My elder brother Pratap and me (Rudra) come together as Prataparudra. Does that name sound familiar to you? My father taught Indian History all his life and he was clearly inspired by the names of the legendary figures found in our history books. He selected names to reflect his admiration for people who lived before and who had established a glorious period in the collective memory of Indians.
My elder brother got his name Pratap to remind us of the bravery of Rana Pratap who challenged the Mughal emperor Akbar.
Telugu people also take pride in the legacy of the great Kakatiya Dynasty that ruled much of the Telugu speaking areas in 12th century A.D. The famous Thousand-Pillar Temple in Hanamkonda near Warangal was built in 1162 A.D. by the Kakatiya king Rudra Deva (1158-1195 A.D.) who is also known as Prataparudra I. One of the few queens in Indian history and a most prominent ruler of Kakatiya Dynasty was Rani Rudrama Devi (1262-1295 A.D.). Her grandson, Prataprudra ascended the throne in 1280 A.D. During his reign, art and literature flourished. The conquest of South India (Deccan) by the Delhi Sultanate started in 1296 by Alauddin Khilji. The first invasion in 1303 A.D. was repulsed by the valiant resistance of the Kakatiya army. The Khilji dynasty ended and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ascended the Delhi throne in 1320 A.D. The first attack by Muhammad bin Tughlaq was repulsed. During 1321 A.D. after an initial failed attempt, a much larger force attacked the Warangal Fort for the second time and finally King Prataparudra was taken prisoner. While being taken as a prisoner to Delhi, King Prataparudra released his life into the loving embrace of River Narmada and preserved his dignity. Maharana Pratap, Chatrapati Shivaji and King Prataparudra are our national heroes because of their resistance to foreign rulers and occupation.
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE: Who you are (your essence) is defined by what you do (your existence). King Prataprudra desired to exist as a man of honor and integrity and defended the dignity of his existence and did not desire to yield his dignity to keep his existence. Indian tradition makes a distinction between the Subjective Reality of Existence and the Objective Reality of Existence. The Subjective Reality of King Prataprudra who was taken as a prisoner by his enemy was not consistent with the Objective Reality of Existence of King Prataprudra as defined by his nature. The King took the extreme measure to destroy the reality of his subjective existence as a prisoner and upheld the true nature of his essence which was consistent with the Objective Reality of his existence. By killing the prisoner, the King became an immortal individual. The prisoner had died and the King lives in the hearts of Telugu people.
Our names have stories to tell and guide us to revisit the history and we take pride in our Telugu heritage.