Sree Kandukuri Veeresalingam Theistic College

Aided College-Affiliated to Adikavi Nannayya University

History of the College

Historical Background of the College

The historical town Rajahmundry known for great culture and legacy, lies along the left bank of Godavari just above the head of the delta. This place has the privilege of being the capital of Eastern Chalukya dynasty. According to the tradition, this town was constructed by Raja Raja Narendra, the Eastern Chalukya ruler, in 1022 A.D., and was therefore, called by various names like Raja Raja Narendrapuram, Rajamahendravaram, Rajamandiram and finally, Rajahmundry.

The town Rajahmundry was built as a walled fortress covering three hillocks, "Pushpagiri," "Kamalachalam" and "Vedadri". With the endemic upsurges of the largest South Indian River Godavari, the town was submerged time and again and was rebuilt. In this process many layers were buried into history. The walls of the fortress sank two hundred years ago. It is impossible to dig out history from under the crammed modern structures. The glory of the town reached its pinnacle during Raja Raja Narendra's time. He developed the town into a city and named it Rajamahendravaram. He had carved a niche for himself in the history of Telugu language and literature by patronizing the first Telugu poet Nannayya Bhattaraka who translated the Mahabharata into Telugu. Nannayya, aptly called "Adikavi" happened to be the father of Andhra Bhasha - a blend of Dravidian Telugu and Sanskrit.

The historical background of this Godavari district in the matter of education and culture is quite rich. Rajahmundry, Draksharama, Pithapuram, Thatipaka (Tatipaka), Kotipuri or Kotipalle and Korukonda were the centers of learning. The tradition of learning was fostered by a succession of enlightened dynasties like those of Mauryas, Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, Imperial Cholas, Kakatiyas, Gajapatis of Orissa, Reddis of Kondaveedu Vishnukundins, Velanati Cholas and Musunuri chiefs, all of whom were greatly partial to learning and culture. However, with the gradual disintegration of these kingdoms, the patronage enjoyed by the scholars tended to disappear. Later the Muslim dynasties like those of the Qutub Shahis, Mughals and Asaf Jahis, which succeeded, were also patrons of learning, though not of the indigenous kind. The zamindars of Pithapuram and Peddapuram had also extended their support to the development of education and culture in the district. From the decay and the final disintegration of the native kingdoms upto the advent of the British, there appears to have been a long interregnum in so far as education and culture are concerned. This is not to suggest that education and culture completely disappeared but only to say that they were not supported by a policy of public patronage. They were largely left to individual scholars and institutions.

Kandukuri Veeresalingam was born to Punnamma and Subbarayadu on 16th of April 1848 at Rajahmundry. He lost his father at the age of four. In spite of several hardships and hurdles, Veeresalingam progressed in life showing unmatched courage, hard work and dedication. He married Rajyalakshmi in 1861. He started his career as a headmaster in a school at Korangi near Dowleshwaram. Later he joined the Government College Rajahmundry as a Telugu Pandit. He later joined the Presidency College as the head of the department of Telugu and worked there till 1904.

The rebirth of cultural heritage in Andhra Pradesh had started in Rajahmundry before the arrival of Rao Bahadur Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu; Mr. Muttu Narasimha Naidu (Munisif) stated the importance of Women Education and equal rights to women along with men in his book "Hitasuchani". Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu known as "The Father of Reformations in Andhra", started a monthly magazine "Vivekavardhini",and a school for Girls at Dowleswaram in 1874. The first widow marriage was performed by him on December 11, 1881. A society with 16 members was started on 22nd June 1884, which used to look after the widow marriages in Rajahmundry. The town hall in Rajahmundry was established in 1890 by Veeresalingam. He established Hithakarini Samaj in 1906 with 36 members. He was the first novelist in Telugu to produce "Rajasekhara Charitra", a great novel. He was the first to write autobiography in Telugu. From then onwards many great people like Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasiham Nyapthi Subbarao Pantulu, Durgabai Deshmukh and others belonging to this city contributed to the social, political, cultural and economic development of the state.

He started a magazine entitled "Vivekavardhini" and used it educate people against social evils. Veresalingam was inspired by the founder of "Brahmasamaj" Sri Raja Ram mohan Roy's philosophy and became his follower. He joined the "Ekeswaradhana" movement and established prayer halls in Rajahmundry, Bangalore and Madras. Pained by the deplorable situation of child widows, Veeresalingam advocated widow remarriage. In spite of facing heavy odds and opposition from various sections of the society, he performed the first widow remarriage on 11th December 1881.

