Tag Archives: Culture

Personalities: Vasantaraya

lakumadevi1
Source: Vasantarajeeya book, via Spandana

Those of you following us on our All-India site, Indic Civilizational Portal, would have seen our article on Vasant Utsav. Well, it just so happens that Andhra had a king who became so identified with the festival, he took his name after it.

The next installment in our Continuing Series on Andhra Personalities is none other than King Kumaragiri Reddi, better known as:  Vasantaraya.

Background

Kumaragiri Reddi (1386-1403 CE) was the son of Anavota I. He succeeded his uncle Anavema after the latter’s highly successful reign as the greatest king of the dynasty. “The Anaparti grant, his earliest extant record, dated in S.1312/1390 A.D., says that he had, by that year, friendly relations with the kings of the north, east, south and west. ” [1, 122] His reign is generally considered to have run from 1386 to 1403,

The family tree of the Reddi dynasty also plays an important part in the fate of the Kingdom. As previously discussed, there were 3 main families that decided its fate: the descendants of Prolaya Vema Reddi, Maacha I, and Kataya Reddi.  Thus we see that “Kumaaragiri’s succession to the throne was not a smooth and peaceful one and that he had to fight for it.” [1,122]

ReddiRajyamGenealogy

The “rival claimants to the throne might have been his cousins, Vema and Maaca, sons of Peda Komati, and grandsons of Maaca I, brother of Prolaya Vema.”[1,123]

Despite being known more as a man of culture and less as a warrior-general, it is said that…

Kumaaragiri fought successful wars with the kings of the west, north and east, that is, probably with Vijayanagar, Raajakonda and Kalinga respectively. [1, 126]

Either way, the meteoric expansion of the Reddi dynasty that occurred under Kataya Vema’s generalship, also led to its later contraction and final division and downfall. The campaigns of this era, therefore, are better attributed to Kataya than Kumaragiri, and should be described under his account, focusing on Vasantaraya today.

Vasantaraya

A man of pleasure, learning, and celebration, Kumaragiri revived the ancient Vasantha Utsavam (spring festival).

There was a great carnival and the King would go to a park specially decorated for Vasant. There would be a pandal for Kama and Rati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Siva and Sakti, and Sachi and Indra. Perfumes such as camphor, musk, civet, saffron, sandal were used, rosewater was freely sprinkled on people along with water mixed with turmeric. A bamboo water soaker was used (like pichkaris in holi). “The sport included sprinkling and scattering of various powders, coloured and un-coloured, perfumed and non-perfumed, and sandal paste. Camphor pieces and powder were showered on the crowds” [1, 358] People mixed freely and the Reddi kings, especially Karpoora-Vasantharaya, gave it royal grandeur.

He generally left administration to his brother-in-law, Kataya Vema Reddi, to pursue artistic and literary interests.

He was a great lover of music and dance and studied all the old works on dance written by Bharataacaaryas and dance-experts and produced a comprehensive work on that art called Vasantaraajeeya after his own name.  [1,145]

The sanskrit treatise on dance was called Vasantarajeeya as he was called Vasantaraya. A man of art and aesthetics was naturally a great lover of loveliness. He was said to have been enamoured by the narthaki Lakumadevi, who was a stunning beauty. The love story between the two is a touching tragedy, as recounted here, but is nevertheless symbolic of the sacrifice and burdens of ruling a kingdom.

Due to varied attacks from the Bahmanis, Recherlas, and Vijayanagara Emperors, Kumaragiri had many threats to face.  Kumaragiri eventually elevated Kataya Vema to generalissimo.

They were simultaneously attacked by the Gajapatis who were defeated outside of Viharanagari or Kridaad. Vijayanagara also attacked and occupied a portion of the south. Kumaragiri also had to face a rebellion by the Kandukuru branch, and prince Komati Reddi, son of Maacha I occupied territories as far as Tenali in Guntur district. [1, 148]

An invasion by the Bahmanis, under Firuz Shah, threatened the Reddi kingdom in 1398 C.E. “Gajaraavu Tippaa Naayaka, a distinguished noble of the kingdom, appears to have defeated the muslims on the plain outside the town of Kambamumetta and driven them back.” [1,147]

A matrimonial alliance was concluded with Vijayanagara, and Kataya Vema was given Harihara Raya’s daughter (Hariharamba) in marriage. This would have ramifications on the Reddi Kingdom in a few years. Kataya Vema would go on to make conquests in the East and expand the dynasty’s direct rule to Rajamahendri.

