Tag Archives: Telugu

పంచతంత్రం STORIES OF PANCHATANTRA—Mitra Labhamu (Gaining Friends) Ch.5

panchatantramitra

పంచతంత్రం

STORIES OF PANCHATANTRA

IN SIMPLE TELUGU POEMS — TRANSLATION INTO ENGLISH

MITRA LABHAMU- GAINING FRIENDS-Chapter 5

§

[Continuing the Series of Original Poems on the Panchatantra by Chandra gaaru, is Chapter 5 of Mitra Labhamu. Chapters 1 & 2 can be found here, Chapter 3 here, and Chapter 4 here ]

54.
కఛ్ఛపమ్ము బలికె కాకరాజుతొ నిటుల
చూడ మూషికమును చింత తోచు
కారణమ్ము లేక కలత యెటుల యుండు
యనగ కాకి పలికె యౌననుచును! 54
తాత్పర్యము

English: The turtle further said to the crow. “The Mouse King seems to be very unhappy. There must be a reason for his sadness.” The crow agreed it was so and said thus.

55.
యెన్నొ సార్లు నేను యడిగితి యీ ప్రశ్న
విటము చెప్పదాయె విషయ మెపుడు
యనగ విన్న యెలుక యిటుల బలికె సఖ
గాధ చెప్పగాను ఘనము కాదు! 55
తాత్పర్యము

English: The crow said,” I asked this question many a time. But the mouse king never gave an answer about his sorrow.” Hearing this the mouse replied” Oh! Friend! Mine is not such a great story to tell. Anyhow, since you asked again please hear”

56.
మహిలరోప్య మనెడి మండలపు నగరి
తపసి యుండె తారచూడు డంచు
శివుని మందిరము స్థిరనివాసముగ చేసి
బిక్షు వతడు రోజు బిచ్చ మెత్తి
తాను తినుచు తన తోడు నలుగురికి
తినిపించు మిగిలిన తిండి బ్రేమ
చిక్కము పైదాచును చివరకు మిగిలింది
శయనించు హాయిగ శ్రమను మరచి
వాస మచటె యుండు మూషిక మిత్త్రులు
నన్ను చేరి పడిరి నిటుల చింత
తపసి దాచు తిండి తారల నడుమన
తింద మన్న మాకు దొరక దాయె! 56
తాత్పర్యము

English: The King of Mouses further said thus. “There used to live a hermit by name Tara Chaud in a distant town called Mahilaropya. He used to stay in Temple of Lord Shiva and was daily begging for alms. He used to eat a little and donate some to the poor guys who used to keep the Temple clean. The remainder of the food he used to save the remainder of the food in a peg that hanged high.

Some of my relations staying there came to me in sadness and lamented thus. Oh! Lord! The hermit is saving his food high in the air (reaching stars). We are not able to steal the food and eat as we cant reach such heights.”

57.
మరియు యిటుల బలికె మూషిక మిత్రులు
ఎవరి చేత కాదు ఎత్తు ఎగుర
ఎచట కైన నీవు ఎగిరి చేర గలవు
కూడ వచ్చి మాకు కడుపు నింపు! 57
తాత్పర్యము

English: Hiranyaka further told his story thus. “My friends and relations further told me that they were incapacitated to jump such heights and that I was the only one who could reach the food. They urged me to go with them and feed them”

58.
మిత్రు లందరి కూడి ముదమున నే బోతి
యెగిరి యందు కుంటి యతిది పాత్ర
తపసి దాచిన తిండి తృప్తిగ తినుచును
యచటె వాస ముంటి యెన్నియొ దినములు! 58

English: Hiranyaka continued. ” I went to the Hermit’s place accompanied by my friends and relations. At once, I jumped on the vessel containing food and we enjoyed the food that night and many more days to come and we stayed put there permanently.

panchatantramumitra

59.
దాచి నట్టి తిండి తరుగుట కనుగొని
తపసి చీల్చి నట్టి దండము గొని
పాత్ర పైన కొట్టె పలుమారు భయపెట్ట
దండ నీతి మమ్ము తరుము చుండె! 59
తాత్పర్యము

English:

the Hermit one day found that the food he is storing is vanishing on regular basis and kept a watch. Finding us stealing the food, he to took a slit stick and started hitting at the bottom of the vessel making huge noise to scare us away. Scared truly, we did not dare approach the food vessel again.

60.
విడువ డొక్క క్షణము వీక్షించ పాత్రను
సద్దు సేయు చుండె సాధు వెపుడు
వేచి యుంటి మేము వారము మాసము
తపసి విడువ డాయె తొలగ డాయె! 60
తాత్పర్యము

English:

The Hermit never stopped making sound with the stick and never removed his searching eye from the food. We waited for weeks and months but the Hermit was persistent.

61.
గడచి పోవ నిటులె కతిపయ దినములు
యొక్క మిత్రు డొచ్చె యతిని కలువ
సంజె వేళ యతడు చెప్పుచుండె కధలు
తిరిగి వస్తి ననుచు దేశములను! 61
తాత్పర్యము

English:

After passage of few weeks like this, one day one of his friends came to visit him and during the night of his arrival he started narrating the stories of his travels to various nations and places.

62.
మిత్రుడు యాడెడి మాటలు వినకనె
తపసి తట్టుచునుండె తిండి పాత్ర
చెప్పు మాటలు పెడ చెవిన బెట్టెడి నేస్తి
తపసి పోకడ గాంచి తామసమున
యిటుల బలికె కింక యతిధి తపసి జూసి
మిత్రుడనుచు వస్తి మోస కాడ
మోటు తనము తోడ మాట వినవ యేమి
వెడలి పోయెద నేడె వేరె దిక్కు
అతిధి వచ్చు వేళ యాదరముగ పిల్చి
పలుకరించి తగిన పీఠ మీని
మిత్రు విడువ ఎంతొ మేలని పెద్దలు
నీతి చెప్ప నేను నమ్మ నైతి! 62
తాత్పర్యము

English:

Even as the guest was talking the hermit was busily engaged in making sounds with his stick near the food store turning a deaf ear to his friend, The guest, angry at the attitude of the hermit said thus.” You are haughty. You are not at all hearing what I have to say. I will leave today and take shelter somewhere else. I came here thinking you were my friend. But you turned to be a cheat. It was my fault not to have heard the elders say not to enter the place of a host who does not invite you, offer a seat and inquire about your well being.”

63.
మరియు నిటుల బలికె మిత్రుడు కినుకతొ
ధనము మదము నీకు తలకు యెక్కె
నరక మగును నీకు నిశ్చయముగ తెలియు
యెంత తొరగ బోవ యంత మేలు! 63
తాత్పర్యము

English:

The guest further said angrily, ” The possession of wealth has gone to your head. Know that there is hell and you are certain to go there. I am leaving this place immediately for my own good.:

64.
కలత చెంది తపసి కఠిన పలుకులను
చెలుడు పలుక విని చెంత చేరి
చెప్పె యసలు కధ చెలునికి విశదము
నిజము విన్న చెలుడు నెమ్మదించె
యెలుక యుండు నెచటొ యెరుకనె నీకని
యడుగ తపసి చెప్పె యెరుక లేదు
మిత్రు డనియె నంత మూషికు డెంతయొ
దాచి యుండును తిండి దొంగ వోలె
యెంత ధనము యున్న యంత బలము యుండు
యెలుక ఎత్తు ఎగిరె యందు వలనె
జగతి నడుచు రీతి జనమును దోచియె
వినుము గాధ యొకటి వివరముగను! 64
తాత్పర్యము

English:

Hearing his guest speak harsh words, the hermit felt sad and moved closer to him. He told him the entire story of food and the mouse. Hearing this the guest cooled down and asked the hermit if he knew the place where the mouse stayed. the hermit replied in the negative. Then the guest said that the mouse must have accumulated lots of food. that is giving him the energy to jump so high. The ways of world are such that the persons who loot and accumulate wealth are the strongest. The guest then offered to tell a story with this moral.

