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  • Sri Rangapuram a noble country seat of the Paravasthus



    Sri Rangapuram, a tiny settlement nestled in Krishnanagar of Maharanipeta area, was once an Inam estate of the noble Paravasthu family, who were Satana Vaishnavaites, scholars of Telugu literature and teachers of Vaishnavaite scriptures.

    The Paravasthus had received the Inam prior to their permanent settlement in 1803 and since then, have been residents of Visakhapatnam, though originally they hailed from Nellore district. The Visakhapatnam Paravasthu branch is also an off-shoot of the original branch, the products of which are people like Paravsthu Chinnayya Suri, who played a major role in the modernisation of Telugu language and was also one of the earliest advocates of social reform.

    Members of the Visakhapatnam branch of the Pravasthus have been hereditary trustees of several old Vaishnavaite temples in Vizag and even supported a Veda Pathashala. The famous Venkateshwara temple in the Old City is one such temple that received services from the Paravasthus as hereditary trustees. Over the generations, the Paravasthus greatly promoted traditional scriptural education till the 1950s, after which they lacked the financial means to support their spiritual and benefactor duties chiefly due to the Estate and Inam Abolition Act that came into existence in the early 1950s.

    Today, the entire area known as Krishnanagar was once part of the Paravasthu estate and because they were ardent Vaishnavaites, the place is named after Lord Krishna. More importantly, a vast majority of the villagers of Sri Rangapuram are Yadavas, who are ardent worshippers of Lord Krishna and extremely devout Vaishnavaites. The Paravasthus also used to hold court and conduct the Krishna Janmastami celebrations with splendour during their hay days. However, the changes post independence forced many of them to suspend their activities and a vast majority of the Paravasthu clan left the country.

    History buff BS Mahesh said, “The Paravasthus were totally devoted to the Bhakti movement and promoted the Bhakti ideology. More importantly, they were people who went with the flow of times and were known to be quite flexible and liberal in their stance concerning social reforms, especially widow remarriage. However, today, the family has been long forgotten and even Sri Rangapuram is just an old village within the city.”

    “One of the Paravasthus, Paravasthu Ranga Chari, a descendent of the original Inamdar, used to be an active member of the Theosophical Society and would attend the meetings there. His beliefs and views were quite modern, though they completely agreed with what was basically written in the old scriptures. He was a true practitioner of the Dharma Siddhanta,” said PN Rao, an old resident of the area.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Visakhapatnam / TNN / February 27th, 2016

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