As mentioned previously, the campaigns to Bengal are better discussed in future articles. Nevertheless, Kumaragiri’s military commanders such as Kataya Vema and Allaya Reddi are said to have taken Vasantaraya’s banner to central and eastern India. Another name that bears mention is Ariyeti Annamantri (from the family of Musunuri fame). He was appointed governor of the fort of Bendapudi.

Kumaragiri’s only son and viceroy at Rajamahendravaram, Anavota II, died prematurely, some time around the year 1395. He therefore appointed his brother-in-law and prime minister Kaataya Vema the Raajamendri Rajya ruler, out of gratitude for recovering southern territories from Vijayanagara. “This step caused considerable discontent in the country and we cannot call Kumaaragiri’s action exactly wise. Kaataya Vema, always had many bitter opponents in the court. Peda Komati Vema and his supporters had always looked askance at his achievements; and their jealousy and resentment at this signal recognition by their king, of this daring rival of theirs must have been impossible to bear.” [1,146]

This led to an internecine dispute within the dynasty, and Pedda Komati Vema took back the throne for the main line of Reddis and drove away Kumaragiri, who took refuge in Kataya Vema’s court at Rajamahendri. This also led to division of the Reddi kingdom, and courts at Rajamahendravaram and Kondaveedu warred with each other. Kumaragiri Vijayam, rather ironically, marks his reign.

Vasantaraya’s rule ended under his viceroy’s protective care. King Kumaragiri passed away in 1402 C.E., with no heirs.

Achievements

HoliHai

While the Reddi Kings traditionally had reputations as warrior-generals and as defenders of Dharma, King Kumaragiri demonstrated the softer power of culture that they also wielded. If Kataya Vema represented the Vaana (bow) of his reign, Kumaragiri represented the Veena (lute).

Perhaps nothing showed this more than the Vasanta Utsava from which Vasantaraya takes his name. Although this title was also attributed to his predecessor, it is Kumaragiri who truly owned it. The enthusiasm with which he celebrated that festival, rightly earned him the title of Vasantaraaya, which was later embellished to Karpoora-Vasantaraaya by the generous quantities of camphor he scattered among people during this festival. [1, 145]

  • Celebrated and Revived the ancient Spring Festival known as Vasant Utsav
  • Well-read Sanskrit scholar and authority on dance and music
  • Composed a respected Sanskrit text on Dance called Vasantarajeeya (now lost).
  • Brought the Reddi Dynasty to new cultural heights, with not only learned Brahmanas but the Aristocracy and the King himself actively leading literary and musical accomplishment
  • Gave patronage to a large circle of cultural exemplars, such as poet Annaya, son of Pinnaya, son of Manuma Durgasuddhi.
  • Presided over the most widespread, successful campaigning of the Reddi Kingdom, with commanders such as Kataya Vema and Allaya Reddi. Under him, Coastal Andhra arms reached as far as Odisha, Bengal and Jharkhand.
  • Led a building programme which beautified Kondaveedu and constructed many structures such as the grha-raja samjhanam, dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Legacy

Image result for kumaragiri reddy

Kumaragiri’s rule is recorded in the work Kumaragiri Vijayam. From his brave biruda-rahatta (knights-cavaliers) to his love for Lakumadevi to his Vasantarajeeya to his revival of the Vasant Utsava, Vasantaraya’s reign truly represented the noon-tide of the Reddi Rajyam: Romantic Age of Andhra.