65.
ఉ: నేనొక విప్రునింటి కడ నిల్చి యభ్యాగతుండనై
పానము యన్నమున్ యడుగ బాపని భార్య మక్కువన్
విప్రవరేణ్య మా కిలలొ వేలుపు మాదిరి వస్తిరీరు మా
యింటనె యన్నపానములు యాదర ముంచియు స్వీకరించుడీ! 65
తాత్పర్యము

English:

I once stood in front of the house of a Brahman and begged for alms. The wife of the Brahman invited me with pleasure and said I came like a God and requested me to stay with them and receive their hospitality.

66.
ఉ: నావుడు బ్రాహ్మణుండటులె నన్ను తనింటి లోపలన్
బూవులు తేవగన్ శివుని పూజలు సేయగ వారికిన్ తగున్
సేవలు సేయగన్ యచటె సమ్మతి సమ్మద ముండిపొమ్మనన్
యావిధి సర్వదా సనువు యాగము సక్రియ సేయుచుండగన్! 66
తాత్పర్యము

English:

Hearing this the Brahman too invited me into his abode and requested me to help in his daily prayers by bringing flowers and other requirements for his daily Yaga and prayers and so I was doing this with pleasure and enjoying their hospitality.

67.
అంత యొక్క దినము యార్యుడు పత్నితొ
యిటుల బలికె నేడు యినుడు దిశను
మార్చి యుత్తర దిశగ మరలుటన్ ధనికులు
దాన మిత్తు రెంతొ తనివి తోడ! 67
తాత్పర్యము

(తనివి= తృప్తి)

English:

One fine morning, the Brahman called his wife and told her that the pious Uttarayana started and that the rich donate alms and gifts to Brahmans and so he is going to the next village to receive such gifts.

68.
పోయి వత్తు నేను పక్క గ్రామము దమకను
తెచ్చు కొనెద వారు ఇచ్చు ధనము
బ్రాహ్మణుడను బిలిచి భోక్తవ్యము నిడుము
కమల ధరుని తలచి కాలు మొక్కు! 68
తాత్పర్యము

English:

“I will go to the next village and come back. In the meantime please call a Brahman and feed him in the name of Sun God.” said the Brahman.

panchatantramu

69.
పడతి చెంత లేవు బియ్యము దినుసులు
కోపమొచ్చి పడతి కస్సు మనెను
కుండ నిండు కొనెను వండెద యే రీతి
కర్మ నాది మిమ్ము కట్టు కొంటి! 69
తాత్పర్యము

English:

As the Brahman Lady had no rice or other items to cook, she became angry and lamented that she did a mistake marrying the poor Brahman.

70.
నొచ్చు కొన్న బాప నెమ్మది బలికెను
అటుల యాడ తగదు మాట మీరి
దేవుడిచ్చి నంతె దక్కును మనలకు
సగము పంచు కున్న సుఖము కలదు! 70
తాత్పర్యము

English:

The Brahman was sad too at his plight and was hurt at his wife’s words but recovered fast and said thus. ” You should not talk in such a harsh tone. Whatever God gives only will remain with us. If we share half of it we shall be blessed”.

71.
ఫలము దక్కు సగము భాగము బంచగ
ధనికు డేమి పొందొ దాన మిచ్చి
పేద వాడు పొందు పంచగ సగ పాలు
పేద ఇంటి గంజి పాయసమ్ము! 71
తాత్పర్యము

English:

If we share half of whatever little we have we will get the God’s blessings. If the rich gives a lot too, such blessing is not available. The poor gets back in kind if he gives half of what he has. The gruel in a poor man’s house is like Nectar.

72.
ఇచ్చు వాని కెపుడు ఇచ్చుట ధర్మము
పిసిని ధనికు జనులు యీస డింత్రు
సంద్ర మందు నీరు సంగ్రహించ రెవరు
బావి నీరు తాగ బ్రీతి మెండు! 72
తాత్పర్యము

English: The man who gives in charity should be helped in need. The miserly rich are shunned by the public. Water in the ocean is never taken by people to drink. But water from well is taken,

73.
అర్హ తెరిగి ఇవ్వ వ్యర్ధ మవదు యేది
ఆశ యెక్కుడైన నాశ మగును
యనగ భార్య యడుగ యది యెటు లనుచును
స్వామి చెప్పె సతికి శాండిలికి కధను! 73

English: If we give to the deserving, it will not be wasted. If a man develops greed he will perish. When the Brahman said so, “How is it so?”. Then the Brahman told her a story in reply.

74.
అడవి పంది పయిన యస్త్రము విసిరెను
విల్లెక్కు బెట్టిన వేట గాడు
గాయ పడిన పంది గర్జించి యురికెను
బోయ ప్రాణము పోయె పంది చేత
పంది కూడ తనదు ప్రాణము వదిలెను
బోయ చేసిన పెను గాయములతొ
జంబుకమ్మొక్కటి జనుచును యాదారి
క్షుద్భాధ పెక్కుడు క్షోభ పెట్ట
బోయ పంది జూసె బాయగ యసువులు
భాగ్యమన్న నాది బాగు బాగు
దొరికె యాహారమ్ము దండిగ యీనాడు
యనుచు తలచి నక్క యాశ చూసె! 74
తాత్పర్యము

A hunter shot his arrow at a boar which was injured. The boar, though injured, jumped on the hunter and killed him on the spot. It too died of the wounds inflicted by the hunter. A fox going that way very hungry and in search of food saw the bodies of the hunter and the boar. It thought in greed that it got plenty of food that day.

75.
దైవ బలము నాకు తోడయె యీనాడు
తృప్తి తీర తినగ దొరికె తిండి
పూర్వ జనమ మందు పరులను సేవించ
ఫలము దక్కు నంద్రు మరు జనమ! 75

English: It said to itself that it was God’s grace that she got plenty of food. Learned say that if one has done all good deeds in the previous births, they will be rewarded in the future births.

76.
వెదుక కుండ దొరికె వెనుక జన్మ ఫలమె
చేయు పుణ్య మొచ్చు జీవి వెంటె
చేసి యుండ నోపు చాల పుణ్యము నేను
విందు దొరికె నేడు వింత కాదె! 76

English: I came across so much of food without any effort. I must have done a lot of good in my previous births, I got a feast now. The good one does follows him for many births.

