Aluru Venkata Rao born on 12th July 1880 was an Indian historian, writer and journalist. Rao was born when Karnataka was divided into five geographical regions. While the majority of the Cauvery delta was part of the Mysore Kingdom, other southern districts in Karnataka were included in Madras Presidency. Vijayapura district from where Rao came was a part of the Bombay Presidency.
After initial schooling in his hometown, Rao moved to Poona (now Pune) to pursue a Bachelor’s in arts and later a Law degree from the University of Bombay.
He studied B.A and L.L.B at Fergusson College, where he came in contact with Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Senapati Bapat and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Rao was a close friend of Tilak and translated his Gita Rahasya into Kannada.
The Historian started the Karnataka Itihasa Samshodhana Mandali in 1904 to do research on Kannadiga history. While the idea was initially discouraged by the administration of Fergusson college, Rao later managed a Rs 50 grant to buy Kannada books for the college library. He was inspired by the pride among Mararthis for their language and culture and thought it could be developed among Kannadigas.
He wrote Kannadigara Bhramanirasana (The Disillusionment of Kannadigas), a book aimed at instilling pride in Karnatak’s culture in the youth, along with him Nargundkar Ramarao also authored the book.
Formation of Karnataka
Rao was overjoyed when Karnataka was unified on 1 November 1956. He went to Hampi and performed pooja to the goddess Bhuvaneshwari in the Virupaksha temple and gained the name Karnatakada Kulapurohita.
He was sad that the name of Karnataka did not find a place in the list of states mentioned in the national anthem and wrote about its inclusion to the Prime Minister and President of India. He was honoured in the capital of Bangalore on the eighth anniversary of the state's formation in 1963.
Aluru Venkata Rao died on 25 February 1964 at the age of 83 at his residence in Dharwad.