King Kumaragiri was freed from burden of ruling & became a lover of music & arts. He was an artist (kalaavan) in every sense. “Vasantaraaya (another name of Kumaaragiri) constructed many pleasure houses (leelagrhaan) with gold and precious stones, a lofty palatial mansion, termed grharaaja-prasada with pinnacles (prasaadam-unnata-sikha griharaaja-samjnam), pleasure-ponds (kreedaasaraamsi) and pleasure-chariots (keli-radhaan), and sported with his beloved women (priyaabhih).” [1,449]

Despite the cultural accomplishment of Vasantaraya, his reign shows the dangers of a king completely outsourcing administrative responsibility to his Prime Minister and other officials. Kataya Vema was a skilled general and brave warrior, but his own ambition for power led to the break up of the Reddi kingdom. The Antar-yuddham or Civil War in which it was plunged in the later part of King Kumaragiri’s reign demonstrated this danger.

The Reddi kingdom split up in 1402 CE, with Pedda Komati Vema taking the throne of Kondaveedu from Kumaragiri, who fled to Rajamahendri. While Kumaragiri nominally ruled, it was Kataya Vema who was the real power behind the throne. It was thus natural that after Kumaragiri’s passing, that Kataya Vema would formalise his bid for power. Despite his loyalty to Kumaragiri, once the way was clear, he would make his own claim to the throne, and the warring of the Reddi kingdoms made the downfall of both inevitable.

In the succeeding decades, Vijayanagara would swallow up Kondaveedu and the Gangas of Odisha would take over Rajamahendravaram. Kumaragiri may not be directly to blame for this outcome, but his reign shows the danger of a king retiring completely from administration and becoming too dependent on ministers, and especially, prime ministers.

Nevertheless, Kumaragiri will remain Vasantaraya in the hearts of Andhras, not only for reviving this great festival, with which he is identified, but for truly making the Reddi Rajyam the Romantic Age of Andhra.

References:

  1. M.Somasekhara Sarma. History of the Reddi Kingdoms.Delhi:Facsimile Publ. 2015.
  2. Rao, P.R. History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh: From the earliest times to 1991. Delhi: Sterling. 1994
  3. http://gloriousindianpast.blogspot.com/2016/01/lakuma-devi.html
  4. Prasad, Durga. History of the Andhras. P.G. Publishers. 1988

Personalities: Prolaya Vema Reddi

ProlyaVemaReddi

Those of you following us on twitter would have read our tweets on the Reddi Kings (storified for you here: Reddi Rajyam — Romantic Age of Andhra). This dynasty of rulers has a special place in the heart of Telugus. It was an era of romance, of great kings feuding, and chivalrous knights clashing, and it truly was an age of romantic poetry.

It was the mighty personality of Prolaya Vema Reddi who made this all possible. The title he took is emblematic of the spirit of Andhra he embodied ‘Mlechchhabdi Kumbhodbhava’ (Agastya to the Ocean of the Mlechchhas)“. He proved a successful successor to the Legacy of Saka-pallava-yavana-nisudhana.

Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty would similarly defend Andhra when faced with foreign invasions. Both the rulers of Amaravati and Addanki respectively would preside over a cultural flowering as well. While the Satavahanas would become veritable all-India emperors, the Reddi kings of the coast are notable for a different type of emperor they produced—a Kavi Sarvabhauma named Srinatha. And it all began with Prolaya Vema Reddi, one of our Great Andhra Personalities.

Background

Malampalli Somesekhara Sarma garu provides the following etymology for the Reddis. Noting their erstwhile connection with the Rashtrakutas or Rattas, he writes that the term Desati was a form of Desarattodi. This word is found in the copper grants of the Eastern Chalukya king Ammaraja Vijayaditya VI. Rattodi then became Rattadi, Ratti and Raddi. Desarattodi in turn transformed to Desarattadi, Desaratti and Desatti. [3, 56] Reddi nobles are considered to have come from towns like Simhavikramapuri (Nellore), Duvooru, and Gandavaram.

During the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty, Reddis became administrators and even mahasamantas, governing tracts of the Telugu desa. The Kondaveeti Dandakavile and the kaifiyat intimate that Donti was the family name of this particular clan of Reddis, or atleast one of its affiliate branches. They are said to have found a treasure and then migrated to Hanumakonda, the preceding capital of the Kakatiyas.[3, 53] Elsewhere, specifically in the Kasikhandam and Bhimesvara Puranam of Srinatha, we find the surname Desati attached to them. Nevertheless, this family  became influential in the united Andhra desa.