77.
కొలది కొలది దినెద కూడ బెట్టెద నంత
ధనము యున్న నాడె దాచ నోపు
యనుచు పెద్ద లనిరి యెంతొ ఙ్ఞానులు వారు
వింటి నారి తినెద పంట కొరికి! 77
తాత్పర్యము

English: It again thought that the leaned said that one should save money when it was plenty. I will also eat this food in small quantities daily. For today I will satisfy my hunger with this gut of the bow.

78.
యనుచు జంబుకమ్ము యానందముగ పోయి
వింటి నారి కొరికె పంటి బిగువు తోడ
బిగిసి యున్న నారి తెగివచ్చె వేగమ
నారి ద్దెబ్బ తగిలి నక్క చచ్చె! 78
తాత్పర్యము

English: So thinking the fox tries to snap the gut of the bow with his teeth using all the strength. The gut which was fixed to the bow very tightly snapped with such a speed that it hit the fox on the head and it died instantly.

79.
విప్రు డిట్లు యనియె వింటివ గాధను
యెన్ని దినము లుండు యెపుడు బోవు
ధనము, ఙ్ఞాన మెంత తనవిధి యెటులుండు
కర్త నిర్ణయించు కర్మ ఫలము! 79
తాత్పర్యము

English: The Brahman said. “Did you hear the story?” When does money come and where does it go? Who can predict the fate of his life? Only Lord Brahma decides the Karma and its effects”

80.
నక్క కధను విన్న నాతి యిటుల బల్కె
అర్ధ మయ్యె నాకు యాశ యనగ
యెంత చేటు దెచ్చొ యిచ్చి పుచ్చు కొనుట
భాగ్య మెంత యనగ బోధ పడెను! 80
తాత్పర్యము

English: Hearing the story of the greedy fox the wife of the Brahman said she understood the ill-effects of greed and the pleasure in giving and taking.”

81.
నువ్వు లుండె కొన్ని నాకడ పాతవి
పొట్టు తీసి వాటి రొట్టె సేతు
బ్రాహ్మణుడను బిలిచి భోజనము పెడుదు
బాపడేగె ముదము ప్రక్క గ్రామమునకు! 81

English: “I have with me un-husked sesame seeds with me in the house. I will remove the husk, make a roti and feed a Brahman” said the lady. Hearing this Brahman left to the next village.

82.
పొట్టు తిలలు నాన బెట్టి పొట్టును తీసి
పెట్టె యెండ యందు పడతి బాప
నాయి యొక్క టొచ్చి నాకి పోయె తిలలు
పడతి ఇంట వేరె పనిలొ యుండ! 82
తాత్పర్యము

English: the lady soaked the sesame seeds in water, removed the husk and kept them outside for drying. As she was engaged in household chores, a dog came and licked the seeds.

82.
ఇంతి చింత చెంది ఇటులను యోచించె
కుక్క ముట్టె నువ్వు కార్య మేమి
నువ్వు పప్పు ఇచ్చి నువ్వులు యడిగెద
పప్పు సాటి రాదు పొట్టు నువ్వు! 82

English: seeing what happened, the lady lamented how she could feed the sesame seeds touched by the dog and decided to exchange the husked seeds for un-husked from some one. she thought anyone would be willing to exchange husked seeds for the un-husked ones.

83.
పడతి పోయె పక్క బాపని యింటికి
పప్పు నిత్తు బదులు పొట్టు నువ్వు
నిత్తు రేని యనగ నటులనె బాపత
మగడు వచ్చి వలదు మోస మనియె! 83
తాత్పర్యము

English: The lady went to a neighbor’s house and offered to exchange the husked sesame seeds for un-husked one and the lady of the house gladly accepted the exchange. But her husband, who overheard, prevented her to do so as there must have been some cheating involved.

84.
పప్పు ఇత్తు రెవరు పొట్టు నువ్వు బదులు
మర్మ మెరుగ కుండ మారకమ్మ
విన్న విప్ర వనిత వల్లె యనుచు చెప్పె
కారణమ్ము లేక కదల దేది! 84

English: “Who will give husked seeds for raw seeds unless there is some hidden secret in the exchange? ” said the husband. So, the lady of the house declined the exchange. Without reason, nothing happens nor moves.

85.
అతిధి కధను చెప్పి యతి తోడ ఇంటులనె
మూషికమ్ము ఎగుర మర్మ మెరుగు
దాని కొచ్చె బలము దాచిన తిండితొ
అర్ధ బలము మిన్న యంగ బలము కంటె! 85
తాత్పర్యము

English: The guest told the story to the hermit and said thus. “You should know the hidden reason how the mouse was able to jump so high. It is because of the huge pile of food it saved. Always know that the strength from hidden treasure is greater than strength of one’s limbs.

§

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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

Kalamkari Sarees

The following Post was composed by Sheetal Mishra.She is Fashion writer at IndicPortal


kalamkari-saree

So Monday again !!! When the rest of the world searches for motivations to get back to its work place, I enjoy my weekly off.  Usually on Mondays I prefer to sleep, sleep and sleep…  But surprisingly this Monday is motivating me to write something. Something about my favorites, like the finest  handlooms of the Telugu states. Few of my favorites are Pochampalli, Mangalagiri, Uppada and Kalamkari of which Kalamkari holds a special place in my heart.

50% of my wardrobe is being taken by Kalamkari palazzos, jackets, sarees, short kurtas, long kurtas, skirts even kalamkari bags… I am fortunate enough to work in a place where I get to meet a lot of handloom weavers and vendors. So I take pleasure in sharing a few tidbits about this wonder weaving style…

How it originated …

In this busy life we often pick up things in rush. We don’t bother to look into the hardship and passion which go into its making. Each piece of fabric carries a rich history and has a story tell which goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Let’s dig the cultural history of India a bit to track the origins of the Kalamkari Fabric.

Indian society has a rich tradition of folklores, folk arts and dances. In ancient times, people traveled from one village to other narrating stories of Hindu mythology. Later people evolved various methodologies to make these story-telling sessions more effective. Representing stories through paintings, songs and dance was very commonly used. The Pattachitra, Cheriyala, Madhubani and other styles of art were widely used for this purpose. Even now you will find traditional craftsmen singing songs based on their paintings. In fact, Kalamkari is related to the traditional art of Pattachitra (still called by that name in neighboring Odisha). Though they have both become their own separate styles, they share a common origin in Temple painting as prescribed by the Sastras.

And no wonder this is how Kalamkari came into existence.

In ancient times, groups of singers, musicians and painters, called chitrakattis, moved village to village to tell the village dwellers, the great stories of Hindu Mythology”. They illustrated their accounts using large bolts of canvas painted on the spot with simple means and dyes extracted from plants

The Kalamkari tradition chiefly consists of scenes from Hindu mythology. Figures of deities with rich border embellishments were created for the temples. In Machilipatnam, the weavers were involved in the block printing art, while at Kalahasti, the Balijas (a caste involved in making bangles) took to this art and gave it a free hand dimension. Kalamkari is basically done on cotton fabrics with pens or blocks.

