K. Ranganatha Rao
K. Ranganatha Rao was one of the richest and most cultured men of the Maharashtra Community. He was the son of Krishna Rao, who is remembered even now in Kumbakonam on account of the Agraharam which he had built and which is therefore named after him.
Ranganatha Rao graduated from the Government College, Kumbakonam in his twentieth year, but he did not care to enter service. He lived a very happy and contented life, devoting all his energies for the encouragement of learning, both eastern and western. He was very fond of Sanskrit and gave suitable presents to those who were proficient in the Vedas, Shastras and Puranas. He was quick to find out talent though lodged in obscure corners and many a poor student whom he had fed and clothed cherishes his memory with gratitude and reverence.
He was a good scholar in Sanskrit and Marathi, and was for several years Examiner to the Madras University (besides being a member of the Board of Studies) in those subjects.
He was a devout Bhakta, very fond of Bhajanas and Kirtans. Several Marathi Kirtans were given in his house by distinguished Kirtankars. He has also built a large and beautiful temple on the banks of the Cauvery, dedicated to Vitoba and Rakhumayee; and endowed it with sufficient landed property for its permanent upkeep.
On account of his innate modesty, he never cared to come out in the limelight. Yet he was nominated Member of the Kumbakonam Municipality for more than one term. He was also a member of the Town High School Committee and worked as its Secretary for quite a long period.
Once when the River Cauvery was in floods, he prevented the water from overflowing into the town by putting up a high sand embankment and for this piece of public service he got the thanks of the District Collector.
He died suddenly of heart failure without a moment of suffering in 1912, before he entered his sixtieth year.
His two sons, K.R. Raghunatha Rao (who is a Life Member of the M.E.F.) and K.R. Ramachandra Rao have been conducting the family charities on even a more extensive scale than before, and leading exemplary lives. Such people form the salt of the Earth.