A Unique Teacher

He worked at Bhimavaram and A.C. College Guntur, J.K.C. College, Guntur, Siddhartha Academy, Vijayawada and an institution of Smt Oruganti Sridevi, apart from his own Chinnaya school in various capacities. His stay at A.C. College is memorable. He taught English prose, poetry, drama, novel and what not.

He is an admirer of Milton and his teaching of 'Paradise Lost' has no match. Only a man with Biblical background can do justice to Milton as one of his students puts it. He maintained a big library of his own at home which consists of nearly 3000 books of matter and magnitude.

He begins in English and ends in Telugu and vice versa in his classes. He had a reputation of not completing the syllabus in time. He drags on the class, from politics to philosophy, from ethics to Mathematics and from discipline to citizenship. He is not a tutor. He dislikes giving lessons privately. He is considered to be a police in and outside the college campus.

He had strong likes and dislikes. Being the lover of the language he likes the British and their manners and mannerisms. He even cultivated some of them. In Telugu he had a fascination towards Chinnaiah Suri, Panuganti, Tripuraneni and Tummala among others. He was sympathetic towards poor, but behaves like a 'Benevolent Despot', towards them. To 'Be good-Do good' is Yoga, he practiced and preached it all the while.

His anti establishment views made him nearer to Swathanthra Party for some time, though he was not active in politics at any time. Perhaps Rajaji and Minoo Masani might have drawn his attention during that license-permit Raj. He was neither a Marxist nor a Socialist as most of the youth of his time tend to lean towards any one of them. He seldom discusses Economics or Economic policies. He is nearer to M.N. Roy and his thinking. He is a humanist as many knew.

He is not an ardent follower of any political thought or any political party. He believes that thought, word and deed must be in harmony. Any change in one of them in any person tampers his temper. Once he attended the convention of the then 'Swathantra Party' at Guntur. Stallwarts like Rajaji, Masani, Singh Dev, Rangaji were on the dais. When Rajaji was addressing, Sri Rossayya was called on to translate his speech into Telugu.

A sound mind in a sound body is his belief and he used to propagate that maxim. He always seems to be grim but enjoys humor with laughter. He is a legend and a dare devil fighter all the while. He stood head high over his contemporaries. He deserves a fitting and lasting memorial.

Mr. Yalavarthi Rosayya was a master by qualification, vocation, avocation and title.
He was a rank holder in SSLC Examination in Madras Presidency – that comprised of present Tamil Nadu, major part of Andhra Pradesh, part of Kerala and part of Karnataka. He pursued his studies with the same unflagging zeal and industry through M.A.

His merit was recognised by all his teachers but while awarding class in M.A. examination, their caste prejudice dominated over their sense of fairness. They decided to put him under a disadvantage for ever and placed him in the third class. This might have led to diffidence and developed a complex which surfaced now and then in later life. The debility haunted him. The third class was a stumbling block to make him Principal, J.K.C.College, Guntur. To clear the block I had to run from pillar to post.

By vocation he taught English. By avocation he taught Telugu. He taught inside and outside of the campus to all those who have yearning for knowledge. He was adored with the title ‘mastaru' by one and all.

Students generally stop reading books as soon as they leave the campus and teachers stop reading the books as they enter the campus. In contrast Mr. Rosayya continued to read the books, new and old, after leaving the campus as a student and after entering the campus as a teacher. It is paradoxical that in the recent times even the Readers in the Universities stopped reading! He had quite a good collection of books in his personal library. When tested by quality they belong to the top; When judged by his spending on books in relation to his income one or two may stand in comparison. It was on the eve of birthday celebrations of Prof. N.G.Ranga, on 7th Nov. 1952, I saw Mr.Rosayya, for the first time, on the dais along with Unnava Laxminarayana, a well known freedom fighter and a renowned novelist – reformer.

Such was his outstanding, scholarship in English and Telugu though he was a junior member in the teaching profession then. As a doyen of teaching fraterinity too, like Vallabhajosyula Subba Rao, Principal, Hindu college, Guntur, he continued his love for teaching in and out of campus. For a student or colleague in need of his help, it was immaterial for him whether they belong to his college or other colleges in the city. In seeking clarification from him in matters of language and literature one need not be a student or a teacher. Those who have love for learning used to flock around him. Some of his mannerisms were also an attraction. Many liked his punch on the stomach, pinch on the lap and toffee from his pocket.

His observation of road rules was so meticulous to brand him to be quixotic. He was a good conversationist. During one such conversation he narrated the story of his lunch box. Once he went home for lunch and had a small nap. By the time he rushed to the college, the then Principal of A.C.College, Guntur, an Englishman, Mr.Cypps was handling Mr.Rosayya's class.

He took the bitter lesson. From then on he carried the lunch box to the college to avoid such contingency. Even when he became the Principal of another college in the city, he continued to have the lunch in the college. He was the first to enter and last to leave the campus thereby enforced discipline.

Mr. Rosayya appeared to be intransigent and uncompromising. But when dependable people adduce reasons he used to come around. In view of the fact that Mr. Rosayya had certain reservations to serve in the new born college, Dr. K. Sadasiva Rao wanted me to convince Mr. Rosayya to serve in the newly started J.K.C.College. I could succeed in convincing Mr. Rosayya. People like me who were struggling in hostile atmosphere found him to be of different genre – a welcoming and interacting teacher. Mr. Rosayya's house was a conversa zione. I made acquaintance of many a stalwarts from various fields at his house of whom some turned out to be good friends.

Once he introduced me to Mr. Avula Gopala Krishna Murthy (AGK) who spearheaded the rationalist reforms in this area. His introduction was typical in my case. He did not recite my bio data with minute details of Surname, place of birth etc. as he was fascinated to do. He simply remarked “Open thy mouth as he may see thee”.

Under the influence of Tripuraneni Ramaswami, the reformer poet, Mr. Rosayya married a child widow. Thus, he was in the company of few. As time passed he moved from the company of few to the company of many.