Kalamkari art or hand printing can be broadly categorized into two major forms – Machilipatnam Style and Srikalahasti Style. Machilipatnam style is dominated by block prints where Srikalahasti style is famous for its free hand drawings. As for the process, “there were 12 steps employed at Masulipatnam (this after the cloth has been woven) and 17 steps at Sri Kalahasti.” [4] Kalahasti is near the famous temple town of Tirupathi, and Machilipatnam is on the central coast.

machilipatnam_-_tirupathi_link_narsapur_-_tirupathi_express_route_map

The Kalahasti style developed around the temples with their patronage. As a result it has a distinct religious identity and thrives on mythological themes. The attractive blend of colors on the fabrics usually portrays characters from the Indian mythology. with the divinity figures of Brahma, Saraswati, Ganesh, Durga, Shiva, Parvati as the main source of inspiration [3]

While the traditional art was practiced in the ancient period of Andhra desa, there were changes during the medieval era. Owing to the Qutb Shahi period of Golkonda, the Machlipatnam Kalamkari was influenced by Persian motifs & designs, widely adapted to suit their taste. The outlines and main features are done using hand carved blocks. Srikalahasti, however, remains more traditional and in line with the ancient standard.

The term Kalamkari itself signifies artwork (Kari) done by a “Kalam” (Pen). Despite the recent name, the technique is very ancient and precedes the period of Turco-Persian influence, making it a native Andhra craft [4].  Kalam, which gives the characteristic look to this art, is traditionally made of bamboo.  Craftsmen pick fine bamboo sticks and rolls around few strings of thread for the grip. This helps in getting the fine strokes of this unique variety of handloom. Craftsmen prepare colors from vegetable and root extracts which are very good for skin too.

The beginnings of Kalamkari probably rest in South India and grew out of the need to illustrate some of the temple rituals. The temples commissioned large religious themed cloths.[4]

What I heard from weavers…

kalamkarifabric
Sree Lakshmi Kalamkari Works

On a lazy Sunday evening I was just checking out some Kalamkari sarees from a vendor. As any girl would like to, I started bargaining on the Saree. The vendor who happened to be a craftsman also, narrated the process of making the Kalamkari Saree. I was taken aback!!!  The Saree they sell for only 1500 bucks actually takes a month’s time to get ready. It takes months to prepare the fabric and the natural colors. Then they draw designs and patterns and fill it properly with hands.The entire process requires 17 complex steps to complete. The process starts with the bleaching the cotton fabric in a solution mixed with cow /sheep dung. Later, the fabric is washed and rinsed number of times in clean water. The bleaching process takes a couple of days.

Once it is done, the next step is to soak the bleached fabric in a special solution called myrobalam prepared with milk and resins. Then the fabric is left for sun drying. Once it’s dry and crisp, it becomes the canvas for the craftsmen. Craftsmen paint patterns and designs in series and each time they have wash it again and again to get the desired look.

kalamkarifabric2

What different articles tell about Kalamkari –

An article written by Kishore Singh in Forbes India dated Apr 16, 2016 says “ In terms of story-telling, the Kalamkari painted cloth tries to provide a religious or historical narrative, often in the form of panels, with or without a dominant central figure.”

An article on Kalamkari says– “The Kalamkari tradition is more than three thousand years old. The earliest fabrics amples of this craft found in the Mohenjo-daro excavations date back to 3000 B.C. Some samples of Madder dyed cloth with traditional Indian motifs have also been discovered in Egyptian tombs during excavations at Al Fustat near Cairo. These bear testimony not only to the antiquity of the craft but also prove that it was well developed and formed part of a flourishing export in ancient times.

An article on Chitrolekha says– “The Kalahasti style developed around the temples with their patronage. As a result it has a distinct religious identity and thrives on mythological themes. The attractive blend of colors on the fabrics usually portrays characters from the Indian mythology. with the divinity figures of Brahma, Saraswati, Ganesh, Durga, Shiva, Parvati as the main source of inspiration. The Kalahasti artists generally depict on the cloth the deities, scenes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Puranas and other mythological classics mainly producing scrolls, temple backcloths, wall hangings, chariot banners and the like. In ancient times, the common man learned of gods and goddesses, and of their mythical character from these paintings.”

And here goes my personal touch to the article –

As you might have sensed from this article, I am crazy about Kalamkari fabrics. I won’t do justice to my article if I won’t share few clicks from my beautiful Kalamkari collection…..

kalamkarisitu

So as you see, Kalamkari, apart from being a weaving style, is the life and livelihood of many traditional artisans of The Telugu States. This generation should stand up to promote our ancient handloom weaving techniques which have a lot of stories and historical references connected with them. Our act of supporting handloom will pave way to pass on cultural values to posterity. When handloom is being promoted as a part of “Make in India” by our Government, it is our responsibility to add it to our wardrobe too.

Hope my article urges you to pick Kalamkari fabrics for your family. By doing this you will not just support the craftsmen involved in this, but also will adapt a healthier life style by wearing pure cotton or silk and chemical free clothes.

kalamkarisitu2

References:

  1. Bhatnagar, Parul. Kalamkari. https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/65619463?access_key=key-1i4e4emilphei76vaxgl
  2. http://www.forbesindia.com/printcontent/42983
  3. Kalamkari, the Art of Painting. http://chitrolekha.com/kalamkari/
  4. Shep, Robb. http://www.speakingwithhands.com/article_details.php?aid=44

Personalities: NTR

ntr

Those of you following us on twitter may have been reading our recent tweets on Self-Respect. It is a word that is often used by rowdies for all the wrong movements. But self-respect is something greater than self-glorification. Self-respect is fundamentally about respecting yourself by respecting others. After all, a gentleman behaves properly around ladies (no matter what their character), not because of what it says about them, but because of what it says about him.

One such gentleman was celebrated for not only the characters he portrayed on screen, but the character he showed on the political stage. In fact, our very own Chandra Mohan garu wrote on the topic and the man here. Though we will build upon this theme, we will focus more on the biographical, cinematic, and political aspects of his place in history.

Few men in their lives (and after) can be recalled by the masses with simple initials: NTR is one such man.

While Sri Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao garu may have passed away 2 decades ago, his life and legacy, in cinema and in politics, touches every Telugu to this day.

If any actor ever put the mythos in a mythic career, it was the man who defined it and defined “Mythology” in the minds of the Telugus. That is why he is the topic of today’s installment in our Continuing Series on Andhra Personalities.

Background

Born in the village of Nimmakuru, Krishna District, on May 28, 1923, NTR hailed from an agricultural family of modest economic background.His parents were Venkataramamma and Laxmaiah. Due to the customs of the time, he was adopted by his childless paternal uncle Ramaiah and his wife. After completing class 5, young Rama Rao had to matriculate in Vijayawada to complete primary, and secondary studies. He later enrolled in SRR and CVR colleges. In a twist of fate, his first play was written by the head of the Telugu Department at his College, Kavi Samrat Viswanatha Satyanarayana. The drama was a progressive piece on women’s issues in Rachamalluni Dautyam. In those days, society was very conservative and ladies did not act in plays. The famously masculine ‘man of the masses’ was made to play (reluctantly) the heroine’s role…an experience which would later come in handy in Narthanasala, no doubt!

Nevertheless, the consummate thespian, NTR played the role to perfection and won first prize. This gave him the taste for theatre, which he would later bring to the silver screen.

From his early days of youth itself, he was a breadwinner for the kutumbam, selling milk on his bicycle to help the household make ends meet.

