At the age of 87, not everyone is blessed to be Hale and hearty. But here’s an octogenarian, full of beans and a love of learning, wandering through books that are busy, keeping him active day in and day out.
Of course, Velchala Kondal Rao’s multifaceted personality – a great educator, competent administrator and renowned literate – is all in one.
V Kondal Rao started his career as a Commerce Lecturer at Sri Raja Rajeshwari College, Karimnagar in 1956. He was elected to the post after an interview conducted by a committee headed by former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao. As a college student at the time, I sometimes walked in front of his lecture room. I could hear the rapid flow of words from Kondalarao’s mouth about a lesson in commerce.
Kondal Rao started his career as a Commerce Lecturer at Sri Raja Rajeshwari College, Karimnagar in 1956. He was elected to the post after an interview conducted by a committee headed by former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao.
As a college student at the time, I sometimes walked in front of his lecture room. I could hear the rapid flow of words from Kondalarao’s mouth about a lesson in commerce.
Dr. SS Barlinga was the principal of the newly opened college and whenever he went abroad, he was a senior lecturer and Kondal Rao was the in-charge principal. In those days, Kondal Rao was fond of horse racing and often traveled to Hyderabad to take part in races.
After working in Karimnagar as a lecturer, he was selected as the Principal of the newly opened college at Jagtial.
He has been selected by the college to have excellent faculty members such as the renowned Telugu writer late Sampath Kumara Acharya, later retired Deputy Inspector General of Police P Ram Narayan and G Raja Reddy, who is currently an adviser to the Telangana government on financial matters.
Some of his students from Jagtial College have become Vice-Chancellors of various universities and Chairman of the Higher Education Council.
A strict disciplinarian, Kondal Rao would sit in lecture halls not only to maintain discipline in college but also to observe the way lecturers educate students.
The library he developed at the Jagtial College was praised by many, including the Vaidya Sub Collector, R Vaidya Nathan Iyer.
From Jagtial, he came to SRR College as a Principal. Once he received a complaint about eve-teasing from a girl student, and without wasting even a minute, he went to class, and the culprit was actually lifted and slapped.
He even cheated on a student from college and the student was in the minority community so there were a lot of colors and shouting from his community.
The matter went to the District Collector. And as this may become a matter of peace and order, the Collector asked Kondal Rao to withdraw the restoration order. Kondal Rao strongly disagrees. If the collector is still holding on to this, he has expressed his willingness to quit the job.
A few years later, Kondal Rao was on his way to his in-law’s village when the bus was fully loaded and there was no seat. Suddenly a young man saw him and gave him a seat.
This young man is no more, he is a rusty student years ago in Karimnagar. Rao started the Satavahana Institute of Postgraduate Studies with great success.
From Karimnagar, he came to the City College, Hyderabad as a Principal. While he was working there, he was named the Joint Director of Higher Education. Throughout his career, Kondal Rao has demonstrated a rare ability to build successful companies and these are the ones he lives by.
He is unabashedly modest and enjoying himself with a razor-sharp mind. He is clear and straightforward and does not want a great representative to concern himself with nuts and bolts. It was dear to his subordinates. He is respected by his staff because some bosses are respected anywhere. He was always confident in his subordinates. As the days passed, his enthusiasm for his work grew.
Perfect, he has great aesthetic knowledge. His friends knew that in the intimacy of personal friendship, his charm was almost feminine. He has that magnetism, which makes people work for him more than the general conscience. He was also a tough taskmaster and hard on himself.
He was deeply educated, widely cultivated, and a mill-breed of intellectual power. He is also learning at the age of 87. He loves books, loves literature. Both his home and office are still friendly happy places to visit.
Although he is strong, he is not stubborn. And always ready to see the perspective of others. His unwavering reputation for integrity and his insatiable ability to function will amaze many. He had the courage and undeniable dedication to the interests of the organizations he worked for. I am not saying that Kondal Rao is a man without flaws.
He had them, but these were nothing compared to the extraordinary qualities of the head and heart he had. Upon his retirement as director of the Telugu Academy, Vishwanatha Sahitya Peetham was restored to the multilingual quarterly journal Jayanthi.
He has brought special editions of Jayanti on Pattabhi, Pablo Neruda, Sadhanasiva, Si Narayana Reddy and many others. He translated Balagangadhara Tilak’s ‘Amritam Kurisina Nathi’ into English and Telugu Tagore Geetanjali. He published a number of his poems and became a crusader against the introduction of Telugu as a teaching medium in Telangana state schools.