Vizianagaram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the nation on 16 January during the nationwide roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine, recited verses by eminent Telugu poet and writer Gurajada Apparao. "Sonta Labham Konta Mankukuni…Thoti Vaadiki Saayapadavoy…Desamante Matti Kaadoy Desamante Manushuloy," the Prime Minister quoted from the patriotic song by Apparao.

The quote translates into English as, "Forego your self-interest to some extent and help neighbours. The nation does not mean just mud and soil but people."

Gurajada Apparao, who lived between 1862 and 1915, was born in the Vizag region and lived in the nearby Vizianagaram town of Andhra Pradesh. Among his several writings, 'Kanyasulkam', written in 1892, is the most popular.

Mr. Modi reciting the Andhra poet has made the people of the state, particularly the Vizianagaram region, proud. Expressing happiness over Mr. Modi's recitation of Gurajada's song, the people in Vizianagaram said Gurajada was a great reformer whose writings influenced society and changed it for the better.

Recently, the Vizianagaram district collector, M. Hari Jawaharlal, had urged poets and writers to create awareness among the younger generation about the great literary contribution of Mahakavi Gurajada Apparao who had fought against many social evils.

Gurajada continues to have a special place in Indian history, particularly his writings that continue to inspire all generations and are relevant even today. Though the Telugu people know the great literary works of Apparao, not many know that the song quoted by Mr. Modi was once considered for the national anthem.

The Vizianagaram district administration has given the poet's house in the Vizianagaram town a facelift.

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