The blossoming of Telugu

By Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao   |   Published: 9th Dec 2017   12:05 am Updated: 9th Dec 2017   10:16 pm

The State government decided to organise the prestigious World Telugu Conference as a memorable event to highlight the origin, evolution, growth and blossoming of Telugu language and literature in Telangana. Telugu, known as the ‘Ajanta Bhasha’, has a global appeal for its positive-sounding connotations, musical language and literary inheritance. Nicholas Conti, a noted western professor, referred to Telugu as the ‘Italian of the East’ while Subrahmanya Bharathi, a Tamil poet, described it as beautiful. Since times immemorial, Telangana has been a fertile ground for Telugu literature and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao made a statement in the Assembly to this effect.

Historical evidences prove that Telugu vocabulary has been in existence in Telangana for over 2,000 years. In fact, one can come across basic Telugu jargon in King Haala’s ‘Gaatha Sapthasathi’, that belongs to the first century. Another epigraphical evidence can be found in the ‘Jina Vallabha’ inscriptions of Bommalammagutta in Kurikyala village of Karimnagar district where the inscription contains the Kanda stanzas, an extremely popular presentation of Telugu poetry. Based on this, it is evident that Telangana, by 947 AD itself, had seen Telugu literature.

Telangana is also the birthplace of highly native experimental songs like ‘Dwipada’-the two-liners. Palkurki Somana of Palakurthy village in Jangaon district had proudly declared to the world that he would create Telugu literature by using simple indigenous words thus crowning the language.

Telangana stood at the forefront in creating various Telugu literary genres. The first Telugu composition of ‘Basava Purana’, the first-ever ‘Vrishadhipa Sataka’ and the exemplary ‘Basavodaharanam’ are invaluable works of Palkurki Somana. The varied literary experiments of Somana, in fact, became empirical for Telugu literature in due course. All these unequivocally establish Telangana as the pathfinder in the growth of Telugu literature over a period.

Gona Buddha Reddy’s ‘Ranganatha Ramayana’ is the popular Dwipada poetry (metrical poetry consisting of couplets/two feet) in simple Telugu. ‘Yayaathi Charitra’ of Ponniganti Telangana of Patancheru in Medak district was the first unadulterated form of Telugu. Similarly, Madiki Singana of Ramagiri of Peddapally district wrote the ‘Sakala Neethi Sammatham’, which was the first law book in Telugu. Likewise, Koravi Goparaju of Bhimgal in Nizamabad district compiled the first Telugu storybook ‘Simhasana Dwatrimsika’. Vemulawada Bhimakavi of Vemulawada was famous for his ‘Çhaatu Padyalu’- poetry with a hidden meaning and great entertainment value. Pillalamarri Pina Veerabhadrudu of Nalgonda district who wrote ‘Jaimini Bharatam’ declared Telugu as ‘vani naa raani’ – language my queen. King Sarvagna Singa Bhupaala of Rachakonda was known as a literary king too apart from being a ruler.

Known as the pinnacle of virtues ‘The Srimad Bhagavatham’ of Bammera Pothana is known for its divine love of eternal devotion, tender composition and beautiful grammatical style which gave it an everlasting name and fame. Bammera village today stands as a representative of rich literary heritage of Telangana. Various other genres like Dwardhi, Tyardhi, Chaturardhi, Chitra, Bandha and Avadhaana enrich Telugu with alliterations, simile, hyperbole, etc. Apart from traditional literature, Telangana is also the abode of several lively folk traditions. Telangana preserves this treasure of folk songs and folk traditions which spread the fragrance of the language. Linked to the various working classes, these songs of the rural folk are quite varied with those related to the agricultural activity and other aspects of rural life that reflect the inner beauty of humankind. Again, group songs like Bathukamma songs, Kamudii Punnama, Asoi Dhoola etc. reflect the social and cultural milieu of Telangana. All these pass on the richness of the language, literature and the usage from generation to generation. Chirutala Ramayana, Harikatha, Yakshagaanam, Oggu Kathalu, Budiga Jangala Sarada Kathalu, Baala Santhula Paatalu etc. and other expressive forms have enriched Telangana’s Telugu.

