Tag Archives: India

Andhra: The Baahubali State

As if Mahakal himself had decided to suddenly anoint Andhra cinema with national (and international renown) back-to-back, we follow up our article on Phalke Award winner K.Viswanath garu with an article on the topic of the hour: Baahubali 2.

At first glance, some may groan saying “yet another Baahubali 2 review”. But this is no review.

Many may balk at this title for many reasons. They may say that Baahubali originally refers to Gomatesvara in Karnataka. Be that as it may, for the foreseeable future the name will mean the Baahubali of Amarendra and Mahendra, not of Rishabhadeva.

Others may say that Baahubali belongs to all Telugus. True, but by that token it also now belongs to all Indians. Further, the word Andhra doesn’t just refer to new Andhra Pradesh state, but also old Andhra desa, and by association, the old undivided State of Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, Telanganites need not fear. Unless you consider urdu your state language and mother tongue, and shamefully idolise turk aristocracy (like this jester) rather than native Telugus , the Andhra-Telugu-Telugu States association will remain.

Finally, many of you may ask why this title at all. After all, a dime a dozen Baahubali 2 reviews have already been written (some ripping off in part or whole our Baahubali 1 review from 2015 ). In addition, why should discussion revert to that of only Andhra and Telugus at the very moment all of India (and a good chunk of the World given box office collections) is agog in Baahubali-mania? But it is in fact this precise reason that we must talk about this now.  Long time readers would recall our article about how to Rebrand Andhra. This is the ideal point in time to rebrand our state in earnest.

From lead actors, to producers, to composers, to the man of the hour (the director himself), this was an Andhra movie. Yes, it featured talent from South India (as well as honorary South Indian, and real life Sindhi Tamannah Bhatia), yes the cinematographer Senthil did a splendid job. But this was an Andhra project from its very conception by K.V.Vijayendra Prasad (father of director S.S. Rajamouli). The composer Keeravani is also a Telugu, and even Ramya Krishna married to a Telugu. That is why it’s important to acknowledge BB2 as an Andhra production as well as a presentation of Indic culture.

This is India’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Image result for crouching tiger hidden dragon

True, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was more poetry than popcorn. Yes, it managed to preserve an art house mystique that from the tone and mood, the saga of Sivagami clearly was not interested in. Sure, Baahubali is more Lord of the Rings than Hero. But as usual, our nitpickers and pedantic pseudo-pundits miss the point. Baahubali is the vehicle for Indian Culture that Crouching Tiger was for Chinese culture.

Like many of you, I too had many Punjabi friends growing up (and still have many), and respect their culture and admire them for their ability to keep the Punjabi brand trendy and accessible. And yet, despite the declaration of the Punjabification of India, the South has risen again. Rather than Punjabi-led (and Pak-jabi purchased) Bollywood, it is Andhra’s Tollywood that has produced a Pan-India movie with global appeal. Those of you old enough to remember Chinese hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from 17 years ago, would remember how after a long lull since the days of Bruce Lee, the Culture of China became trendy again in the West and the rest. It was the first true introduction of mass China cinema to the American masses (By the Chinese, for the World). Baahubali 2 also managed to achieve this balance of high culture for the masses. True, CTHD was more restrained in both special effects and acting while Baahubali was more in the mould of that typical Telugu taste for the scientifically impossible.

But then again, what better represents the Indian character than that? Why did this film strike a chord even with countries featuring our mortal enemies? It’s because rather than looking down upon the masses and their taste for the physics defying, it takes them in like Amarendra took in his subjects and brings them along for his ride and reign.

Why are Telugu films so logic-defying in their heroes’ action (and Chiranjeevi’s films so age-defying in their ammudu-kummudu romances)? It’s because the average Telugu not only imagines his way to victory but emotes his way through life. Of course the coconut trees could double for catapults and trebuchets, the fan emotionally connects with the hero so much, his hero must have done that!

Satyajit Ray gave an introduction  for Indian Cinema to perfumed audiences, but Baahubali is the Brand that represents Indian culture (and Andhra’s in particular) on a grand cinematic scale. For those seeking to characterise Indian culture like this or like that, all one need do is show one clip of Devasena or Sivagami to understand how real Indian culture treats women—like Divine Shaktis. Indeed, it has a lesson on how to behave for not only Modern Girls, but also Modern Boys. It also has a lesson for future filmmakers & lyricists on writing real Romance with better Romantic dialogues than the current college cliche crop.

Ang Lee’s epic, and Ang Lee himself, have gone on to achieve a place in Global Cinema that Rajamouli’s epic, and Rajamouli himself, will soon come within grasp of. Whether it and he achieve it is contingent upon whether they not only stay true to telling our stories, but also stay true to themselves.

Nitpickers again will assert that Baahubali won’t sweep into the Oscar’s like CTHD or even get the same US Collections, but it need not. The simple fact that it placed 1st on Thursday night at the US Box office and finished a close 3rd for the weekend (and ahead of a Tom Hanks movie), only goes to show how much of a splash it made without the US mass advertising that Crouching Tiger had. Moreover, it also sheds spotlight on the irony of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone trading in her star status for a bit part in the Fast and the Furious Franchise while fellow Kannadiga Anushka Shetty played the lead actress in an Indian movie that also finished in the US Box Office top 3. Self-respect should be non-negotiable. If you have to pick Anushka, better Shetty than Sharma.

Is Baahubali “a mania”?—perhaps. But those whining about it are obviously manic (depressives) and certainly certifiable. So rather than carp and cavil about them, brush the dirt off your shoulder and enjoy the songs instead.

Mahishmati Odyssey from Madhya Pradesh to Andhra

Why was this story about Mahishmati Samrajyam (in modern Madhya Pradesh) and Kunthala rajya (in Karnataka), a Telugu story at all? Well, one need only start with the Palnati Veera Charitra. That epic by Kavi Sarvabhauma Srinatha has not for nothing, been dubbed the Andhra Kurukshetra. The Kalachuris were an intrinsic part of this epic, and through them, the Mahishmati/Haihaya connection to Andhra even more obvious. And for the self-proclaimed history savants, there was even a Bijjala deva ruler among the Kalyani Kalachuris, and Kalachuri Gangeyadeva was one of the commanders in the expeditions of Indic kings against the Ghaznavids.  In any event, Mahishmati through the PVC has a natural place in the Andhra psyche for our own reason.

Should a remake of this movie be done? Can any actor ever feel the shoes of Naata-Nayaka NTR? Maybe, maybe not. But ultimately, the answer will hinge on aesthetics.

Aesthetics

For the paint-by-numbers pedants, criticism always devolves to a mere formula. They remind me of this scene from Dead Poets Society, writing textbooks which graphically analyse the effect of poetry.

