Pampa’s writings throw new light on Telugu

Pampa wrote Jinendra Puranam in Telugu in Bodhan in Nizamabad in the 10th century, a text on the Jain religion.

Published: 14th Dec 2017   11:43 pm

Nizamabad: The Union government recently was reluctant to accord ancient language status to Telugu because of the argument that Telugu inscriptions were not older than 1,000 years, and because Telugu Aadikavi Nannaya lived in the 11th century and wrote the Andhra Mahabharatam, which also was not more than 1,000 years old.

However, all this changed after it was found that Pampa, considered one of the three major poets of Kannada, authored Jinendra Puranam in Telugu in Bodhan in Nizamabad district in the tenth century, a text on the Jain religion, and some poems (Kanda padyalu) were found at the Kurikyala inscription at Bommalagutta of Gangadhara mandal in erstwhile Karimnagar district, which were found to have been composed by none other than Pampa’s brother Jina Vallabhudu.

In the backdrop of these developments, the Telangana government submitted the ‘Kurikyala’ inscription to the Union government for according ancient language status to Telugu so that it would help the two Telugu States. The Kanda Padyalu (poems) in the Kurikyala inscriptions throw light on Jainism.

Samadhi in Bodhan

Pampa Kavi's grave at Bodhan.
Pampa Kavi’s grave at Bodhan.

It is believed that Pampa Kavi lived between 902 AD and 975 AD, and was an expert in poetry, music, medicine, economics and philosophy, and he knew Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit and Marathi. Born in a Brahmin family at Anageri in Karnataka, Pampa is believed to have shifted to Bodhan at a young age, embraced Jainism and lived his entire life in Bodhan. His samadhi also has been found in Bodhan. A contemporary of the Chalukya king Arikesary, who ruled this area from both Vemulawada and Bodhan towns as capitals, Pampa was the court poet. The king gifted the Dharmapuri agraharam to Pampa and also gave him the title ‘Kavita Gunandava’.

Pampa wrote poetry in both Kannada and Telugu. In Kannada, he composed the ‘Aadi Puranam’ and Mahabharatam under the title of ‘Vikramarjuna Vijayam’ and ‘Jinendera Puranam’ in Telugu. On the basis of the ‘Kurikyala sculpture’ Telugu is pitching for obtaining ancient language status. Aadi Kavi Nannaya belonged to the 11th century and Pampa was born in the 10th century, some 100 years earlier than Aadi Kavi Nannaya. The people of this area want the government to conduct in-depth research on Pampa Kavi and accord him his proper place in Telugu literature.

Recognition sought

Triveni, Associate Professor of Telugu in Telangana University, said that on the basis of the Kurikyala inscriptures and Pampa Kavi’s samadhi in Bodhan it was clear that Pampa Kavi belonged to the 10th century, and the Telangana government should recognise Pampa as one of the Aadi kavis of Telugu.