"దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స" - తుళువ రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
"dESa bhAshalaMdu telugu lessa" - tuLuva rAju SrI kRshNadEvarAya
Telugu is the sweetest among all languages of the Land - Great Tuluva Emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya, 16th Century

తెలుగు మాట...తేనె ఊట
TELUGU...a language sweeter than honey

మంచిని పంచుదాము వడపోసిన తేనీటి రూపం లో
తేనెకన్న మంచిదని తెలుగును చాటుదాము వేనోల్ల
ఇదే నా ఆకాంక్ష, అందరి నుంచి కోరుకునె చిరు మాట

"TELUGU - Italian of the East" - Niccolo Da Conti, 15th Century


"సుందర తెలుంగిళ్ పాటిసైతు" - శ్రీ సుబ్రహ్మణ్య భారతి
"suMdara teluMgiL paaTisaitu" - SrI subrahmaNya bhArati
Let us sing in Sweet Telugu - Tamil poet Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, 20th Century

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Titan gets his dues

C Mrunalini

Telugus are generally pulled up for not having a sense of pride in their culture. They don’t do enough to preserve the contributions of their cultural or literary figures. This observation is not far from the truth, but a few of the present generation are making sincere efforts to hand on the literary legacy of Telugu stalwarts to future generations. One such attempt appears in the form of anthologies of published and unpublished works of great Telugu writers, which also put them in a historical perspective. The work of Sri Sri, considered the greatest modern Telugu poet, was preserved in many volumes by his friend Chalasani Prasad. The latest one to hit the stands in this endeavour is an exhaustive and heavy (literally and figuratively) book on రచకొండ విశ్వనాధ శాస్త్రి (Rachakonda Viswanatha Sastry) (1,372 pages) by Manasa Publications. This eminent writer was born on July 30, 1922, and died on November 30, 1993.

Raavi Sastry, as he is fondly referred to, was a writer who got away with incomplete novels on more than one occasion. Readers waited with bated breath for the second part of his Raju-Manishi and Rattalu-Rambabu, but did not actually mind his not writing them ever. They went back to the first part and relished it again. He was a master of characterisation and style and could convey more in a single sentence than a lesser writer might in a whole story. He was a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and right up there with the best in every category. He was a man who knew his genres, who knew what he wanted to write and how he wanted to write. He was not a writer who assumed content was enough, that form would take care of itself. He placed great emphasis on form and created a novel or a short story that was impossible to imitate or emulate. An anthology such as this is valuable because it traces the evolution of a writer, from one who enjoyed writing sex-and-thrill stuff as a teenager to one who became a committed Marxist novelist.

Raavi Sastry was a humanist to the core. He himself was a part of the legal system that worked better for the rich. He took up the cause of the poor both in his life and his writings. Most of his short stories and novels described the exploitation of the poor by middlemen, the flourishing trade of the bootleggers, the lumpen class and the innocence of the common man. His skill as a writer lay in his unwavering commitment to the downtrodden and an extraordinary command of language and style. His language was a combination of realism and grandeur, a feat that none in modern Telugu could match. Though his subjects were serious (how money power and muscle power ruin the poor and disadvantaged) his tone was often satirical, and he used both the regional dialect and scholarly tone with equal felicity. It made for a deadly combination, with the people whom he was deriding themselves enjoying the portrayals. The influences he acknowledged were many, ranging from Charles Dickens to Chekov to Sri Sri to James Joyce. But the end product was his own, where you found few traces of any influence. A spontaneous writer, he has been sometimes accused of making all his characters talk like him (an allegation not without foundation). Whatever his faults, his impact on the reader is undeniable.

In his short stories, he comes out alternately as sensitive and a satirical; in his novels he is a hard-hitting Marxist philosopher and he is at ease in every genre. He has been translated into English, though his style does not lend itself to translation. Of course, the translations do give a glimpse of his genius as a prose writer and his commitment to an egalitarian society. His quote, “a coward can never become a good human being. You need to be brave to be good” is one of my personal favourites in Telugu.

C Mrunalini is a well-known writer of short stories, a translator and a critic
mrunalini8@gmail.com

Courtesy: NewIndPress


Want your own TELUGU BLOG?
Get it today!
Click here for a step by step guide to blogging in 'Italian of East'


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home