History & Culture

Hundred years of Chittoor

Proud moment: The logo unveiled for Chittoor's centenary celebrations.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Chittoor district was formed on April 1, 1911, by separating the Telugu speaking taluks from the erstwhile north Arcot and clubbing with few taluks from Kadapa and few other areas from the Nellore district. This year on April 1Chittoor will be completing its 100 years of existence. From the beginning of 19th century, Chittoor was the headquarters for north Arcot district. Because of its proximity to Karnataka on one side and Tamil Nadu on the other, along with Telugu, Kannada and Tamil languages are also extensively used. Chittoor has been the home of many poets, scholars, artists, administrators, freedom fighters and politicians. P. Ananadacharyulu, the president of the Indian national Congress, belonged to this district. Jiddu Krishnamurthy, was born in Madanapalle. A great educationalist, scholar, poet, literary critic and an administrator, often compared to Voltaire, Sir C.R. Reddy was native of the Chittoor district. The famous 18th century poetess, Tharigonda Vengamamba was the priceless gem that Chittoor has gifted. The author of the poem, Maa Telugu Thalliki Mallepoodanda, Sankarambadi Sundaracharya, was again the son of this soil. Madabhushi Ananthasayanam Iyengar, a former Lok Sabha speaker and the governor of Bihar, belonged to this district. Prominent freedom fighters like Parthasarathi Iyengar, Papanna Gupta and Nooti Radhakrishniah were natives of this district.

Chittoor has historically significant forts and palaces like Chandragiri, Gurramkonda, Avulakonda and Punganur. The famous Rishi Valley School and Asia's biggest sanatorium at Arogyavaram near Madanapalle made the district proud. The Theosophical College in Madanapalle, often referred to as ‘Shanthinikethan of the South' was the very first college for the entire Rayalaseema region. In 1919, on a visit to this college, Rabindranath Tagore translated his Janaganamana, our national anthem into English as The Morning Song of India. During the same time, the now familiar tunes to the national anthem were set by Margaret Cousins, wife of the then principal of the college, James Henry Cousins. Thus a great literary history was made in the district when our national anthem took its final form.

Chittoor has the only summer resort in Andhra Pradesh, Horsely Hills, familiarly known as the Poor Man's Ooty. It is also the official summer residence for the Governor of the State.

Hoary history: The prominent South Indian dynasties like the Cholas, Pallavas and the Pandyas had this region under their hegemony. Under the Vijayanagar rulers, Chandragiri was not only a major centre but also their capital city for a significant period. After the fall of Vijayanagar, the Palegars assumed greater political authority and in Chittoor and Chandragiri region alone, there were ten such Palegars. When Arcot nawab held sway over this region, the nawabs of Mysore, Hyder Ali as well as Tipu Sultan tried to wrest Chittoor for themselves. Hyder Ali had married Fakhr un unnisa, daughter of the nawab of Gurramkonda and of this union was born Tipu. It was at Narasingarayanipet, near Chittoor that Hyder Ali died of cancer on December 6, 1782, when the second Mysore war was in progress. During the rule of the nawabs of Arcot, Chittoor was a ‘Khilla' and Muhammad Ali's brother, Abdul Wahab was appointed as the Khilladar here. It was an irony that Hyder Ali who began his military career as a soldier under Wahab in Chittoor, later in life defeated and took him away as prisoner to Mysore.

The district, during these years has come a long way on the path of progress and development. It is time now, in the context of its completing its centenary to recount its achievements and to reassess its endeavours.

It is also gratifying to note that the universities located in the district, colleges and schools, voluntary organisations, and governmental agencies, are planning to celebrate the Centenary of Chittoor district in a big and fitting way in the weeks to come.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 3:29:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/Hundred-years-of-Chittoor/article14968622.ece

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