Nageswararao Kasinadhuni was one of the Andhra veterans who took part in Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience movement through salt satyagraha. His participation in freedom movement and in National Congress Party was historical.
Nageswararao Kasinadhuni, popularly known as Nageswararao Pantulu, was born on May 1, 1867 in Elakurti village in Krishna district of Andhra to a Brahmin couple Bucchaiah and Shyamalamba. He was educated in Bandaru and Chennai (Madras). He graduated from Madras Christian College in 1891. Viresalingam Kandukuri’s articles in vivekavardhini Journal influenced him.
After a brief stint in business in Chennai, he went to Kolkatta (Calcutta) to work in an apothecary for some time. Later, he went to Mumbai to work in an office. But, he couldn’t stick around there. He was interested in starting his own business. He founded Amrutanjan Limited in 1893. He invented amrutanjan pain balm. Within a short time amrutanjan pain balm became very popular medicine for all pains, colds, sprains, lumbago etc. and made him a millionaire. Amritanjan Limited has established R & D, fine chemicals division, and infotech divisions.
He approached Telugus in Mumbai, associated with them and worked for the welfare of Telugus. He attended the National Congress meeting in Surat in 1907 and joined the freedom movement. He recognized the need for a Telugu language journal to campaign effectively for the freedom struggle and founded a weekly “andhra patrika” in 1909 in Mumbai. Within a short time andhra patrika gained popularity among Telugus. In 1914, he moved the journal from Mumbai to Chennai and introduced it as a daily newspaper.
He was one of the founders of Andhra movement for a separate Andhra state from the Madras province. He published several articles on the need for a separate Andhra state. He was the author of many of these articles. In recognition of his untiring efforts for the all-round development of Andhra nation, Andhra language, and Andhra culture Andhra people honored him with title, “desoddaaraka (savior of the nation).”
Wherever he was, Nageswararao’s house was full of guests. Poets, writers, politicians, social workers, relatives and friends used to visit him. He used to donate funds and help various causes and the needy. Nobody ever left his home empty handed. Amazed by his generosity, Mahatma Gandhi honored him with a title, “viswadaata (universal donor).”
He was jailed in 1931 for six months for participating in salt satyagraha. When he was in jail, he wrote an exposition on the sacred text of Indians, Bhagavad-Gita. He explained that Bhagavad-Gita did not belong to a particular religion, but belonged to the entire humanity as a scripture of yoga for the spiritual enlightenment and prosperity of the entire world.
His interest in Telugu language, literature and science was quite evident in his untiring efforts in publishing journals such as bharati and andhra patrika, publications like andhra grandhamala (garland of Andhra books), and special editions for ugaadi (Telugu New Year). Through andhra grandhamala, he introduced various texts on language, literature and science and was instrumental in spreading science and literature.
He published various ancient texts like basava puranamu, panditaradhya charita, jeerna vijayanagara charitra, tanjavoorandhra rayakula charitra, and modern texts like malapalli, mahatma gandhi atmakatha, etc. He wrote several essays on various topics and introductions and prefaces to various books. He also published Lakshmanarao Komarraju’s three volumes of andhra vignana sarvasvamu in 1938, while Tamils have more than 30 volumes of tamil vignana sarvswam and Marathis have finished 21 volumes of maharashtra vignana sarvaswam.
Nageswararao Kasinadhuni died in 1938 leaving behind his immense contributions and service to Andhra nation, Andhra language, and Andhra culture that are eternal and historical and will be remembered forever.