground floor of the house, and they lived in the floor above. Mrs. Rajyalakshmi breathed her last on August 12, 1910, in the floor above the prayer hall, and in 1919 Mr. Pantulu left for erstwhile Madras for printing his manuscripts (another version says that he went for treatment) and passed away there.

Donor support

After taking the pictures of the dilapidated house for record purpose, Mr. Buddiga Srinivas started renovating the house by resizing the old wood and erected poles to support the old structure. “We did new flooring with vitrified tiles and put iron grills with the support of donors. Teaching and non-teaching staff from all our educational institutions contributed to renovating the house,” Mr. Srinivas added. Along with Pediredla Srinu and Endowments department (which runs Hitakarini Samajam) staff Vishnu and Vijayadurga the renovation was completed with Rs.4.92 lakh, and it is going to be inaugurated on February 1. The Board also constructed a new block in VT Degree College with Rs.57.26 lakh of which Rs.26.23 lakh was from UGC funds, and this is also going to be inaugurated on February 1 along with three additional classrooms at V.T. English Medium High School built with Rs.10 lakh.

The couple had shifted from their home in Vankayalavari Street to Anandasramam in 1905

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