Similarly, they ignore the obvious fact that aesthetics is not simply mere rasa. The full translation of aesthetics is rasalankara. That is, the beautiful presentation of sentiment. Baahubali succeeded at veera rasa  for the very reason Manam succeeded at vatsalya: They both had resonance. Contrary to purists asserting aesthetics is mere rasa—to simply reduce this vast concept of aesthetics to only sentiment does injustice to both Bharata muni (author of the original 8 rasas) as well as Anandavardhana and his Dhvanyaloka: Dhvani is resonance, and is considered by many to be the most important consideration for excellent literature, and by extension, excellent cinema. Rasa is generated not only by bhavas and vibhavas, but is made effective by dhvani. If something has resonance, it captures our attention and even imagination.

Like the lifeless beauty of the princess of Pataliputra, paint-by-numbers pedants are flawed in their conception of life and literature. It does not matter if on-paper rasa is easily identifiable, or even if the ancillary bhavas create the necessary rasa, the key question is whether they resonate with artist and audience alike. That is the true test of the power of Art. Why can the same person enjoy both Citizen Kane and Rocky IV? Why is it that individuals can be fans of both Toshiro Mifune and Brahmanandam? It is because these all resonate, albeit in different ways.

As for the question of Saastriya (the true definition of classicism): the issue is not whether the director of Baahubali is steeped in Dhvanyaloka or Kavya-mimamsa or Natya Sastra. The issue is the letter of the law versus the spirit of the culture. Much like the same band of murkhapanditas who believe “beef in vedas” based on questionable interpretation of sastra, paint-by-numbers pedantic pundits can’t move an inch or write a letter without the letter of law guiding them. That is the importance of studying not only the letter of the law but the spirit behind it, whether in Natya or in Dharma.

Perhaps rather than paint-by-numbers, connect-the-dots would be more their speed.

Further, merely repeating the same old themes and stories is not a true sign of creativity. What sets Rajamouli (and Vijayendra Prasad) apart, is that they took inspiration from our Itihaasa-Purana and created something new. Some of the self-same nitpicking critics have attempted to fault the Koduri clan for historical ambiguity. Others have have made comparisons to Maya Bazaar calling them both mythology. But Baahubali’s genre is historical fantasy. In contrast, Maya Bazaar is a putative presentation of Purana.

Purana after all is Divine in conception. And the Vedas themselves, as we know, are apaurusheya. This is the danger of having nastika charvakas, cacophonous casteists, and avowed atheists anoint themselves as acharyas—they refuse to acknowledge that the authors of these divine texts and canons are in fact merely recipients. Mahadev is the author, we are just his keyboards. Srisaila Sri Rajamouli on the other hand, is divinely inspired, and authored these films in honour of Mahadev.

The effects of the two films (Maya Bazaar and Baahubali) may be similar (connected with elite and mass audiences alike, created interest in our epic heritage and ancient history), but their immediate purposes are different. Further attempts to undercut Rajamouli through forced comparisons with K.Viswanath are also maladroit malevolence by malevolents. K.Viswanath gaaru was bringing high culture in the form of art cinema to the masses. There is an element of realism in his films. In contrast, Rajamouli is elevating mass cinema to the heights of high culture. Unless you honestly believe that Baahubali was flying a swan ship in the air, it’s quite clear many pedantic poseurs fail in basic analogies.

It is inapposite to seek out such juxtapositions. Baahubali is not Saahityam, as it is clearly Chalanachitram. But if it has to fit into a literary genre, it is neither Itihaasa-Purana nor Kavya. It is in fact Katha—specifically Nidarsana Katha. Like the Panchatantra it gives stories for the edification and entertainment of viewers. Was there actually a blue jackal? Did the kingdom of crows fight a war with the kingdom of owls? Did four murkhapanditas manage to return a lion to life? The point of nidarsana katha is not whether it stretches credulity (even within certain super-natural assumptions), rather, it is about educating and elevating audiences about topics relevant to life, especially life lived wisely.

Baahubali provided us with examples (the core purpose of nidarsana katha) from which to examine our own lives (Dharma vs Bandhutva, Love vs Duty, Duty vs Law) and gave us figures, most of whom were flawed, but all of whom aspired to some archetype and ended up exemplifying it.  Baahubali is neither Itihaasa-Purana nor Mahakavya nor even Kaavya for that matter—how could it be? But inapposite and inapropos comparisons are appropriate for those who live secret lives of the inappropriate.

What Andhra (and India) now needs are Brand Ambassadors who have actually proven through action  how to revive and reimagine the Samskruthi of Andhra & Bharatavarsha.

Andhra Brand  Ambassadors

Rajamouli, Prabhas, and Rana will be Brand Ambassadors for Andhra for the foreseeable future. Indeed, any neta worth his salt will absolutely deploy these great talents. Rana for his Pan-India glamour, Prabhas for his compelling screen presence and everyman likeability, and Rajamouli for his consistently proven ability to conceive grand visions and implement them on record-breaking scale. Unlike a certain phony “Hollywood-returned” actress who pretends she can’t speak Telugu, all three Tollywood talents are proud speakers of their mother tongue. Indeed, one of the reasons why this film succeeded so well is because it didn’t just feature models who were dubbed (to Tamannah’s credit she was one of the first North actresses to learn Telugu, and neighbouring state Anushka is a natural). As we discussed in the aesthetics section, this is the precise point in time when non-Telugus are taking interest in our maathru bhasha, so Telugus must properly present it. This leads to the next point:

We Are All Andhra Brand Ambassadors Now

Yes, that’s right. Time to spit out that half-chewed pesarattu, wipe your mouth, tuck in your shirt, stand up straight, and start behaving like you represent a language group with a proud cultural and imperial history. Upgrade your tastes, improve your etiquette and manners, and be excellent cultural guides to our Indian brothers and sisters now taking an interest in the Telugu states and their official language.

We have come a long way from the triumphal declarations of “the Punjabification of India”, and “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow”. Andhra’s hour is here, and it’s time we got our act together for the big show. Our Tamilian brothers, God bless ‘em, have long managed to convince every Bharatiya north of the Vindhya that only Tamizh was spoken “in Dravidian states”.  Despite the boorish CNN18 anchor’s attempt to claim Baahubali for the Land of Temples & Bharatanatyam, this is an Andhra production and must be asserted as such. But at the same time, trading insults with them and others, or mocking others making a genuine attempt to learn and respect, is not the way to represent your Telugu Thalli. So here are a few pointers on how to ditch your gabbar singh handbook on etiquette and embrace your inner Amarendra (or Devasena).

1.Be gracious, but keep your self-respect. When people take an interest in showing respect to your culture & language, show good upbringing by being respectful. No, you don’t need to fall all over yourself to return praise in unseemly hyperbole. Just return the compliment proportionately and ask them if they need any help learning the language or have questions about the culture.