At the age of 20, he married Basava Tarakam. However, he had yet to complete his studies, and thus, had a difficult time succeeding in his examinations, given this new responsibility as a householder. He finally succeeded in passing out of Andhra Christian College in Guntur, with a Bachelor of Arts, in 1945. He also founded the National Art Theatre, a drama group. He later met the famed director L.V.Prasad. This chance meeting was a taste of things to come, and would play a pivotal role in his career.

In the mean time, however, the demands of supporting a family meant that he had to take up a job.  He passed the Madras Service Commission examination and was given a job as sub-registrar. This minor post was not to his liking, and he was stunned upon seeing the open bribery taking place.

Nevertheless, he had cultivated a booming baritone signing voice, and was blessed with good looks and broad shoulders. Deciding to chase his destiny, he quit his job and resolved to make a career in films.

From his first part, a walk-on as a police officer in Mana Desam (1949), for which he was paid 500 rupees (today about pounds 10 sterling), he became one of the cinema-crazed state’s best-known idols. [4]

A mere three weeks into his job, his photo was picked out of L.V.Prasad’s album by B.A.Subba Rao, for the hero’s role in Palleturi Pilla. This would launch the most legendary of all Telugu film careers.

ntr-headshot

The list of films ,of course, is endless. While Palleturi Pilla was itself a super hit, due in no small part to NTR’s refusal to have a stunt-double for his bull-fighting scene (he was hospitalised after being thrown by it), it was Paathala Bhairavi that would launch him into the stratosphere. So successful was this blockbuster, that it would later be made in other languages.

But, it was Maya Bazaar, of course, that would seal this screen legend’s place in Cinema-dom. Virtually living in the role of Sri Krishna, NTR’s acting here would set a trend of divine performances (pun intended) that would forever mark his place on the psyche of the Telugus. So scintillating was he in these pauranic roles, and so synonymous with these puranic stories, that many village and towns folk would touch his feet in divine association, in a way only seen since for actors of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. Such is the power of Cinema—something NTR would leverage for his second career, in his second innings.

Fittingly, and indeed, very politically, his last movie before entering politics in 1982 was Bobbili Puli. It would serve as the ideal segue and launch pad for him into politics. The film released on his Sashtipoorthi (completion of 60 years), with the Telugu Desam Party, the party he founded, marking its formal entry into politics on the same day. He grandly seized power in a landslide election victory in 1983. Though ousted in a coup the following year, he returned quickly with an even greater mandate.

Closer to home, NTR ultimately had six sons and four daughters from his marriage. The most famous of his progeny is of course, the silver screen star Balakrishna (set to appear soon as Gautamiputra Satakarni). However, the son who would have the most impact on him politically would be the one by marriage, who took over the leadership of the Telugu Desam Party. As is notoriously recounted elsewhere, there were family dissensions in the last few years of Rama Rao garu’s life. His first wife passed away in 1984. He remarried, and this time, it was to his erstwhile political biographer, Lakshmi Parvati in the early 1990s. Family politics being what they are, the grown children did not take kindly to the political changes that accompanied the personal changes. Together with NTR’s son Harikrishna, Nara Chandra Babu Naidu took over the leadership effectively in a takeover bid, and would go on to carve out a notable legacy as CM of old & new Andhra Pradesh state.

Without judgment of either side, this turn of events (whether warranted or otherwise) had a traumatic effect on NTR, who felt betrayed. True to his indomitable spirit, he planned a comeback, but Mahakaal had other plans. The celebrated Movie star, State Political leader, and National Political figure had his final innings. He passed away on January 18, 1996, at the age of 72. A lifelong practitioner of yoga, he credited it for his longevity and energy.

Achievements

ntr_achievement

The manifold achievements of this man of the masses, have faded with the passage of time. Perhaps it is time we remind the younger generation of why NTR’s name carries so much pull to this day, on both sides of the Polavaram.

His cinematic achievements are obvious, and indeed will be discussed in greater detail later in the Post. If they could be summed up in a phrase, however, it was performing High Culture for the masses. It was theatre on the silver screen that was accessible to educated and illiterate and young and old alike. Indeed, in the early phases of old AP, where there was some mistrust among the three regions of Andhra (Kosta, Rayalaseema, and Telangana), whatever differences cropped up due to history, evaporated when this screen legend appeared as the divine and historical personalities revered by all Telugus alike.

But he was a trend-setter not only in Cinema, but also in politics. The first Rath Yatra was done not by LKA, but by NTR. His ‘Chaitanya Ratham’ would conduct a yatra throughout the state, even finding him a place in the records books, marking 75,000 kms in less than a year.

When he first hit the road with it in 1982, soon after founding the party, the vehicle was an object of ridicule by the Congress. But criss-crossing the length and breadth of the State on the ‘chariot of awakening,’ with the theme song of Telugu self-respect on his lips, he was able to rouse the masses and defeat the ruling Congress. The election was a landmark in the country’s political history, as NTR stormed to power within nine months of founding his party defeating a century-old party.[6]

By the time the elections had come around, this modern Chariot and this modern Andhradesadeeswara managed to rouse popular rebellion against these modern sultans of Delhi. Rather than paeans to the decadent Nehru-Gandhi Netas of Congress, in its place sounded, Maa Telugu Thalli, throughout the state.

For months, the ‘Chaitanya Ratham’ trundled along the lush green paddy fields of coastal Andhra Pradesh, the dry landscape of Rayalaseema and Telangana and through the busy thoroughfares of the towns. “[6]

For those who thought NTR managed to merely “coast” to victory on the back of his celebrity, they clearly missed the lessons on political groundwork he gave them, free of charge. It was this campaign, this ratha yatra that garnered him the popular support and credibility to gain power. It demonstrated, as some recent film stars-turned-politician can attest, that his election was no fluke. But his political achievements go beyond political innovation. Here is a quick recap for readers:

  • In all, he acted in 292 films in a career spanning 33 years between 1949 and 1982. Of these, 274 are in Telugu, 15 in Tamil and three in Hindi.” [3]
  • Awarded the Padma Shri in1968. 3 National Film awards. 1 Nandi Award
  • Was instrumental in shifting the Telugu Film Industry from Madras to Hyderabad. This along with his life-long devotion to his mother tongue helped restore the distinct identity of the Andhras.
  • Pushed for decentralisation of governance through Mandal elections. Began restoring traditional Telugu-Sanskrit terms from colonial Nizam-Persian terms.
  • Took on and crushed the fundamentalists in Old City Hyderabad, making this Capital of Telugus from the Days of Golkonda, safe for all citizens.
  • Introduced mid-day meal programme for children of impoverished families. Later copied in 7 other states.
  • He reserved more university places and expanded primary education for Women.
  • Implemented the Telugu Ganga Project in Rayalaseema, together with support of Sathya Sai Baba, quenched the water thirst in the region.
  • Ended the oppressive Patel-Patwari system of the Nizam era in Telangana
  • After Starring, Directing, and Producing films, also began Screenwriting films. Notably wrote Samrat Ashoka in 1992
  • Adorned the Tankbund with great figures from Telugu History.

What happened to those statues he gave us, today?

