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Sri Surkund Annaji Rao

By Dr. Anila Ragade (nee Surkund) 

Surkund Annaji Rao (June 1916- August 2006), who put together ‘Gharantuli Godi’ (Konkani rhymes for children), was a poet and playwright par excellence, tracing his origins to a village named Surkund in Karnataka. His life's work was in Mumbai, where he retired as the Principal of the Life Insurance (LIC) Training College. His lectures at the College were popular due to his wit, use of poetic alliteration, a keen sense of humor and knowledge of Hindu Philosophy, with which he peppered his talks.

Annaji Rao was a fluent multilingual (Konkani, Kannada, English, Marathi and Hindi; as also Kacchi Gujarati, and Bengali) but his love of Konkani and his vocabulary in Konkani excelled all, shining through his works, and finding expression in his poems, lyrics, plays and Yakshagana dance dramas, composed in Konkani, Kannada and Hindi. 

The Karnataka Janapad Yakshagan Academy honored him for his Yakshagana dance dramas, authored in Konkani and Hindi. His historic Konkani drama, a classic in its own right, titled “Chitrapur Vaibhava” has been staged/shown many times (latest being in Nov 2021). He has been honoured for this play and for his “Chitrapur Charitreche Powade” by Sri Chitrapur Math and the Kanara Saraswat Association.

Among his Yakshagana dance dramas are “Sudhanvarjun”, “Dushasana Vadha”, “Ramashvamedh”, as also “Geeta Paridnyan” a book of lyrics which records the history of our Math, and a concise poetic translation of the Bhagvat Geeta in Konkani, titled “ Srimadbhagvatgeeta Saar—Geetavali”.

An all-rounder, Annaji Rao lived a happy, highly productive and fruitful life for three score and thirty years.

The above piece is courtesy Dr.Anila Ragade (nee Surkund), the author's daughter. expresses its gratitude to her for acquainting us with her distinguished father.

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