2.Learn about your Culture! If you were ever wondering why we invested so much time in a site on Andhra culture, now you know why it’s useful, at least  in one scenario. Do you want to be embarrassed at your own ignorance of heritage when your friends from the North finally stop asking what the difference is between Telugu and Tamil? Take the time to read not only our blog posts but our pages,  on Culture and Science and other Topics. Learn now so you don’t look foolish later.

3.Stop being caste crabs. It’s fine to take a small measure of pride in one’s heritage, family, and jati, but come on guys, it’s starting to get ridiculous. I won’t even dignify that Telugu Whatsapp forward that was doing the rounds on twitter trying to bring down Baahubali—but give me a break. Know when to put aside your competition and to show some class by letting someone else enjoy the spotlight in representing our state. There is plenty of blame to go around on the casteism front (UC, OBC, BC, SC, and Hi-C). Show some class, and represent your state with some respectability.

Don’t complain—up your game and treat it as a challenge to show your talent, rather than bring out the worst of your boorishness. Know when to slide out of your caste identity and slide into your Andhra identity, or more importantly the even greater Indian identity, rather than waking up and going to bed with the name of your caste on your lips. Look at it as a high standard to live up to, rather than a mythos that you must prevent reality from popping.

4.Clean up your act! Yes, everyone wants to have fun, and we all need to let loose some times. Sure, you have “worked hard to get job in phoreign”, but the time has come for Andhras to start showing they are serious people. You are not a five year old anymore—so stop dressing, looking, and behaving like one. If you can’t think beyond your caste, you can’t bring up your state to greater heights. If Punjabis, and Bengalis, and Gujaratis have all succeeded to varying degrees for as long as they have, it is because they could think of the common interest.

True, there have been double-edged swords to all of these, all of which will be discussed at a later time, but it’s also important to appreciate what others have done well. Punjabis represented themselves very well and in aesthetically pleasing ways for many years. Bengalis single-handedly managed to appropriate the entire state of Odisha and its cultural heritage into their mythos. And Gujaratis garba-raas’d their way into our hearts and into the PM gaadi. Instead of looking like village rustics, all of them made it a point (to varying degrees of success) to establish themselves and their states as an upscale brand. It is time we did the same.

Instead of waxing poetic over the myriad virtues (“let me count the ways”)  of the Andhra mess dining concept, upgrade your thinking and tastes and start understanding the need to establish Andhra as an haute cuisine. If Madhur Jaffrey could find a way to market irredeemably dessicate Gujarati food as ‘haute vegetarian”, surely given our equity, there’s plenty more we can do with ours. Ditch the biryani and haleem , and bring out the best pulaos and kooras our region has to offer. Enough “vahrevah”. Time for the “ati uttam”. To create new classics, take inspiration from the old ones.

Conclusion

There has been a lot of noise on the topic of Baahubali 2, most of which masqueraded as separating the signal from the noise. Perhaps the most signal mediocrity came in the form of this article, which touched on two aspects which had not been explored to date.

Point 1 is the most obvious and laughable. This is the thesis about how Baahubali is detrimental to cinema because it embodies and promotes “feudal” values. Yet the self-same cognitive defective who compiled this pointed to Lord of the Rings (LOTR) as an example of good fantasy cinema. Our vidusaka-samalochaka apparently didn’t have the basic knowledge or logic to realize that LOTR literally had 1 movie in the Series called “Return of the King”. This is what happens with suited simulacra, whether it is from the left or the right—only foreign feudalism is to be feted, not native Kshatriyas who have their people’s interests at heart. Rai Bahadurs and Gunga Dins on the other hand have no problem doing paimenbos to the pardesi. It is why they are forever searching for connections to outside royalty to serve as courtiers to and legitimize it with asinine, vedavirodhaka theories like AIT.

The second point is more relevant to our Telugu states in particular. It underscores the general fear that anti-India types have to Telugu unity, and even the Andhra name. As we have asserted elsewhere, there should be no place for separatist sedition among the scions of the Satavahanas, yet at the same time, why the great fear for a little trans-Telugu states pride? Why has even the Andhra word (which in fact represents all Telugus, not just those from the Coast) been so vilified?

 It is because Andhra has historically been a bulwark of Dharma. From the Satavahanas to the Kakatiyas to the Musunuri Nayaks to the Reddi Rajas to even the Vijayanagara Empire and the Polygars—Andhra’s contribution from all castes to fighting foreign invasion is undeniable. What has made it all the more potent has been the general decentralised Dharma which it has practiced, which empowered not only clergy/royalty/mercantile elite, but even the lower aristocracy (gentry) and masses alike. It is this power of popular religion, which has given everyone, even the masses a stake.

 Art house high culture cinema can be cordoned off and contained—but what happens when mass cinema aspires to high culture?—that is the real danger for desh drohis. It is this paradigm that has made Andhra, Andhra culture, and Andhra cinema most potent. When even non-Telugus (North or South) have looked to united Andhra as a beacon of Indic Civilizational revival, desh drohis are doubling down on their Andhra hate—only this time the truth tumbled out. Telugu unity is the great fear, not only for neo-nizam nitwits, but breaking India brigadiers as well. Left wing movements misguide masses and exploit them while Right wing movements have contempt for them—it is only a truly decentralised Dharma paksha that causes poco-pomo popinjays to soil their pj’s. And that is why the united Andhra culture (across the Telugu states) causes such trepidation. After all you, heard the fear not from here, but out of the mouth of babes:

No movie represented the power of popular, participatory religion (rather than cloistered ritualism) than Baahubali. Only the difference between Andhra and The Chindu’s TN or Bahubali and what passes for “haute culture” in the sepoy brigades is that Bahubali doesn’t reject the priesthood, but only puts it in its proper place. While bollywood berates Brahmins and kollywood militates against them, tollywood has been at harmony with brahmins (with rare exception). Dharma destroys Dronas and Duryodhanas alike. This is the danger of casteism, whether from upper caste or lower caste.

The innocent Brahmin just trying to make his way in the world is caught between this vice of inveterate caste hatred from others or indecent eugenics obsession from within. Baahubali 1 and 2 represent a 3rd way and we see Brahmins neither sidelined nor self-aggrandising —but merely permitted to play their traditional role not only as priests but as keepers of knowledge, advisers of aristocrats, and preservers of truth.

DMK thugs see near constant power politics and neo-Dronas exploit them—it is neither foreign philosophy nor foreign-concocted Aryan Invasion Theory, but Dharma itself which is the true protection for Brahmin and non-Brahmin alike.

Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha.

That all this was conceived, promoted, and produced by a pro-Hindu, but non-brahmin community praising the virtues of another varna known as kshatriya is what made this movie and this Andhra Aikya Alochana so dangerous to the drohis of Bharata Desa. That is the power of popular religion—everyone has an active stake. That is the power of Baahubali, all castes, classes, and communities are brought along for the ride. And that is why united Andhra is the Baahubali state.