One of the 77 Nayaks of Mahamandalesvara Prataparudra Kakatiya II was Prolaya Reddi (his wife was Annemamba). Prolaya’s father Vema was the Vamsakarta and his grandfather was Kaamabhupa. [3, 48 ] Members of this clan were also noted for their service under the Telugu Chodas of Nellore. This connection would become important when the dynasty rose to power. But it is his son who would become the most famous of the dynasty: Prolaya Vema Reddi, whose leadership ran from 1325-1353.

ReddiRajyamGenealogy
[4, 215]
The Fall of Warangal in 1323 led to terrible consequences. Not only did the Kakatiya dynasty end, but all of united Andhra desa, from Telangana to Rayalaseema to Kosta suffered under the depredations of the Delhi Turks. The Tughluqs committed terrible atrocities, creating the conditions for the successful Andhra Liberation War. While Prolaya Vema Reddi may have revolted as early as 1325, in 1326, a council of Nayaks was convened, and Musunuri Prola Nayaka led the cause, with his cousin Kapaya successfully retaking Warangal just a few short years following its fall. After Andhradesadeesvara, Musunuri Kapaneedu, died in battle at Bhimesvaram, Reddi asserted independence and established his rule in Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, and Kurnool. Addanki (Ongole District) became his capital, and his kingdom soon stretched from Srisailam and Ahobilam to the borders of Tirupati.

It came into existence as the custodian of Hindu dharma and culture, and to revive the old Vedic traditions and ritual which suffered a death blow and became almost extinct under an alien rule. [3]

Prolaya Vema was the son of Prolaya Reddi, and was among the 75 subordinates of Musunuri Prola and Kapaneedu (Krishna), who successively served as Overlords of the Andhra Nayak Confederacy. Prolaya Vema as the middle of five brothers. His younger brother Malla became ruler of the subordinate branch at Kandakooru. This branch would successfully face off against Alauddin Bahman Shah, who invaded shortly after his reign began. [3, 77]

Malla Reddi, the commander of the Reddi forces drove them away after inflicting a severe defeat on the Bahmani Sultan, Ala-ud-din, and protected the Reddi kingdom. [3, 78]

Malla would go on to conquer the great Kakatiya Port of Motupalli. Prolaya Vema would strengthen his position by giving his daughter in marriage to Choda Bhima (son of Bhaktiraja.”The Reddis regarded themselves as masters of the south-eastern portion of the Kakatiya dominion extending from Srisailam in the Nandikotkur taluk of Kurnool district to the east coast.” [3, 78]This dynasty controlled 84 forts, including the legendary Kondaveedu, along with Vinukonda, Kondapalli, Bellamkonda, and Dharanikota. They also had a famous rivalry with the Recharlas of Rachakonda, traitors of Andhra who betrayed the Musunuri Nayaks and allied with the Bahmanis. While some claim the fall of Krishna Nayak’s prestige led to the Nayaks of Korukonda and the Reddis to declare sovereignty, records from the Reddi kingdom itself tell a different story.

The Kaluvaceru grant of Anitalli, dated Saka 1345 (1423 A.D.) gives a different account of Vema’s assumption of independent rule. It says that Vema, originally one of the seventy five subordinate chiefs of Kapaya Nayaka, began to rule the territory independently only after the death of his overlord. [3, 80]

In any event, the leader of the Panta Reddi clan would thus go on to establish a powerful kingdom that would culturally revive the Andhras of the Coast, and protect them from Turk depredations for a century.

Achievements

A staunch Hindu devoted to Dharma, Prolaya Vema patronised the Hindu religion as well as the Telugu language. After liberating coastal Andhra from the criminal regime of the Tughluq Turks, he restored Agraharas to Brahmanas and re-consecrated Temples desecrated by the Delhi sultans. Prolaya’s patronage extended to the famous Errana (Erra Pragada) who finally completed that masterpiece of Telugu literature, Andhra Mahabharatamu.

A dutiful and considerate ruler, Prolaya was also known for planting trees on the edges of roads and digging wells for the benefit of journeymen.

