Tuesday, December 21, 2010
AGK Humanist, Rare Personality
(Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy)
This happened one day at a well-attended marriage function at Tenali
in June 1963. Even as the marriage between Jayasree and Rajagopal took
place, a famous writer-cum-journalist working in the US Consulate General,
Madras, Mr. B S R Krishna, walked in, took out a piece of a paper from his
pocket, and handed it over to Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy (AGK). BSR
was not an invitee to the marriage as we initially presumed. He had dropped
in to accomplish a special mission. It was to extend an invitation from the
US Government to AGK to visit their country as its guest. All of us were
AGK was not a politician, who held any position. He was not a celebrity
in the field of cinema or sports. He was not the recipient of any Government
awards and titles. Yet, the US Government chose to invite him as its guest. He
was the first in AP to receive such an honor.
AGK had served as Chairman of the Tenali Municipal Corporation only
once. By profession, he was an advocate. He was born in a remote village called
Mulpuru in 1917. It was from that village that Avula Sambasiva Rao, who
served as a High Court Judge, hailed. AGK had obtained his MA Ll. B from
Lucknow. He was married and had six children.
AGK had seen the nation before and after the Independence. He did
not belong to any well-known political party. He took part in the Radical
Democratic Party, which M N Roy founded in 1940 and dissolved in 1948.
As a student, he met Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. When Bose lost in
the race to become Congress President in 1938, nobody bothered about him.
AGK, however, invited Bose to his hostel room and took care of him. After all,
our society honors and worships those in power..
AGK met T Rama Swamy, well-known reformer and revolutionary writer, in
Tenali. Rama Swamy performed marriages in Telugu and advocated the equality
of sexes. He also developed friendship with Chalam. He introduced both of
He was a great essayist-cum-speaker. He wrote essays and gave lectures in
both English and Telugu with great ease. He was a wizard with words. He kept
gatherings at marriage ceremonies spell bound.
He started his own magazine but was unsuccessful.
T Rama Swamy introduced marriage oath taking in Telugu. He treated
upcoming writers and artists, especially those belonging to backward classes,
with respect. He dealt with poetry and prose touchingly. He excelled in subtle
Poems of Samuel Johnson, Mathew Arnold, Stephen Spender, and
Audin in English and writings of Yetukuri Narasaiah, Tripuraneni, Sripada
Krishanmurthy, Pendyala Subrahmanyam, and Jashua in Telugu were his
favorites. He loved playing badminton and encouraged others to take part in
AGK took part in the Red Cross and other social movements
enthusiastically and encouraged them. Many painters including Goli Seshaih
Venkata Kavi, Venkata Subbayya Vasireddy
(Vadlamudi) often visited him. He never pardoned writers and poets with
destructive or negative thoughts. Such writers ranged from Nori Narasimha
Sastry to Viswanadha Satyanarayana. He loved drama and encouraged it.
His friends’ circle included G V Krishna Rao, Palagummi Padmaraju,
Bairagi, Gokulchand, Yelavarthi Rosaiah, Jasthi Jagannadham, and Gopichand.
Politicians of different hues like Acharya Ranga, Damodaram Sanjivayya, and
Aalapati Venkatramayya tapped him often for his sane and wise advice.
Some of the people who had to face the brunt of his criticism were Neelam
Sanjiva Reddy, Alluri Satyanarayana Raju, Kalluri Chandramouli, S B P Pattabhi
Rama Rao, and Mandali Venkata Krishna Rao. He had a knack for spotting
people with talent whether they enjoyed any position or not. He identified
Peddireddi Timmareddi as a fighter for farmers.
He trained innumerable youth. He wrote the foreword for books written by
In 1960, he invited Annadurai to Tenali and conducted meetings on
rationalism. M N Roy visited Tenali many times after that.
Can we describe AGK as a journalist? Yes and no. He wrote exhaustively
and edited a number of small magazines. He turned to editors like.
Panditaradhyula Nageswara Rao and Narla Venkateswara Rao for advice.
Great humanists including Abburi Ramakrishna Rao consulted him. When
AGK wrote an article defaming Gandhi, a surprised Abburi complained it to M
N Roy.. Contrary to Abburi’s expectations, Roy supported AGK.
When AGK during his US visit criticized Jawaharlal Nehru, the then
ambassador B K Nehru threatened to send him back to India. AGK remained
When AGK was planning his return to India, some people asked him to
praise Vivekananda. He refused to oblige them by saying that he would speak
the truth as he knew it.. Andhra Prabha magazine editor Neelamraju Venkata
Seshayya accused AGK of defaming. AGK paid him back in the same coin.
Presno Municipality in the State of California chose him as a member of its
board. He used to interact with children whenever he visited a school in the
US. He lived for some time with Vadlamudi Srikrishna in Chicago.
All this happened in 1963. On his return, he spoke and wrote about his
The Americans who met him felt they were lucky to have run into such a
AGK passed away in 1967 when he was 50.
His article on “The World around me” published in the Vahini magazine