Is Baahubali a permanent characterisation? No—think of it as a temporary marketing campaign to improve Andhra’s image. Are we planning on ditching our previously planned marketing plan for AP?—No. Andhra is still the land of Satavahana Emperors, Rani Rudhrama Devi, Musunuri Nayaks, Prolaya Vema ReddiAnnamacharya, Tenali Ramakrishna, Krishna Deva Raya (yes, Kannadigas and Tulus we have a claim), Thyagaraja, Pingali Venkayya, NT Rama Rao and many, many more…

…But Baahubali is the masthead for Andhra for the foreseeable future.

So next time someone asks you which state you’re from, tell them Andhra: The Baahubali State.

Jai Mahishmati!

Jai Amaravati!

 

Social Media & the Patriotic Bharatiya

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


Indian Flag Images-02On average everyone has been into social media for the past 5-6 years. We have seen everything from Desktop sites to android apps, and many people with different mentalities.

And now – What was your first thought if I ask you this question: tell me in one line what is social media” to you ?

Okay everyone has their own answers now. But I am damn sure nothing related to country and patriotism. Is that not true?—at least, for the majority of you?

Sometimes I wonder..okay let me be more specific, every year in August I wonder why there won’t be any major trends until the great day, August 15th, arrives.

All the year, 24/7, we see trends on movies, actors, political scams, or politically biased views by journos. Most of the trends based on love and hatred, either-or, yes-no, left-right…everything except right-wrong.  But not even a meaningful, two day trend on our country… I wonder, nearly 200 years of our Indian struggles, and not one even eligible to be remembered and spoken about for a week at least? 

India Independence is not a simple history subject to be remembered at exams or on just Independence day – it’s a freedom we are enjoying everyday with every breath!!

But here no one speaks, or no one trends, or not even tweets single hashtags. Leave aside the common man, not even self-attested “intellectual” journos or celebrities. There are lot  more topics to spread. There are many leaders to be praised to remind us of their struggles to bring back our beautiful rich country that once was.

Hopefully a single post or single tweet per day is not so tough a task to anyone who visits and spends time in social media everyday.

I assume there is a problem with our education system too in this particular topic.  Patriotism is something to be taught from childhood as a subject. There is much more to teach than just Gandhi & Nehru dynasty in English subjects. And finally just assembling on Independence Day, and declaring holiday by giving chocolates to children, is not enough either. Technology brought many changes in society. And I think its time to change education system of India too.

Coming back to point: Using social media once in a while for good is definitely not a bad idea, friends. We have many browsing sites which gives us information on our fingertips…such as this one!

Patriotism is not just showing up one day; it’s a feeling that should be in our heart, every minute of our heartbeat.

Even we know that trends on silly things like actors or movies are in no way useful to our career or life. And politics are always politics. They became part of our awareness about what’s happening. My opinion does not mean to stop everything and to hold the flag and carry everyday. Just start reading about our freedom fighters or even people today doing good things for the country rather than for the camera . There are not only just fighters, there are leaders and inspirational people who can guide us in our day-to-day lives for good.

I just want to say that –

Social media is a powerful tool which can do good and bad, at our fingertips. Try to use for good. Try to use it responsibly to spread information that might be useful instead of only fun. There are many people doing useful things who need our support now, as they may not be around later. Even if you can’t do something big for Bharat, help those who are!

If you appreciate and Like my idea of posting, hope to see many stories of great freedom fighters in social media this August.

Happy Independence day to every Indian! JAI BHARAT!

£avanya!

940-Ashoka-Wheel-paint-splash-India-Independence-Day

ఆంధ్రులు ఎవరు Who are the Andhras?

ఆంధ్రులు ఎవరు? తెలుగు మరియు ఆంగ్లంలో

Continuing our Coverage of Pandit Kota Venkatachalam’s work is an excerpt of his Telugu book on The Andhras, called Andhrulu evaru? (“Who are the Andhras?”). In the previous installment on ACP, we reviewed the preface written by the famous poet Sri Viswanatha Satyanarayana for Pandit Venkatachalam‘s book “The Plot in Indian Chronology”.  We also discussed how there are many, even today, who are corrupting what our traditional texts actual said about the History of Ancient Indians and even the Identity of Andhras.

If the archaeological evidence and even texts have been tampered with by Scientism advocates, how can we scientifically arrive at the truth? That is the value of tradition. It is a one thing to take everything at face value, and it is another thing to study our tradition and then use scientific inquiry to confirm what it says. Rather than 1 or the other, both can be helpful in ensuring the Truth—the Real Truth—is determined.

Here is what an actual Pandit, learned and qualified to interpret our Vedas and Puranas, actually wrote. Sri Kota Venkatachalam’s own English translation is provided below [Emphasis and proofing ours].

The following Post was originally Published at True Indian History on June 21, 2009


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 ఆంధ్రులు ఎవరు?

 