Legacy

ntr_josh

The illustrious legacy of NTR remains concrete to most, but nevertheless, controversial to many. A beloved personality, so widely revered by villages and urbanites alike, necessitates historical understanding, objectively.

With any popularly honoured figure, so synonymous with a modern culture, it becomes as important to understand the man beyond the hagiographies and diatribes alike. Political opponents refuse to compliment him and political fanboys…well…commit suicide over him (as one did when he passed away).

Nevertheless, the legacy of NTR to the Telugu land is hard to gainsay. Economically sound or not, his 2 rs/kg rice programme saved thousands upon thousands from starvation. Questions of nepotism aside, he forged a coherent countervailing influence to the corrupt Congress. Snide remarks of parochialism aside, his Telugu atma-gauravam campaign restored self-respect for Telugus at a time when it had reached a low point. Nothing was more emblematic of the sea-change in the Telugu Restoration he initiated in the capital of the Telugus, by enforcing through Law Enforcement, the implementation and protection of Official Telugu signboards in Hyderabad from urdu-language fanatics. Golkonda of the Kakatiya era was the capital of Krishna-Godavari Samskruthi, not the geographically non-native Ganga-jamuni “tehzeeb“.

Above all however, both on screen and off, he reminded Andhras that they were not mere colonised people of the British Raj, but the inheritors of the Empire of Krishna Deva Raya. No man more poignantly and poetically demonstrated the relationship between Art & History, Cinema & Politics. Let us do a retrospective of his roles.

Cinematic

Unlike the self-promoting but culturally barbarous “bollywood” (of modern middle eastern orientation), the Telugu Film Industry has promoted real native Bharatiya Samskruthi in all its glory. This tradition reached its noontide under Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. While the period that followed his golden years in the Golden Age of Telugu cinema was not altogether free of caste critiques of closed doors, the quality of films in his era did not suffer, as it did in later periods. The films of NTR were High Culture for the Masses. They demonstrated that it was possible to create meaningful and mature films for even illiterate audiences . If we had Gidugu Ramamurthy garu for Literature, we had Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao garu for Cinema. False dichotomies of stilted inaccessible vs crass cruditude were no longer required. The full spectrum from granthikam to mandalikam to janapadam, could be enjoyed, only if presented with taste and aesthetics. This mantle, after a long hiatus, has been taken up again by director S.S.Rajamouli.

These matters not withstanding, having taken a look at the man behind the films, let us take a look at the movie mogul in his films.

Paathaala Bhairavi

It’s of course difficult to pinpoint a single scene, a single movie, or a single set of movies as definitive of the body of work an artiste has contributed to the body saamskruthik, but there are a few standouts not only for cultural purposes but for career purposes as well. The first such movie is the popular Paathala Bhairavi. Arguably the first blockbuster in a long and illustrious career, this was NTR’s first true contribution to the long list of cultural significant films he produced.

A romantic hero, a lover, and a fighter, the character he played was in truth, the Telugu every man. This 1951 hit made waves not only in both Telugu states (unification would be a long 5 years later…) . What was praiseworthy about it was how it was based off the native Burrakatha tradition of Telugudom. But if any one scene truly embodies the subtleties that are often missed in the grandeur of Taraka Rama Rao Senior, it is this.

Maya Bazaar

For all the incipient greatness of Paathaala Bhairavi, it was Maya Bazaar that forever etched NTR in the hearts of Telugus. Appearing in the first of what would eventually be 17 appearances as Lord Krishna, it was this cinematic Rayudu’s most popular role.

The execrable modern attempts to create almost an androgrynous Krishna would be firmly rebuked with a single screening of the “Ranchod” portrayed by Rama Rao. Indeed, NTR’s Kannayya gave us the statesman and strategic thinker, rather than than the traditional young flute-player or philosophic Gita-giver. It was a serious Krishna, that nevertheless, lost none of the provocative charm and coy uplifting inspiration.

One would make juxtaposition with the much later, and nationally-recognised Nitish Bharadwaj, but my Telugu credentials would stand impeached, so NTR it is…

Missamma

Arguably one of his most sensitive roles, it also showed that, in contrast to the decidedly modern “eve-teasing” and general street harassment of women courtesy Bollywood, lotharios of a different era had a more genteel and courteous approach to women, even when being playful.

In contrast to this era of narcissism and solipsism as strategy for social success, NTR’s character here showed how restrained charm, and manly sensitiveness, along with boyish playfulness, go a longer way for would-be Kamadeva’s even in our era. Indeed, his character found himself the object of affection of not only Missamma herself, but Jamuna’s character as well!

This scene nevertheless captures his unique ability to project a confident yet approachable and self-aware masculinity on screen. It was not loud and brash, but cultured and self-mastered.

Narthanasala

narthanasala

Last but not least, it was this movie, more than any other, that showed us NTR the acting professional, rather than merely NTR the star. His full depth and range was seen in this production. His turn in the role of Brihannala (Arjuna’s identity during the Pandavas’ agyatavasam) was genre-defining. This was all the more so given the fact that he learned dance from none other than the eminence grise of Kuchipudi himself, Sri Vempati Chinna Satyam garu.

Of course, there are many, many more movies that could be pored over, and indeed, will be. Nevertheless, here are a few other standouts.

Other Notable Filmography

Bhookailas

Tenali Rama Krishna

Mahamantri Timmarasu

Srinadha Kavi Sarvabhouma

Sampoorna Ramayanam

Gundamma Katha

Sri Venkateshwara Mahatmyam

Bobbili Puli

Full Filmography

Political

With three terms as Chief Ministers Rama Rao garu had as long-lasting a legacy in politics as he did in films. Each time he would be voted out of office, he would return to power with landslide victories. Indeed, in his final days, he had hoped to do the same, but Destiny decided otherwise.

From breaking the oppressive Patel-Patwari system of the Nizam to giving a firm rebuke to the Gandhi dynasty and its Congi cronies, NTR is synonymous with one thing: Self-Respect. But his was not a crass “self-respect” that singled out a single caste or a set of “settlers” for slander, it was a self-respect that brought people together rather than divide them up. Did he cater to his base?—sure, like any sharp politician does. The question is, did his actions and policies benefit the state as a whole?

True Atma-gauram lies not in “licking the ones who kick and kicking the ones who lick”, but giving a black eye to those who push you around and protecting those who can’t protect themselves. That is the difference between a poodle and a purusha. The ethos of Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao reminded us precisely of that Nara-tattvam and that Telugu Atma-Gauravam and that Andhra Abhimanam. One can be a good local citizen, a good state citizen, a good national citizen, and a good cultural denizen. NTR represented all four.

He firmly stood up to the presiding national leader who over-stepped his bounds, to show Telugus could not be pushed around. It did not matter what the caste was of T.Anjaiah whom Rajiv Gandhi insulted, what mattered was his mother tongue. The only jati that mattered here was the Andhra jati.

He crushed the fundamentalists from Old City Hyderabad, and helped reassert the place of Golkonda as an old capital of the Telugus. This is true atma-gauram. This ended the communal riots during Ganesh Nimmajan.  And yet from the days of NTR and CBN (who finally tamed them), here is the state of the new state today.