He started widows home, an orphanage, schools and colleges. He started "Hitakarinisamaj" to take care and administer all these establishments. He influenced the starting of a Girls' High School in 1874 at Dowleshwaram. In 1881 he personally started a girls' high school in Innispet, Rajahmundry in 1907. It later came to be known as Hitakarini High School. The principal patron and donor for the construction of the school building, the Maharaja of Pithapuram, rechristened it as Veeresalingam Theistic High School.

Veeresalingam wrote several satires and books that included "The History of Poets", an autobiography, a book on Natural science, a translated drama and many more. Most of them are the first amongst their genre in Telugu. The then government bestowed him with the title "Rao Bahadur".

Smt Rajayalakshmi stood by his a devout and dedicated wife in all his endeavors to eliminate social evils. Smt Rajyalakshmi breathed her last on 12th August 1910 and Sri Veeresalingam left for physical body on 27th May 1919. The institutions started by him are still flourishing and growing to this day. Every one of us should strive sincerely to carry forward the principles and philosophy of Sri Veeresalingam.

The renaissance of Indian art and literature, industrial revolution, British rule have all contributed to social reform movement in our country. A strong and vociferous advocate against the practice of barbaric and uncultured act of "Sati", Raja Ram mohan Roy can be called as the pioneer of social reform movement in India. If it was Raja Ram Mohan Roy in the North, then it was Rao Bahadur Veeresalingam who led the movement in the South. Verresalingam worked relentlessly towards the abolition of cultural, economic and religious disparities in the society. Enlightened by the reform movement political leaders had realized the importance of education and at the dawn of the 20th century started establishing educational institutions. With the soul purpose of spreading education, well know poet of that time, Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham stated a Hindu middle school. Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam adopted this school on behalf of Hitakarinisamaj on 16th September 1907. This was upgraded to a High School in 1909. There was no looking back from then on as the institution grew from and strength to strength in both extent and activities. It is now producing several scholars and is a well known premier institute in the region.

With a generous donation of Rs.75,000/- from the Maharaja of Pithapuram R.Surya Rao, the construction of the college building was taken up. It was inaugurated by a well known social activist and Calcutta City College Principal Sri Heramba Chandramitra on 27th November 1911. On a request from the Maharaja of Pithapuram, the school was rechristened as Veeresalingam High School. It later evolved into Veeresalingam Theistic High School. It was upgraded to a Higher Secondary School on 16th June 1959. It grew up to the status of Veeresalingam Theistic Junior College on 15th August 1970.

With city of Rajahmundry growing in extent and population, it needed another degree college to cater to the growing demands. The then Secretary and Correspondent of Hitakarini samaj took the initiative and got the permission sanctioned for starting a degree college under affiliation to Andhra University. The college was started as a Co-education college offering B.Com course. It was then extended to B.A in both Telugu and English mediums and B.Sc in English medium. From 1980-81 statistics is being offered as an optional subject in B.A and B.Sc classes in both English and Telugu mediums. B.Sc classes with computers combination were started from 1997-98. M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) and M.Com classes from 2003-04, M.Sc (Analytical Chemistry) from 2005-06 and M.Sc (Botany) from 2007-08 were started in the college. Later on all the P.G courses were discontinued and only U.G courses are ongoing with approximately 2000 students studying in this college. During 2012 this college was affiliated to newly established Adikavi Nannaya University.

"Vidya Bheeshma" Dr.Vemuri Ramakrishna, Sri Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham, Sri Jayanthi Ganganna can be called as the corner stones of this great institution. The college, since its inception continued in the high school compound. It was running on shift basis since 1979 till it was partially moved to the Anandashram compound, in Danavaipet, in 1993 October. The Hitakarini Trust Board under the presidentship of Sri Cherukuri Veera Raju worked for the all round development of the college. In 1997, the college was shifted from the building in Innispet to a newly constructed one in Anandashram premises in Danavaipet. Sri Adireddy Apparao extended the college buildings later. With the construction of Hitakarini centenary building, in the year 2005, under the stewardship of Sri Challa Sankara Rao, the college infrastructure requirements were completely fulfilled. Under the presidentship of Sri Dasi Venkata Rao Library builiding was construted in 2009. With the construction of "Viveka Vardhani" B.A Block in 2010 under the Presidentship of Sri Buddiga Srinivas, the college now has a sprawling campus with playground, well equipped labs, furnished classrooms, seminar hall and all the infrastructural facilities befitting a Degree College.