 సృష్ట్యాదియందు “ఆర్యజాతి” తప్ప వేరుజాతి లేదు. ఆర్యులు భారతవర్ష మంతటను వ్యాపించి నివసించియుండిన కాలములో నాయా దేశభాగములను పరిపాలించిన రాజుల పేరున ఆయా దేశములు పిలువబడినవి. అట్టి దేశములలో నివసించిన ప్రజ లాయాదేశనామములచే పిలువబడ జొచ్చిరి. అట్లు పిలువబడిన పేర్లతో వారే వేరువేరు జాతులుగా గుర్తింపబడి యుండిరి.
ఆర్యులు దేశవ్యాప్తము నొంది నివసించియుండిన పిమ్మట ఒకానొకకాలమున తూర్పుభారతవర్షము “ప్రాచ్యక దేశ” మనిపేరు గలిగి “బలి” యనెడి రాజుచే పరిపాలింపబడుచుండినది. ఆతని కుమారులా దేశమును విభాగించుకొని తమ పేర్లతో నా దేశభాగములకు పేరులుపెట్టి యేలిరి. వారిలో “ఆంధ్రరాజు” పరిపాలించిన భాగమునకు “ఆంధ్రదేశ”మని పేరు పెట్టబడినది. ఆ దేశమున నివసించుచుండిన చాతుర్వర్ణ్య ఆర్య ప్రజలు నా దేశముపేరున “ఆంధ్రులు” అని పిలువబడిరి. ఆర్యజాతియే ఆంధ్రజాతి యని పిలువబడినది. అది వేరుజాతి కాదు. ఆంధ్రుల పుట్టుపూర్వోత్తరములలో సృష్ట్యాదినుండి “ఆంధ్రు”లను పేరు వచ్చువఱకు ఆంధ్రుల చరిత్ర ఆర్యుల చరిత్రయే గాని వేఱు కాదు. అందువలన సృష్ట్యాది లగాయతు ఆంధ్రుల చరిత్ర ఆర్యుల పేరుమీదనే చెప్పబడును. దానిని ఆంధ్రుల చరిత్రగానే తీసికొనవలయునుగాని అది ఆంధ్రుల కంటె వేఱుగాగల ఆర్యుల చరిత్ర యని భ్రమించకూడదు. ‘ఆంధ్రులు’ ఆర్యులేగాని యితరులు కారు. ఒకేజాతివారు ప్రారంభములో “ఆర్యు”లనియు, కొంతకాలమునకు వారే “ఆంధ్రు”లనియు పిలువబడిరి. వారు రెండు జాతులవారు కారు. ఏకజాతీయులైయున్నారు. ఇదేప్రకారము భారతవర్షములోని వివిధ రాష్ట్రములయందు నివసించెడి ఆర్యులును ఆయా దేశనామములచే వివిధ శాఖలుగానై వివిధ జాతులుగా పరిగణింపబడుచుండిరి. కాని ఆసేతుహిమాచలముగా గల ఆర్యులందరు ఏకజాతీయులైన ఆర్యులే యైయున్నారు. ఈవిషయము మనసునందుంచు కొని ఈ గ్రంధమును (కోట వెంకటా చెలం గారి ఆంధ్రుల పుట్టుపూర్వోత్తరములు) చదివిన “ఆంధ్రుల పుట్టుపూర్వోత్తరము” లేవియో వివరముగా సృష్ట్యాదినుండియు తెలియగలవు.
ఆంధ్రుల పుట్టుపూర్వోత్తరములు
ఒక దేశముయొక్క గాని, జాతియొక్క గాని చరిత్ర వ్రాయుటకు ప్రాచీనకాలమునుండి వచ్చు చుండిన సంప్రదాయముగాని  లేక వ్రాతమూలకమైన పూర్వచరిత్రగాని ఆధారముగా నుండవలెను. అట్టిదేమియు లేక కేవలమొక మనుష్యుని యొక్క ఊహలు, కల్పనలు, నమ్మకములు, సంభావ్యతలు మొదలగువానితో వ్రాయబడినది సత్యమైన చరిత్రలు కాజాలవు. అవి కల్పనాకథ లనిపించుకొనును.
ఏదియో యొక వార్తను విని దానిని తనయూహలతోను, కల్పనలతో డను పెంచి ప్రస్తుతము తన యనుభవములో గల యొక విషయమున కదుకుపెట్టి తాను మొదట వినిన వార్త యొక్క యథార్థ చరిత్ర యిదియేయని గ్రంథములల్లి లోకములో ప్రకటించినంతమాత్రమున అది యథార్థ చరిత్ర యనిపించుకొనదు. అది చరిత్రకు ద్రోహము చేయుట యగును. ఇప్పుడు పాశ్చాత్య ప్రాచ్య చరిత్రకారులచే వ్రాయబడిన ఆధునిక భారతదేశ చరిత్రలనున్న వన్నియు వారివారి యూహా కల్పితములై యున్నవి. అందు సత్య మావంతయును కానరాదు.
మానవజాతి మధ్యా సియాయందు పుట్టి భూగోళమంతటను వ్యాపించిన దనెడి వాదము పాశ్చాత్య చరిత్రకారుల యూహాపోహలతో కల్పింపబడినది గాని దానికి పూర్వ చరిత్రాధార మేమియు లేదు. ఒక చరిత్రకారుని యూహ మరియొక చరిత్రకారుని యూహకు ప్రమాణమై తాము ముందుగా నిర్ణయించుకొనిన యొక నిర్ణయమున కనుకూలముగా నుండునట్లు పర్యవసానము తేల్చబడి లోకమున ప్రచారము చేయబడినది. చిరకాలము వినగావినగా అదియే సత్యమైన చరిత్ర యని లోకులు భ్రమించి దాని ననుసరించి చరిత్రలు వ్రాసికొనుచుండిరి. పాశ్చాత్యులచే వ్రాయబడిన అట్టి కల్పితకథలే భారతదేశ చరిత్రకాధారభూతమై తదనుసారముగా నాధునిక చరిత్రలు వ్రాయబడి మనకు పాఠాశాలలలో నేర్పబడుచున్నవి. వీనిని విసర్జించి మనము మనవాఙ్మయాదుల ననుసరించి యథర్థాచరిత్రలనువ్రాసికొనుట అత్యావశ్యకము.
సృష్టిక్రమము
ఇప్పటి సృష్ట్యాదియందు ప్రకృతినుండి స్వాభావికముగా పంచ భూతములును, అందు భూమినుండి ఓషదులును, ఓషధులనుండి సర్వ భూతకోటియు దేవమానవాదివర్గములు క్రమక్రమముగా నుద్భవించినవి. అందు మొదట వచ్చినది ప్రజాపతి. ఇతడు ప్రధమ ఆర్యుడని ఋగ్వేదము 4-26-2-2; 2-11-18 ఋక్కులయందు వినబడుచున్నది. ప్రధమ ఆర్యుడైన స్వాయంభువప్రజాపతి మానవసృష్టిని జేయబూని వసిష్టాదులైన పదిమంది ప్రజాపతులను(వీరికి దేవఋషులని పేరు) సృజించెను. పిమ్మట స్వాయంభువప్రజాపతి భూమి మీద మానవసృష్టిని జేయబూని భారతవర్షమునగల సరస్వతీ, ద్రుషద్వతీనదుల మధ్యస్థనమై భూమియందు ప్రధమమున నివసించి ‘శతరూప’ యను భార్యతో కలిసి ప్రియవ్రత, ఉత్తానపాదులనెడి ఇద్దరు కుమారులను, ఆకూతి, దేవహుతి, ప్రసూతు లనెడి ముగ్గురు కుమార్తెలను కనెను. అతడు ప్రధమమున నివసించిన భూమి “బ్రహ్మావర్త” మని పిలువబడుచున్నది.
బ్రహ్మవర్తదేశము