Kondaveedu

  • Revolted against Delhi Turks. Became one of the Commanders who liberated Andhra
  • Founded the Reddi Kingdom
  • Built or renovated 84 forts according to tradition
  • Constructed the great Fortress of Kondaveedu, which would later serve as capital
  • Gave 44 Agraharas to Brahmins who had been dispossessed by Tughluq Turks
  • Built temples and constructed tanks and replenished treasuries
  • Set up feeding houses and drinking water sheds.
  • He also planted numerous flower and fruit gardens for the public.

Legacy

ReddyRajyam

The Panta clan of Reddis would set up and rule three different kingdoms at Kondaveedu, Rajamahendravaram, and Kandookuru. There were three main families, with Prolaya Vema’s being the senior one, but Allaya Reddi’s (Donti family) and Kataya Vema Reddi‘s also being influential. These would all inter-marry, along with the Suryavamsa Kshatriya family of Choda Bhaktiraja (relations of the once Telugu Choda Kings of Nellore).

Vema ruled his new principality very ably and justly. He strove hard to relieve the brahman and the peasant from their miserable plight and to give them protection and every facility to follow their own pursuits and professions, unmolested by foreign aggression and internal disorders. He thereby rightly earned the title dharmapratishtanaguru, the revered that established the dharma. [3, 87]

He generously spent his resources to give patronage to brahmanas, as they were repositories of knowledge and custodians of Vedic rites and rituals. He is said to have given as many as 44 agraharas during his reign. Such a notable yajamana was he that he was called anavarata-purohita-krta-somapana, one who cause the purohits to take the Soma juice incessantly. [3, 88]

Interestingly, neither he nor his overlord Musunuri Kapaneedu took the traditional Royal title Mahamandalesvara, as the Kakatiyas Kings did, and as the Vijayanagara Emperors did from the beginning. Prolaya Vema Reddi contented himself with the title Srimathu.

Prolaya Vema I had three sons, Anavota I, Anamaacha, and Anavema and two daughters.  One daughter Doddamba, who married Kata Reddi II, and the other daughter married Choda Bhima, who was the son of Bhaktiraja. Anamaacha appears to have died young.

The celebrated poet Erra Pragada himself sketches an image of his patron, Prolaya Vema. The Court Poet of the first Reddi King wrote in his Harivamsam that the ruler was an expert bow-man and a great warrior. Prolaya Vema was humble and god-fearing, and a disciple of Ghodeyaraya Gangeyadeva.

Ghoderaya Gangayadeva

Members of the Ghoderaya family exercised over the Reddi kings much influence as their gurus throughout their political career.” [3, 65]

As spiritual guides and preceptors, the Ghoderayas  would have encouraged the commitment of the Reddi kings to traditional Hindu Dharma, and to the restoration of the ancient Vedic rites and rituals. Gangayadeva was considered an honest and able administrator, who himself undertook many charitable works. Nevertheless, Prolaya Vema Reddi was very much his own man.

Kondaveeti Kota Srimathu

Kondaveedu-Fort

Perhaps nothing embodied the contributions of Prolaya Vema Reddi more than the great fortress of Kondaveedu. Though Addanki was the first capital, Prolaya Vema showed great strategic foresight in recognising the need for strong fortifications from which to resist the murderous attacks of the cavalry archer Turks (Tughluq or Bahmani). Kondaveedu was the stone citadel that would be celebrated by later generations in both story and song. Truly, it was the home of the Kondaveeti Rajas.

Thus, his legacy extends from Addanki to Kondaveedu to Kandukooru to Rajamahendravaram. Coastal Andhra and even parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema saw the force of arms from this Reddi King and his successors. Some accounts assert he successfully campaigned as far as Odisha.

The valuable assistance rendered by his maternal uncles Potaya, Nagaya, and Chittaya, along with that of his brothers, showed the value of family and community unity in forging state unity. [3, 77] Each building block was a force-multiplier to the other (as Shivaji would later show in setting the stage for national unity).

Thus, the legacy of Prolaya Vema Reddi is one that extends from the great Andhra Liberation War, to the establishment of the 100 year Reddi Kingdom of Coastal Andhra, to the Cultural Revival of Andhra. Truly a great personality and a great king.

