Kodi Ramamurthy Naidu (1882–1942), also known as Prof. Rammurty and Ram Murti Naidu, was an Indian bodybuilder who earned enormous respect for India in the field of wrestling. Originally hailing from town Veeraghattam in Srikakulam District Andhra Pradesh.
Rammurthy joined a fitness centre in Vizianagaram and learnt kusthi, a type of wrestling. His uncle Kodi Narayana Swamy, sent him to another fitness centre in Madras. He returned to Vizianagaram after one-year training and joined as a physical training instructor at a college of the state. He was a strict vegetarian and the Andhra Pradesh government devoted a chapter in the Telugu text books about the prominence of gaining strength purely based on plant based protein.
In 1911 he went to Madras and showed his skills of breaking steel chains, stopping motor cars and allowing elephant to pass over his chest before the public and government authorities. He was awarded there the title of Indian Sandow for his excellence.
Circus Company that changed his life
He established a circus company at Vizianagaram with the help of his friend, Potti Panthulu. His uncommon feats attracted people from all over the country. He used to break an iron chain tied to his body by taking a deep breath and flexing his muscles. Iron chains would be tied to his shoulders and the other ends were tied to two cars and used to stop them. He took an elephant on his chest and held it for five minutes.
Step towards the Success
The Viceroy of British India, Lord Minto, experienced Ramamurthy’s strength, when he tried to drive his car with Rammurthy holding it back with iron chains. His fame spread across the length and breadth of the country after this incident.
He demonstrated his skills at the Indian National Congress meeting in Allahabad. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya encouraged him to perform his feats abroad and sent his team to London.
King George and Queen Mary were impressed with his feats and gave him the title Indian Hercules after watching his display of physical strength at Buckingham Palace.
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He was the first Indian to be so honoured by the royal couple. When he put before them the historical facts of Bhima of Mahabharata and compared it with those of Greek Hercules and Prussian Sandow, the King awarded him another more prestigious title of Kaliyuga Bhimato him.
This great bodybuilder performed impressive feats like stopping two cars(driving on two different directions) of 25 horse power at high acceleration, breaking iron chains (of half inches) and holding an elephant leg on his chest, as well as juggling elephant babies with weights attached to them. He also performed in France, Germany, Japan and Spain.
Love Towards The Country
Ramamurthy was attracted towards the freedom movement through B. Chandrayya Naidu, who used to organise tribal youths against the British rulers. He earned crores of rupees through his circus company but spent a large amount of his wealth on charity and for the Freedom movement of India.
A statue of him is erected on the Beach Road of Visakhapatnam. Another statue is also situated in his home town Veeraghattam and also in his home district of Srikakulam. Kodi Rammurthy Stadium has been named after him.
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