మానవజాతి మొదట భారతదేశమునే యుత్పత్తిని బొందినది. ఇప్పుడు భారతదేశమునగల యమునానదికి పశ్చిమమున ‘సరస్వతీ’ నదియు, దానికి పశ్చిమమున ‘దృషద్వతి’ యనెడి దాని యుపనదియు నుండెడివి. ఈ సరస్వతీ, దృషద్వతి నదుల మధ్యగల ప్రదేశము ‘ బ్రహ్మవర్తమని ‘ అనాదికాలమునుండియు పిలువబడుచుండెడిది. ‘ బ్రహ్మవర్త ‘ మనగా బ్రహ్మ యను పేరుగల స్వాయంభువ ప్రజాపతి మానవజాతిని భూమి మీద నిలుపుటకు ఆదికాలమున స్థూల దేహధారియై నివసించిన స్థలము.
ప్రతిసృష్టియందును ఆదిమానవుడైన ‘ స్వాయంభువ ‘ ప్రజాపతి స్థూలదేహధారియై మానవసృష్టి నిమిత్త మెచ్చటావర్తమును బొందుచు నివసించుచుండునో అట్టి దేశము ” బ్రహ్మవర్తమని ” అనాదికాలము నుండియు దేవతలచే పిలువబడుచుండినది. ఋగ్వేదమున వినబడిన ” యోనిం దేవకృతం ” (ఋగ్వేదము 3-33-4) దేవతలచే చేయబడిన మానవజాతి జన్మస్థానము అనువాక్యమును మనువు తన మనుస్మృతి యందు ” తం దేవనిర్మితం దేశం ” (అనగా దేవతలచే ఏర్పాటు చేయబడిన ఆప్రదేశము) అనివివరించి దాని హద్దులను కూడ ఇచ్చియున్నాడు. (మను 2-17) తూర్పు – సరస్వతీ నది, దక్షిణము సరస్వతీదృషద్వతీనదుల సంగమస్థలము పడమర దృషద్వతీనది ఉత్తరము హిమాలయపర్వతములలో సరస్వతీ, దృషద్వతీనదుల జన్మస్థలముల వఱకు.
బ్రహ్మర్షి దేశము (ప్రధమవలస)
అట్టి బ్రహ్మవర్త దేశమందు పుట్టి ” ఆర్యులు ” అనబడు మానవజాతి తాము జన్మించిన ” బ్రహ్మవర్త ” దేశము వదిలి దానికి పశ్చిమమున గల ప్రదేశములందు నివసించి దానికి (మను 2-19) బ్రహ్మర్షి దేశమని పేరిడిరి. ఈ వలసలను విశేషముగా మహాతపశ్శాలులైన బ్రహ్మర్షులు నడిపి వారలే వారి శిష్యప్రశిష్యులతో అచ్చట నివసించి యుండుటవలన దానికి బ్రహ్మర్షి దేశమనెడి నామము సార్థకమైనది. ఈ ప్రదేశమున ఇటీవల కురుక్షేత్రము, మత్స్యదేశము, పాంచాలము, శూరసేనము, ఉత్తరమధుర యను పేర్లతో రాష్ట్రము లేర్పడినవి.
మధ్య దేశము (ద్వితీయవలస)
వింధ్యపర్వతము, హిమాలయపర్వతముల మధ్యయందు ప్రయాగకు ( అలహాబాదు ) పడమరగా సరస్వతీనదివరకు గల ప్రదేశమంతయు ” మధ్యదేశము” అని పిలువబడుచుండినట్లు మనువు చెప్పుచున్నడు. (మను 2-21 ) బ్రహ్మఋషిదేశము నిండిన పిమ్మట రెండవ వలసలో వెడలిన ఆర్యసంతానము ఈ మధ్యదేశమున నివసించిరి.
ఆర్యా వర్తము (తృతీయ వలస)
అటుపిమ్మట ఆర్యజాతీయులు మహర్షుల యనుజ్ఞవలన వారి రాజుల నాయకత్వమున మూడవ వలసగా బయలుదేరి వింధ్యహిమాచలములకు మధ్యనుండు ఖాళీప్రదేశ మందంతటను వ్యాపించి స్థిర నివాసము లేర్పరచుకొనిరి. ఆనాటికి భూగోళమంతయు నిర్మానుష్యముగా నుండి యున్నది. భారతవర్షములో గూడ నిప్పుడు మనవిచారణ యందుండిన ఆర్యజాతీయులు తప్ప యితరమానవు లెవ్వరును లేరు.
నాల్గవ, ఐదవ వలసలు
అటుపిమ్మట విదేహమాధవు డనెడి రాజు తన గురుదేవుడైన గౌతమరహూగణుని ప్రేరణమున నానాటికి వృధ్ధినిగాంచుచుండిన ఆర్యజాతీయుల వెంట నిడికొని బ్రహ్మవర్తాది ప్రదేశములనుండి యొక గొప్ప వలసను బయలుదేరదీసి సరస్వతీనదికి తూర్పుగా గంగానదివఱకు బోయి అచ్చటచ్చట ఆర్యనివాసములు నేర్పాటుచేసి యుండిరి కాని అచ్చట ” సదానీరా ” అనెడి యొక నది అడ్డమురాగా ఆవలస నంతటితో నిలిపి అంతవఱకు వచ్చిన పొడుగునను, గ్రామముల, పట్టణముల నిర్మానమొనర్చిరి. సదానీరా నదికావల ప్రదేశము నివాసయోగ్యము కానందున దానిని నివాసయోగ్యముగా చేయుటకు తగిన యేర్పాట్లు చేసి తిరిగి పశ్చిమముగా వెళ్లి గంగా, యమునా, సరస్వతీ, దృషద్వతీ నదులను దాటి ఉపనదులతో గూడిన సింధునదిని దాటి పశ్చిమమున సింధునది కుపనది యగు ‘ కుభా ‘ (అనగా కాబూలు నది ) నదీతీరముల వఱకు తమ వలసలను విస్తరింప జేశి యుండిరి. ఈ వివరములను ఋగ్వేదము, శతపధబ్రాహ్మణము, మనుస్మ్రుతి మొదలగు వానియందు సవిస్తరముగా వివరింపబడి యున్నది.
“ఆర్యాః అత్ర ఆవర్తంతే పునః పున రుద్భవంతి ఇతి ఆర్యావర్తః “. ఆర్యులు లెచ్చట పుట్టి, పెరిగి, చచ్చి, తిరిగి పుట్టుచుందురో అది ఆర్యావర్తమని చెప్పబడుచున్నది. దీనిని బట్టి ఆర్యులు ఈ ప్రదేశముమందుననే సృష్టి ప్రారంభమునుండి పుట్టి నివసించుచుండిరని మనుస్మ్రుతి యందు స్పష్టము చేయబడినది. ( పాశ్చాత్యులూహించినటుల ఆర్యులు మధ్యాసియా యందు పుట్టి భారతవర్షమునకు వలస వచ్చినరుట కేవలము వారి కల్పనయే కాని పూర్వ చరిత్ర వలన ధ్రువ పరచబడినది కాదు )
దక్షిణా పధము ( ఆఱవ వలస )
అటుపిమ్మట ఆర్యుల దృష్టి వింధ్యపర్వతములకు దక్షిణముగా గల ప్రదేశములమీదకు ప్రసరించినది. ఆనాడు దక్షిణదేశమంతయు నిర్మానుష్యముగా నుండినది. ఆర్యులు ‘ సదా నీరా ‘ ప్రాంతప్రదేశము నంతను మానవ నివాసమున కనుకూలముగా నొనర్చి పిమ్మట తూర్పున గల వంగదేశప్రాంతములమీదుగా దక్షిణమునకు క్రమక్రమముగా వ్యాపించిరి. అనేక సంవత్సరములు గడచుచుండగా అట్లు ఆర్యులు వ్యాపించిన భారతవర్షపు తూర్పుదక్షిణములగల ( అనగా ఇప్పటి మద్రాసు దిగువ వఱకు ) ప్రదేశము ” ప్రాచ్యక దేశ ” మని పిలువబడినది. దానికి దక్షిణముగా దక్షిణసముద్రమువఱకు గల దేశము దక్షిణ దేశమయ్యెను. ఆరెంటికి పశ్చిమముగా గల పశ్చిమకొస్తా ప్రదేశము పశ్చిమదేశమయ్యెను. అదే విధమున ఆర్యులు ” దక్షిణాపధ ” మంతయునాక్రమించి వృధ్ధిపొందిరి. ఆసేతుహిమాచలముగా గల దేశమునంతను ఆక్రమించిన ఆర్యులు వైదిక ధర్మావలంబులై చాతుర్వర్ణ్య వ్యవస్థ గలిగి యుండిరి.
§