 

References:

  1. P. Ragunadha Rao. History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh.Sterling: Delhi.18
  2. Prasad, Durga. History of the Andhras. Don Bosco Press: Guntur. 1988
  3. Malampalli, Somasekhara Sarma. History of the Reddi Kingdoms.Delhi:Facsimile Publ. 2015
  4. Chitnis, Krishnaji Nageshrao. Medieval Indian History. New Delhi: Atlantic Publ. p.215

Dear Modern Girls

The following Post was composed by £avanya garu. You can follow her on Twitter.


mychoice

Dear Modern Girls,

You are a Princess of your DAD
Love of your MOM
and trust of your Brother & Sister
 
But don’t leave all these amazing roles of your life for the sake of entertaining people in society and on social media.

Do you know that due to biological clock we girls have very little time to prove ourselves as young adults. Unlike guys, we have a span of 5 years hardly. This is the time between 18-25 max you are going to choose how you want to be throughout your life. Please bear with me, but as a young woman, have to say this: Today, technology ruined many intellectual youngsters making them addicted to their smartphones and social media and socializing.

Always remember that you are very lucky to born in a society where everything is modern and top of the line whereas our parents didn’t have many facilities to plan their careers. Choose career wisely, utilize the limited time to design your life (and what will really be important in your life) instead of just copying what is popular or fashionable.

Everyone should respect us girls for who we are, but we should also respect what others do for us. After all, using facilities and enjoying hard work of parents, we just ignore their time and work. They spent all their lives for us and we just sit on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp quarreling for heroes and  publicity to get followers. And I wonder and am surprised to see few handles in Social Media like this: A girl name with some hero name.

A pity Dad doesn’t deserve to be our hero. He keeps on maintaining call balances and buying new smart phones to us by sacrificing his dreams , still we don’t care. We all need followers with some stupid publicity in the name of some hero fan. And we need an audience to clap for our stupid jokes and support us for useless topics. If any girl keeps a post or update there will be minimum 10 guys who replies and respond. Never think that they love your posts, they just love opposite sex to kill time when they are free.

The way you speak , the way you respond, the way you maintain relations and the attitude and culture you project tells about you and is what brings respect to you in every place.

durgadance

Stop entertaining every one, which is useless. As I first mentioned, you are the princess of your Dad, but unfortunately your actions make you an entertainment piece of many people on social media. Bad publicity is not something that works out for everyone. And remember it brings so much damage to your Character, which can’t be easily repaired. You may start with innocent intentions, but there are many dangerous people who pretend to love you online or in real life, but really wish to use you or even hurt you. They promise you the world and give you hell. Whereas our parents and siblings may speak harshly to us, but only want our safety.

Some poor girls may not have security in their own home due to bad family members, but most of us are fortunate in family. In seeing so many crimes around the world, we are very lucky to have such amazing parents, giving us everything that we want. Try not to spoil everything by fake relations, fake friends, and temporary thrills, and don’t get in to unnecessary trouble. At least we should try to be careful and keep within decency. Recently I came across one issue of a girl complaining that some guy is harassing on phone. I just want to know why we need to share our personal numbers to strangers on social media? Just for matter of two to three months, a person cannot be a trusted friend. Don’t you know that…seriously? Many times no one is going to help you in any troubles. You must stand yourself to survive. You should tell your parents or at least some family/friends, even they may not be able to help sometimes. Better to be safe than sorry. Be safe, girl.

Don’t take everything as a Point of MY CHOICE my life as some silly celebrities release videos. Our choice is our own—not what some stupid page 3 person or pop star tells us. Our choice need to keep us high but not drag us down to low levels where we lose respect and get treated as useless…and more importantly, feel worthless. Think for yourself. From a baby girl to middle aged woman, women must be careful not just in India but even in the Developed places like Europe. No matter where you go or travel,  be smart and at least try not to create problems by yourself. If you wear skimpy clothes, don’t demand that guys look at you as though you were his mother or sister. Even a girl can’t see a baby boy and grown up without clothes in the same way.

Be strong women, powerful women. But respect starts with Self-Respect.

A man should behave within his limits no matter what, but a girl should ask what image she wants to project. Our environment is meant to be fully covered, scientifically and traditionally from ages. How you dress for your husband and how you dress for others are two different things. It is possible to be fashionable without being foolish.  It is not just “My life, my rules, My choice!”.

