‘దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స‘ ‘Amongst the languages of the land Telugu is the best’ – This ‘poetic statement’, adage or saying – whatever one may call it – has been in existence since long and it has been popularly believed to have been told by Sri Krishnadevaraya, the most famous, revered and loved king of all the kings of the Vijayanagar dynasty. The popularity of this saying as belonging to Sri Krishnadevaraya is too strong and too unshaken that even after finding of the poetic work kriiDaabhiraamaM (in which this statement first appeared) in the year 1909 by one of the most revered of personalities concerned with literary research in Telugu language Late Sri Manavalli Ramakrishna kavi (popularly known among the literary circles as ‘kavi gaaru’) from the ‘palm leaf’ bundles of works of ancient Telugu literature protected and kept in the ‘Saraswati Mahal Library’ of Tanjavur, one of the oldest libraries in Asia, that was established during the reign of the Maratha king Serfoji Maharaj (1798-1832).
In the above poem, it was VinukonDa Vallabharaaya who first made the generally accepted fact into a well organized poetic statement.
Sri Krishnadevaraya, out of his well evident liking for Telugu language had composed another poem by merging the statement into even more dignified and royal context that was in more fittingly natural agreement with his day to day life in the royal court among the learned poets and lesser kings of areas peripheral to his kingdom, who used to obey his orders and act as subordinates. I think it is this royal milieu and the grandness of context that has made this statement still to be read and linked with the name of Sri Krishnadevaraya, probably more as a gratitude for all the grand days of decades of life he had presented to the Telugu people in general, during his glorious rule that stretched two decades from 1509 to 1529 AD.