 

Who Are the Andhras?

Andhra

Chapter IV
Origin and early History of the Andhras [2]

In the beginning, there was only one race, the Aaryan race. In the ancient times, when the Aaryans were spreading all over the continent of Bharat, the different regions and parts were named after the Kings that ruled over them. The people too were named by the names of these regions and came to be considered different races.

In those remote times in Eastern Bharat was known as ‘Praachyaka Desa’ and ruled by a king named Bali. After his death, several of his sons divided his kingdom, and each named his part after himself, one of them being Aandhra. The kingdom of prince Aandhra being known as Aandhra Desa and the Aaryans (of the four castes) inhabiting the region were called Aandhras.  Thus only one group or division of the Aaryans came to be known as Aandhras. The Aandhras were not a separate race from the Aaryans. Hence the history of the Aandhras till the emergence of the Aandhra race (the name) coincides with the history of the larger race named Aaryan. The history of the Aaryans is the history of the Aandhras and vice versa. Aandhras are Aaryans and none else. It is all one race known as Aaryans in the beginning, some of them later coming to be known as Aandhras from the name of the region inhabited by them. It is the same case with the Aaryans inhabiting the other different parts of Bharat, all of them of the same Aaryan stock but developing into various branches and coming to be considered different peoples and named after the different regions occupied by them. But all of the Aaryans of Bharat from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin [Kanyakumari] belong to the same racial (Aaryan) stock. This axiom should be kept steadily in mind in the study of the history of the Aandhras from the beginning of creation, attempted in this volume.

The Process of Creation

In the beginning the five elements evolved naturally [f]rom primordial nature or Prakriti, and from earth, of the five, living matter and living beings of all kinds. The first among the living creatures was Prajapathi. He is the first Aaryan. Rigveda 4 26 2-2, 2-11-18. He resolved on the creation of the human race and first created the ten Praja-pathis (the Devarishis). Then he  himself residing in the region enclosed by the rivers Saraswati and Drishadvati, and cohabiting with his wife Sataruupa gave birth to two sons ‘sons Priyavrata and Utaana paada and three daughters Aakuuti, Devahuuti and Prasuuti. The region he first lived in came to be known as “Brahmavarta”. The human race first appeared in Bharat only. To the west of the present Jamuna in North India there flowed in ancient times Sara-swati and to its west a tributary by name of Dru-shadvati. The region between these rivers Saraswati and Dri-shadvati was known as ‘Brahmavarta’ from time immmo-rial [immemorial]. The name indicates that the Swayambhuva Prajapati named Brahma resided there in gross physical form to cre-ate the human race on the earth.

At the beginning of every cycle of creation, this place where Swayambhuva Prajapati, the first man resides on the earth in his gross physical body, to create the human race is known as Brahmavartam’. In Rigveda-3-33-4 we hear ‘Yonim Deva Kritam’ and ‘Tam Deva Nirmitam Desam’ in Manu 2-17. This region is bound by the river Sara-swati on the east the junction of Sarasvati and Drushad-vati on the South Drishadvati on the West and the Hima-layas on the North.

dakshinapatha

The First MigrationBrahmarshi Desa.

The Aaryans thus born in Brahmavarta left the place of their origin and inhabiting the region to the west of it gave it the name ‘Brahmarshi Desa’ (Manu 2-19). These migrations and colonisations were led by Brahmarshis of established spiritual eminence who settled down in the new regions with their disciples and hence it was called ‘Brahmarshi Desa.’In later times this region came to comprise the kingdoms of Kuru, Matsya, Panchala, Surasena & Uttara Madhura.

The Second MigrationMadhya Desa.

According to Manu, the region bounded by the Vindhyas in the South the Himalayas in the north, Allahabad [Prayag] in the east and the river Saraswathi in the West, was called Madhya Desa. (Manu 2-21). This was the region colonised by the second migration of Aaryans after the Brahmarishi Desa was fully occupied.

Aryavarta (The Third Migration)

Thereafter the Aryans, on the advice of the sages and under the leadership of the kings, started on the third migration and spread all over the plains between the Hima-layas and the Vindhyas and settled down in permanent homelands. At that time almost  all the surface of the earth was uninhabited and even in Bharat there were no people  other than the Aryans.

Fourth and Fifth Migrations.

Thereafter, a king by name of Videha Madhava, on the advice of his teacher Gautama Rahuguna, accompanied by the Aaryans who were rapidly increasing in numbers, orga-nised a great migration from the Brahmavarta and neigh-bouring regions and proceeded “to the east of Saraswati upto the river Ganges and established Aaryans settlements at several places. But confronted by the river Sadanira, the progress was halted and villages and towns were constructed all along the march up to the river Kubha or Kabul, and extended their settlements so far. These details of the migration are available  in the Satapatha Brahmana, the Rigveda and in the Manu Smriti

The land in which the Aaryans are born, grow and die  and are  born again is known as ‘Aaryavarta’. Thus it is clear the Aaryans were living in this region from the beginning of creation, according to the Manu Smriti.

The sixth migration “Dakshinapatha”

Then the Aaryans cast their eyes on the region to the south of the Vindhyas. In those days this part of the country was uninhabited. After rendering habitable and fit for colonisation, the neighbourhood of the river Sadanira and proceeding through the regions to the east of it, Viz. Vanga, etc, they spread to the south along the coast. The south eastern coast lands of Bharat, which were thus occupied by the Aaryans gradually  down to modern Madras and below, were then known as ‘Prachyaka Desa’ and this region beyond further south to the sea ‘Dakshina Desa’ and the west coast and adjoining tracts ‘Paschima Desa’. Thus the Aaryans spread in course of time over the whole of the Southern peninsula and the Aryans who came  to occupy the whole of Bharat from the Himalayas in the north to the Indian ocean in the south were the followers of the Vedic culture and the social order of the fourfold division of society) which formed an integral part of it.