Yes, it is your choice, but choices have consequences. Choose wisely.

Yes, men have their Dharma to women (men need to do better here though),
……………………………………but we women also have our Dharma.

Yes, we should have fun, but we should also remember our responsibilities.

Yes, we sometimes want to relax, but we each have some talent/potential to develop.
sarasvativeena

One last word:  Take it from a young woman who knows and can give good advice. Get knowledge and entertainment from social media, but don’t just remain as entertainment piece in social media. You’re not going to be a queen of hearts if you have 5k or 20k followers writing bad talk. You just remain as “item” or “maal” in mouths of the cheap guys who follow you.

It may hurt some, sorry for that, facts always hurt. It may hit someone in the heart, but start planning & enjoy true life. Be young, but be smart. Life was meant to be enjoyed…responsibly. We have many women role models to get inspired by,  from Rudramadevi to Indira Gandhi. Learn from them.

Live for youLive for your parentsLove your country.
Jai Bharat!!

£avanya


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Crafts: Cheriyala Paintings

cheriyalaladies

From the world of High Culture and refined Dance, we move on to the land of popular and provincial culture. Along with the Marga, we celebrate the Desi (pun intended)to connect with our roots.

Continuing our Series on Arts & Crafts , is the native ancient style of scroll painting in young Telangana State: Cheriyala.

History

CHERIYAL MAP

Originating in and concentrated around the village of Cheriyala in Warangal District, this craft grew in the heart of modern Telangana state. The rural agglomeration is located 93 kms outside the main city of the District, and is accessible by road or train.

cheriyalbalaji

At present, the dating for the technique and style is uncertain. What is known is that it is at least 500 years old (but very possibly much older). In fact…

Scroll painting is one of the ancient expressions in Telangana and dates back to Kakatiya dynasty. The genre of this painting displays the traces of the Kakatiya style of painting, seen in the 12th century wall paintings of Pillalamarri temple and hill temple of Tripurantakam. [8]

In the Pratapa Charitram, Ekamranatha notes that there were 1500 painters around Warangal.

Of late, appropriation of the traditional arts and culture of the region is being conducted by those who seem to think all things of value came from foreigners, including Cheriyala. That is the importance of this genre of painting being associated with the Kakatiyas whose rule began almost 1000 years ago (ante-dating the estimate of 500 years).

Techniques and styles and even methods may actually descend from the ancient Indic style of Pattachitra, which is still practiced in Odisha today, and was renamed as Kalamkari in the Telugu states, during the medieval period. The names may be new: Mahboobabad for Palamooru, Nizamabad for Induru,  Bhongir for Bhuvanagiri, and Kalamkari for Pattachitra, but the origins are native, as was the original fort of Gollakonda. Like Madhubhani of Bihar, and the popular art of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, these styles represent the desi  (provincial) traditions and approaches to art that date back millennia.

Historically, these painted scrolls of Cheriyala were shown to audience members while ministrels sung the genealogies of 7 local communities/castes. These were as follows: “Jaamba puraanam is performed for Maadigas by Dakkali sub caste; the Bhaavanaa Rishi and Markandeeya puraanam is performed for Padmasaalis by Kuunapuli sub caste; the madeel puraanam is shown for chakalivaallu by patamvaaru sub caste; the Gauda puraanam is performed for Gauds by Gaudajetti caste; Paandavula Katha is performed for Mudiraajs by Kaakipadagala sub caste; Addam puranam is for Mangalivaallu by addam varu; Kaatama Raju Katha is performed for Gollavallu by Mandechchuloollu. Instead of scrolls, performers in this Kaatamaraju performance use 53 dolls made by Nakashi artists“. [8]

As such, scenes from the Puranas are commonly ceremonialised in this rustic style of popular artwork. Similar, vibrantly coloured paintings can be found in Telangana’s interior (i.e. countryside Temples) even today.

Cherial paintings or scroll paintings are used by a community known as ‘kaki padagollu’ that uses this medium as a visual aid to narrate stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. [9]

Characteristics

doodoobasavanna
Doo doo Basavanna

There are in fact two crafts associated with Cheriyala. The first is the more famous scroll paintings. The second are wooden dolls and masks.