However, gloom had engulfed the hoary literary tradition of Telangana in the erstwhile State. Only a partial interpretation of the literary history was in circulation and the works of our literary giants gathered dust and remained an unknown treasure to the world. In fact, the very facts on the nativity of the like of Vemulawada Bhima Kavi and Bammera Pothana were distorted. At one point of time, an extremely skewed argument that Telangana never gave birth to any poet of repute became prevalent. It was at this juncture that an eminent historian and litterateur, Suravaram Pratapa Reddy, published an edition of ‘Golkonda Poets’ consisting of 354 poetical works by going around the nook and corner of Telangana. This was a turning point in regaining the State’s self-respect.

Maha Kavi Dasaradhi, the great poet who created profound metrical poetry like ‘Agni Dhaara’ and ‘Rudra Veena’ in an unparalleled efficacy described the land of Telangana as My Mother Telangana – ‘Naa Telangana Tally Kanjatavalli’. Raavella Venkata Rama Rao of Khammam district praised the greatness of Mother Telangana, its geographical features and riches and called it a precious heavenly garden. People’s poet Kaloji Narayana Rao not only propagated the greatness of Telangana language but also gave a befitting reply to those who were sarcastic of Telangana pronunciation.

It is against this backdrop that Telangana people revolted against discrimination in all fields to achieve the dream of separate statehood for Telangana. The State government firmly resolved to spread the greatness of Telugu language in Telangana all over the world, shaping along the lines that people dreamt of it.

It is dedicated for enriching the lives of the younger generation with the greatness of their mother tongue. Realising the need to ensure regular study, research, analysis, publishing and propagation of the richness of this language, the government established Telangana Sahitya Academy with noted Telangana poet Nandini Sidha Reddy as its Chairman. The government has recently issued orders making Telugu compulsory for all students from the primary to Intermediate level in the State. As part of its efforts to preserve and strengthen the language further, it has decided to host World Telugu Conference in a prestigious manner.

World Telugu Conference will be held under the aegis of Telangana Sahitya Academy from December 15 to December 19. The celebrations would be spread over various stadia with the Lal Bahadur Stadium as a Centre Stage whereas Ravindra Bharathi, Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium and Telugu University Auditorium will be the other places of various other programs forming part of the conference. The whole city would be decorated up with arches, gates, hoardings named after the famous literary figures who enriched not only the language but also our lives.

The government is extending a warm welcome to all admirers and enrichers of Telugu language, not only from Telangana, but also those who settled in other States and abroad. The seminars in this regard would discuss all Telugu Literary Genres threadbare. These seminars, besides recalling the past glory of the language, will analyse the present status and also throw light on the futuristic goals. This will form a basis for further research.

The cultural programmes that supplement and complement the conference will showcase the greatness of Telangana culture. A new bonhomie among the delegates who come to attend the meet from across the world is expected to blossom and brotherhood would flourish. These seminars will also introduce the Telangana literary tradition to the younger generation to spark a new interest among them to embrace the same.

The government has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 50 crore for organising the meet besides Rs 5 lakh to each district for preparatory meetings. Literary competitions to students in the fields of essay writing, debate, poetry recitation and writing in all schools, colleges and universities are in progress. In addition, preparatory meetings are being held in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.

In the days to come, more such meetings will take place in not only Andhra Pradesh but also in other States and countries where Telugus live in a substantial number. Several national-level personalities are all set to grace the inaugural and subsequent day celebrations of the conference.

Telangana Government is keen on providing the best of accommodation, food and local transport facilities, wherein every aspect reflects the Telangana uniqueness, to national and international guests. Those who are enthusiastic to take part in the conference should contact the World Telugu Conference Special Office at Ravindra Bharathi premises or register the names through the special websites.

The elected people representatives will focus on the literature that has emanated from their area and bring its uniqueness and any special works that have not seen the light of the day to the notice of the Chairman of Telangana Sahitya Academy Nandini Sidha Reddy. They can knock at the doors of the academy in Ravindra Bharathi any time and they will be heartily welcomed to bring such features into the light.

The Chief Minister, while making a statement in the Assembly, requested officials and administration, along with MLAs, to treat the conduct of the conference as a matter of prestige. The CM called upon all the literary personalities and admirers of literature to enthusiastically become a part of the Telugu Festival wholeheartedly and make the World Telugu Conference a huge success.

(Source: CM Statement in Assembly on 17th November 2017)