BaliPutraAandhra

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  1. “ఆంధ్రులు”. True Indian History. June 19, 2009
  2. Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaaji (Pandit). Chronology of Ancient Hindu History Part I. Vijayawada: AVG.  p.121-124

Personalities: Sobha Naidu

ShobhaNaidu

Completing our tour of Dance over the past few weeks is a modern artiste who has been described as “Elegance personified”. A Natyacharyaa in her own right, she is a doyenne of dance and a treasure of the Andhras.

The topic of our next installment in the Continuing Series on Andhra Personalities is none other than the masterful and beautiful danseuse, Srimati Sobha Naidu.

Background

sobhanaidu

Sobha Naidu gaaru’s story begins in the sleepy town of Anakapalli, Andhra Pradesh (in Visakhapatnam district). She was born into a culturally conservative yet professionally progressive family. Her engineer father, Venkanna Naidu, wished for her to become a medical doctor. [2] However, young Sobha was destined for dance, and passionately sought it out. Her mother, Sarojini Devi, sensed her talent, and despite familial objections, obtained lessons for her under dance instructor P.L. Reddy, at Rajamahendravaram.

Her talent only blossomed from there, and she eventually studied Kuchipudi under the legendary exponent and maestro, Sri Vempati Chinna Satyam gaaru.

Kuchipudi is a cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. Being a Telugu girl, it is but natural that I get a feeling that I should propagate this art in my own way. [2]

For twelve years she studied this classical dance under the rigourous standards and guidance of its greatest and most progressive reviver. It was, after all, Vempati gaaru who fully implemented Vedantam Lakshminarayana gaaru’s policy of opening up this dance to women, after 500 years of being under the purview of men.

Along with completing her Kuchipudi studies in Chennai, Sobha Naidu also earned a degree from Queen Mary’s College. Despite marrying and having the obligations of traditional family life, her husband was understanding of her talent and dedication [6], and she has since travelled the world, training over 2,000 students. In fact, the greatest concentration of her most devoted students can be found in the United States and Russia.

As a Natyakarini, she is perhaps best known for her performance as Satyabhama, but she has come to define the element of Strong women in general. Other than Sri Krishna Parijatham and her second most famous ballet called Bhamakalapam, again as Satyabhama, she performed as aspects of the Devi in the Navarasa Natabhamini, in the 2011 Nrityotsav. [4]

Achievements

Celebrated for her agility, her fluidity of movement, and her exceptional grace, [2] Sobha Naidu is considered the Atiloka Acharyaa of Abhinaya.

Having learned from the illustrious Sri Vempati Chinna Satyam, the famous Natyacharya of Kuchipudi, Sobha gaaru has become a Natyacharyaa (extended aa for female teacher)  herself. She climbed to such heights as a Narthaki, that the great Bharatanatyam guru, Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai, offered to teach her the style free of cost. She respectfully refused, noting that despite her admiration of Bharatanatyam, her whole life would need to be dedicated to properly master Kuchipudi. Although she has performed for decades, she remains active to this day, her most recent performance being in 2015.

  • Credited with 80 solo numbers and 15 ballets as choreographer [3]
  • Has performed all over India and around the world
  • Honoured with the Kala Saraswathi-Andhra Ratna Award by the AP Kalavedika
  • Recipient of the title of “Nritya Choodamani” by  Krishna Gana Sabha of Chennai
  • Award from the Central Sangeeta Nataka Kala Academy in 1991
  • Received “Nrityavihar” given by Sri Sringara Samsad of Bombay
  • Granted the Hamsa Award and N.T.Rama Rao Award by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh
  • Honoured by Telugu University with “Telugu Puraskara” Award
  • Established the now 30 year old Kuchipudi Art Academy of Hyderabad
  • She has trained more than 1500 students from India and abroad
  • Awarded the Padma Sri in 2001 by the Government of India

She has been acknowledged as an outstanding dancer with a great gift for nritta, natya and abhinaya; a brilliant choreographer and a highly successful teacher. [3]

Legacy

“Dance is the Hidden Language of the Soul”

The Legacy of Smt. Sobha Naidu is one that defines the era since Yamini Krishnamurti, whom she admires. While the latter was an exponent of both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, Sobhi Naidu focused on the Andhra dance alone, purely for its Abhinaya. She has become as associated with it as Jaya Senapati was with Nrtta. Much like the elegant and stylish Satyabhama (warrior queen and wife of Sri Krishna), Sobha gaaru has come to define elegance in the world of dance.

Satyabhama&KrishnaIn fact, she famously was captivated by this strong and fashionable character from the Mahabharata, and longed to play her. She achieved this dream in Vempati gaaru’s Sri Krishna Parijatham, and became synonymous with Satyabhama and Kuchipudi, developing into the doyenne of dance we know today.

 Sobha Naidu as Satyabhama in Sri Krishna Parijatam

According to her, states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala lead the way in giving patronage to dancers and other artistes. While Andhra Pradesh does give some support, she believes it must do much more in order to revive the traditional and High Arts. The obligation is double for the people and business elites, who of late, seem more enraptured by bollywood and hollywood culture, than their own.

Indeed, she has bemoaned the fact that although there are audiences for classical dance, performers and patrons alike continue to gravitate towards pop culture films. She hopes that those with wealth will take on the obligation of preserving our common culture so that it can be passed on to youth. She herself has noted that whatever the current obsession with serials and other drivel, it is inevitable that people will tire of it and return to our illustrious Samskruthi. But it must be there when they are back!

Wise words from Srimati Sobha Naidu gaaru:

People should realise that by being westernised, they are respecting the neighbour’s mother and neglecting their own mother.

As long as electronic media influences the new generation, classical arts will always struggle for survival.

We have such a great heritage and culture that the whole world respects it. We are not able to make out the value of our own culture.  [3]

Therein lies a lesson for our “New Generation” Girls and Guys. It is your culture which gives you respect, not no-class song and dance sequences from kitschy phillims. Even if you do not learn Kuchipudi, learn a lesson from this great danseuse:

Wedded and dedicated to her art, she has rejected lucrative offers from the film industry with a feeling that art should be developed with its Pristine purity .

References:

  1. http://sobhanaidu.org/
  2. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/245521/dancer-difference.html
  3. http://www.hyderabadbest.com/discoverhyd/personalities/dance/Shobhanaidu.asp
  4. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/buoyant-bhama/article3813796.ece
  5. http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/nine-aspects-of-the-goddess/article2533952.ece
  6. Kuchipudi Dancer Shobha Naidu Exclusive Interview.HMTV.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs1J-XTMhdk