Despite being scroll paintings made of traditional materials, each one is said to last for over 150 years.

Cherial_5

The main attraction of cheriyala scroll paintings is that it is made from all natural materials, and therefore, good for the environment (as well as the heritage workers depending on the craft). The colours are very striking, and are made from water-based and earth-based ingredients.

The powder of a stone called ‘inglikum’ elevates the background in bright red colour, pevudi yellow shades, unique ‘zink white’ is used to depict pearl like ornamentations and the thick Indigo blue colours are used across the paintings making these picturesque frames theatrical representations of life. [8]

Due to the speed at which they can be created, the Cheriyala Scroll painting is a traditional Storyteller’s dream, and is used for that purpose.

Process

The canvas is made from  khadi cloth. On this, coating consisting of “a mixture of tamarind seed powder, white clay, and rice starch is applied thrice to make it stiff“. [4]

After the first coating dries, a second one is added. Gum water is also used.

Brushes made from squirrel hair are used to paint the subject proper. This results in very precise outlining that enhances the vibrancy and redolence of the artwork.

Cherial_3

As for the wooden articles, the bommas (dolls) and masks are made from sawdust, tamarind and timber. Coconut shells are also used. Similar coating is then applied.

Future

Despite the ancient history of this lovely pastoral paintings, the future is not as a bright as it should be. Although a Geographical Indicator was given to Cheriyala in 2007, the passing on of its legacy remains uncertain. To maintain an age-old art takes not only time and dedication but also patronage and popularisation. Along with traditional technique, modern marketing methods may be needed to create a demand for such supply and maintain livelihoods for such committed artisans.

Please give your patronage to these wonderful artists who preserve an integral folk tradition. We have showcased artwork from the artist run sites, who can be reached here.

It is not enough to demand government action in everything. Civil society and the people at large must back up talk with action and support the livelihood of these bearers of tradition, with whatever little they can afford to spend.

haridasucheriyal
Haridasus

Click here and buy today!

Depicting one scene in the small scrolls cost about Rs. 500, but the price increases with greater intricacy. For storytellers, the price is quoted per metre of work.“[4]

For a small investment, the livelihood of the traditional preservers of an organic art can be secured. Stories are told not only by cinema or podcast, but by the arts and the crafts. The heritage of a people is based not only in museums and art galleries, but also in the villages and huts of rural India. It is here that the beating heart of the people and their popular culture is protected and passed on for the next generation.

References:

  1. http://www.craftscouncilofindia.org/craft-process/hand-painting/
  2. http://cheriyalpaintings.blogspot.com/2016_01_01_archive.html
  3. http://www.thehindu.com/arts/crafts/scrolls-of-stories/article4098074.ece
  4. http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/curator-of-a-tradition/article5138515.ece
  5. http://www.warangalonline.in/city-guide/cheriyal-scroll-paintings
  6. http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2004/05/20/stories/2004052001190300.htm
  7. http://cheriyalpaintings.blogspot.com/2014_07_01_archive.html
  8. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/cheriyal-the-pride-of-telangana/article6596306.ece
  9. http://lepakshihandicrafts.gov.in/cherialscrollpainting.html#

Saamethalu (Telugu Proverbs) 5

saametha5

Oorkey raaru mahaanubhaavulu

Great souls do not come without reason

Parigeththi paalu taagay kantey nilabadi neellu thaagadam maylu

It is better to stand and drink water than run while drinking milk

Pandhikemi telusu panneeti viluva?

What does a pig know of perfume

Pelli antae nooraella panta

Marriage is 100 years harvest

Pilli ki bichcham veyadu

So miserly he won’t even feed his cat

Pindi koddhi rotte

Make only as many rotis as you have flour

[Live within your means]

Pitta konchem kootha ghanam

Small bird but chirps sweetly [small child, but big brains]

Potti vaaniki puttedu buddhulu

Short person, but tall talents

Pundu meeda kaaram challinatlu

Rubbing salt [or chili in this case] on wounds

Puvvu puttagaane parimalinchunu

As soon as the flower is born it’s aroma spreads. [a prodigy shows talent at a young age]

References:

  1. http://www.saamethalu.com/op.asp