CHARLES PHILIP BROWN, popularly known as C.P.Brown was the first Ideologist to publish Telugu classics with commentaries. He collected large number of palm-leaf manuscripts from remote corners of the Telugu country. He had in his pay about 20 pandits in transcribing native authors, in preparing correct editions, in framing indexes and commentaries. By providing much needed historical and rational outlook, he gave new insights to the pandits who worked with him. He didn’t confine his labors to the growth of the literary dialect. He was concerned with the much neglected spoken dialect, and tried to affect a synthesis between them and foster the democratic processes that were long absent in the Telugu literary scene.
He devoted all his spare time to Telugu and spent every farthing of his earnings for the revival and promotion of Telugu language and literature. C P Brown may be aptly described as father of Renaissance in Telugu.
During 1826 while he was working in kadapa ,He bought a bungalow with a garden attached to it(15 acres) which he kept for himself for more than a decade. A portion of the bungalow was rented out while another was kept for a retinue of pandits.He was paying salaries from his private sources for preparing correct manuscript versions of Telugu kavyas after collecting several palm-leaf copies.
In course of his study of Telugu classics, he observed “Books alone will not teach the living language. I therefore studied the everyday dialect in police office or in the court where I presided. There cannot be a better school and whenever I had a conversation with a plaintiff , witness or prisoner or with a learned native judge or an ignorant menial, every one became my teacher for the time.”
He employed native authors in preparing correct editions, in framing indexes or commentaries in Telugu.
He translated 1,200 verses of Yogi Vemana and published them in 1829. Brown’s magnum opus was his dictionaries, Telugu-English, English-Telugu and mixed dialects in 1852. His dictionaries are still considered as standard and are often reprinted.
While his monthly salary was Rs 500, he had spent Rs 2,714 on the fair copy of Mahabharata(Telugu), which amounts to a hard-earned five month salary.
He made a valuable collection of documents, extracts from newspapers and research material ruining to 34 volumes of over 20,000 pages which he donated to India office library. He gave 5,751 manuscripts to Government oriental manuscript Library, Madras.
Being surprised to find the spelling of Cuddapah unphonetic and illogical he spelt it in his manuscript note as ‘Cadapa’, ’Kadapa’.
He resigned from service in 1855 and left for London. He was regarded as a living authority on India. CPBrown died on Dec 12,1884.
CPBrown was the first man and perhaps the only notable foreigner, who paved the way for “the European method of study” in Andhra for subsequent generation of writers and critics to follow. To perpetuate the memory of the great savant of Telugu Literature a library building was constructed in Kadapa on the very site of Brown’s bungalow known in those days as “Brown’s college”.
“Brown was a restless pandit”
– Dr. Janamaddi Hanumath Sastry, Kadapa