He, significantly, chaired the National Front, a left-leaning alliance, that served as a counterweight to Congress. At the height of his popularity, NTR was thus deemed Prime Ministerial material, and had luck ultimately favoured, he may have succeeded—such were the shadows he cast in those days. Nevertheless, the opportunity did not fructify, and instead, true to his legacy, he promoted the candidacy of the first South Indian and first Telugu Prime Minister, Sri Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao garu. Though the relations between PVNR and NTR would ebb-and-flow, there was a common bond of Teluguthanam, that, whatever their differences, united them. Rama Rao garu even refused to field an opponent against the future PM, for the Lok Sabha seat.

As such, perhaps the most telling description of all came from his sometimes political rival, and a man he himself nevertheless supported.

The prime minister, Narasimha Rao, described him as “a man of many parts – a learned and deeply religious person, a very fine and powerful actor who swayed millions of people, a forceful orator and above all, a man of the masses.”[4]

But for all of Telugudom, NTR was more than just “a very fine and powerful actor“, but a reel and real-life superstar who not only defined Andhra Cinema, but became synonymous with the Divine Stories it once told. To this day, he set a cultural standard that Telugu film is only again beginning to rediscover in both depth and grandeur. The statues still being constructed of him, confirm this story.

While his administration was not free of caste-conflict, notably two key episodes standing out (Vangaveeti Ranga and the Violence at Karamchedu), to blame NTR directly would be as unfair as blaming PVNR for the Babri Riots. Politics is complicated, and whatever role caste plays in it today, it only emphasises the need for us to focus more on Rajdharma than just Rajniti. Political leaders are also products of their time, and such matters are better left for historians to research more deeply.

For the purposes of Andhra Cultural Portal, however, the cultural contribution of this man is what stands out the most.

Cultural

ntr_movies_list

The cultural impact of Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao cannot be minimised. This is for the simple fact that he was the thespian who brought High Culture to the Masses. Rather than looking down upon the mamidi manishi, and churning out mindless drivel for box office collections, he told us stories that defined the genre: Maya Bazaar, Missamma, Paathaala Bhairavi, Narthanasala, Bhookailas, the list goes on and on for films that not only gave us entertaining stories, but that lifted our spirits and intellects.

Even religion was dealt with a tasteful manner, not with the blaring of instruments, but with the touching of the soul. It was this deft weaving of the nava rasa and dhvani that gave never-ending resonance to his political message. Populist though he was, there was a dharma to his dharna.

Many may of course point to various corruption charges. But even the great PVNR was not immune to these allegations, and politics in India has in recent centuries, truly been a grimy business. What’s more, as one can see with a certain political party in the State of Delhi, and even outside the country, more often than not, accusers often have grimier hands that the accused.

Others of course bring focus to NTR’s second wife and her political involvement in his waning days, others may point out to gossip of numerous love affairs. But men of power have always had powerful appetites, and have been hurt by them in the process. Whether the rumours of the silent coup on the inside are as true as the overt rebellion from his family on the outside, is a matter for historians to resolve. But if one criticism can be made of NTR, it’s that he, like other politicians from Bhishma to L.K.Advani, should make succession plans and retire at the right age.

Along with this cultural legacy, was a familial one. Family matters aside, his name carries on today with not only his sons, but his Grandson and namesake NTR junior, and even the son of first Chief Minister of new Telangana state. Such is the stamp of “Taraka Rama Rao”, literally.

And to return to matters full circle, while one should aspire to the legacy of Ram, the question ultimately is what good was done for the people, state, and  culture.

NTR’s achievements, both political and cultural speak for themselves. Above all, however, the measure of a man is not whether he alternates between tyrant and sycophant. A real leader doesn’t beat up on the weak while slinking away before the strong. He stands up to the strong and defends the weak, as he did during Indira Gandhis regime. That is true self-respect. Ahankar and Ego take pride in flattery, braggadocio, and bullying. Real leaders show us the real meaning of atma-gauram. Not complaining about settlers who are your language brothers, but recognising the perils posed by persian-language promoting videshi colonists. Not emotionally combusting at slights and provocations, or last minute last stands, but harnessing man power and organising people power for the common good, consistently. That is real atma-gauram.

It was NTR who showed how to be a good regional leader and a good national leader. It was NTR who showed the real meaning of class: aristrocracy not of distant royalty, but of an accessible and courteous and cultured gentry. To neither take for granted our state and mother tongue, but to also not neglect the national interest. It was NTR who reminded Telugus of Self-Respect.

It was NTR who showed us the power of unity and the importance of Telugu Thanam.

Johar Anna garu.

References:

  1. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-telugu-desam-party-turns-29-nt-rama-rao-remembered-1364859
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/12/09/stories/2002120901160200.htm
  3. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/telugu/movies/news/NTR-is-the-greatest-Indian-actor/articleshow/18860418.cms
  4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-n-t-rama-rao-1324748.html
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/19/world/n-t-rama-rao-72-is-dead-star-status-infused-his-politics.html?_r=0
  6. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article309419.ece
  7. http://www.thehindu.com/2004/03/09/stories/2004030913280300.htm
  8. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Cabinet-recommends-rice-sambar-for-mid-day-meal/articleshow/23508751.cms?referral=PM
  9. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004417/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

పంచతంత్రం STORIES OF PANCHATANTRA—Mitra Labhamu (Gaining Friends) Ch.4

mithralabhamu4

పంచతంత్రం

STORIES OF PANCHATANTRA

IN SIMPLE TELUGU POEMS — TRANSLATION INTO ENGLISH

MITRA LABHAMU- GAINING FRIENDS-Chapter 4

§

[Continuing the Series of Original Poems on the Panchatantra by Chandra gaaru, is Chapter 3 of Mitra Labhamu. Chapters 1 & 2 can be found here and Chapter 3 here.]

 

1.
విష్ణు శర్మ నామ విప్రుండు గురువు
శిష్యులందరికిని చెప్పె కథలు
నాడు నేడు రేపు నీతి బతుకు రీతి
పంచతంత్ర మంచు పేరు నిడెను!  1

………………………………………………

36.
ఆరు లక్షణములు ఇరువురి బ్రేమకు
పంచు కొనుట గలుగ యుంచు కొనక
పుచ్చు కొనుట కరుణ ఇచ్చిన బహుమతి
వలయు పంచుకొనగ తెలిసిన మాటయు! 36
తాత్పర్యము

English: There are six distinct characteristics to define friendship between two individuals. 1. Sharing whatever is possessed without being miser. 2. Accepting whatever is given out of love and 3. Sharing the thoughts through the word of mouth.
kaakihiranyaka

37.
చెప్పు మాటలు వినును చెవుల కింపు గాగ
తిండి బంచు హితుకు తాను తినగ
తినును హితుడు తనకు దానమిచ్చిన తిండి
గుణము లివియె బ్రేమ గుఱుతు బట్ట! 37
తాత్పర్యము

English: 4. The other friend hears the words spoken by the first with attention. 5. While eating he shares food with the friend. 6. The real friend savours the food so served by the other. These are the six characteristics that define true friendship.

38.
కాంక లివ్వ శివుడు కరుణతొ జూచును
గడ్డి బెట్ట యావు బిడ్డ మరచి
బాలు ఇచ్చు జాల బ్రేమ మీరంగను
ఇచ్చి పుచ్చు కొనుట యసలు బ్రేమ! 38
తాత్పర్యము

English: God gives boons if we appease him with small gifts. If we feed grass the cow gives milk even forgetting to feed the calf. The real friendship lies in give and take.

39.
సాగ వారి మైత్రి సామ్యమునను
వాశి కుదుర ఎలుక వాయసమ్ముకు
కలుగు వదిలి ఎలుక కాకి పక్కకు వచ్చె
రెక్క నడుమ డాగి సుఖము నుండె! 39
తాత్పర్యము

English: As the friendship between the mouse and the crow established like this, and mutual trust between them increased by the day, the mouse came out of the hole and settled in the feather-bed of the crow.

40.
అంతట యొక దినము యాయాస పడుచును
వాయసమ్ము వచ్చె వేగము గాను
తాను ఇచట నుండ తగదని ఏడిచె
ఎలుక చింత చెందె ఏమి యాయె! 40
తాత్పర్యము

English: As days were passing by like this, one day the crow came flying fast sweltering and breathless and told the mouse that it would be impossible for her to stay there in the forest. The mouse asked him what had turned up.

41.
వాయసమ్ము బలికె యాయాసమును వీడి
కరువు వచ్చి పడెను కాన యందు
గంజి లేక జనులు కాక బలు లాపిరి
బోయ వాడు వలను బట్టు కొచ్చె! 41
తాత్పర్యము

English: The crow recouped her breath and said that a severe drought hit the surroundings of the forest and people, unable to feed themselves stopped offerings to crows. ( This reference is to the offerings of cooked read rice to crows during Yagas and at the time of paying obsequies to the Departed). Hunters are on prowl to net the various birds in the forest.

42.
బోయ వాండ్రు వచ్చి బన్నిరి వలలను
నేను వలను చిక్కి నయమున వచ్చితి
ప్రాణ ముండ నేను బయటకు బోవలె
ఎటుల యైన బోదు ఎచట కయిన! 42
తాత్పర్యము

English: I too got caught in one net, but through my tact I came out. If I want to live I should leave the forest. I should go somewhere, somehow.

43.
యనగ విని యెలుక యెంతయు చింతించి
యిటుల బలికె ‘హితుడ ‘ యెటుల బోదు
విపుడు గమ్య మెచట వేగిర బడకుము
యాపద సమయమున యాలో చించు! 43
తాత్పర్యము

English: Hearing the melancholic story of the crow, the perturbed mouse said. “Oh! Friend! Where will you go now? What is the destination? Do not hurry. In times of trouble, you should think”

44.
యనగ బలికె కాకి యెంతయొ బ్రేమతొ
కలడు యొక్క హితుడు కారడవిన
మందరకము యతడు మిత్రము హితుడును
కూర్మ రాజు యతడు కావ గలడు! 44
తాత్పర్యము

English: The crow said with lots of affection. “ I have a friend yonder deep in the forest. He is a Tortoise. His name is Mandaraka. He can provide us a secure place”

45.
స్నేహ శీలి యతడు సాకును మనలను
కబురు లాడు కొనుచు గడుప వచ్చు
సుఖము నుండ వచ్చు సమయము తెలియదు
నోరు మంచి దైన యూరు మంచి! 45
తాత్పర్యము

English: He is of a very friendly disposition. He will patronise us. We can spend time in friendly conversations. We can live happily without knowing time. If our word is good, world is good to us.

46.
దూర మేగ వలయు దేహము కాపాడ
కాపు (రక్ష) లేదు కాల మెట్లు గడచు
పోద మటకు బేగ పయనము యగుమన
మూషికుండు బలికె మరల ఇటుల! 46
తాత్పర్యము

English: To secure ourselves, we may have to travel beyond borders. How can we spend time here fearing for security day on day? Get ready! We shall travel fast. Hearing this the mouse said thus.

47.
ఎగుర గలవు నీవు యాకస మందున
నేను ఎటుల వత్తు నడక తోడ
యనగ కాకి బలికె యెంతయొ బ్రేమతొ
భయము వలదు హితుడ కలదు వెరవు! 47
తాత్పర్యము

English: You can fly high in the air. How can I follow you on land at snail’s pace? Hearing the doubt of the Mouse the crow said, “Do not fear. There is a way out of this tricky issue”

48.
ఎగుర గలను నేను ఎంతపైకి యయిన
గింగిరాలు కొట్టి కింద దిగెద
నాదు వీపు మీద నీవు కూరుచొనుము
యెగిరి పోద మటులె యేల భయము! 48
తాత్పర్యము

English: “Yes! Right! I can fly high in the air. I can do acrobatics in the air and land safely anywhere. You sit on my back. Why should you fear? We shall fly together.”

49.
ఎక్క మూషికుండు యెగిరెను కాకియు
మిత్రు జూడ ఎంతొ ముదము తోడ
ఆకసమున బోయె యమిత వేగముతోడ
చేరె బేగ చెలుని చెరువు చెంత! 49
తాత్పర్యము

English: Thus, as the mouse sat comfortably on her back the crow flew into the skies with intense speed and pleasure and reached his friend, the Tortoise place.meeting-a-new-friend-1

50.
పిలిచె హితుడ చూడు పరుగున వచ్చితి
వచ్చి కౌగలించు వొక్క సారి
మేని స్పర్శ మంచి గంధము కాదొకొ
కప్పురంబు తోడ కలియు రీతి! 50
తాత్పర్యము

English: After landing on the banks of the lake where the tortoise lives, the crow called out. “Oh! Friend! I came to see you with doubled up enthusiasm. Come and hug me. Elders say that the touch of a friend’s body is like camphor coated with sandalwood.

51.
కూర్మ మొచ్చి చూసె కడు సంతసము తోడ
కుశల మడిగె బ్రేమ కాకి జూసి
అడిగె హితుడ యెలుక యెటులొచ్చె నీ తోడు
కాకి తినదె యెలుక కాన గానె!
తాత్పర్యము

English: The tortoise came out with immense happiness and asked about the welfare of the crow. He asked with surprise, “Is not mouse your food? How could it accompany you, without your devouring him?”

52.
కాకి బలికె ఇటుల కడు ప్రేమ తోడను
మూషికుండు నాకు మంచి హితుడు
పరుల సేవ యతని పరమార్ధ మగుటను
చూసి నేనె యతని చెంత బోతి!
తాత్పర్యము

English: Crow said thus. “This Mouse King, Hiranyaka, is my best friend. His life is dedicated in the service of others. Looking at his service to others, I only approached him for a hand of friendship”

53.
మాయ లేదు యితడు మర్మమె యెరుగడు
నన్ను విడిచి యుండ నేర కుండె
మోసుకొస్తి ఇటకు మందరకమా యన
యెలుక చెప్పె ఇటుల యతని కధను!
తాత్పర్యము

English: The crow further said,” There is nothing secretive about his affairs and does not know miracles. He was unable to stay back in our earlier abode without me being there. So, I carried him on my back all the way, Oh! Mandaraka!” Then the mouse, Hiranyaka started telling his past story thus.
the-rescue-of-a-deer-1


 

न कोई किसी का मित्र है और न ही शत्रु, कार्यवश ही लोग मित्र और शत्रु बनते हैं॥