Andhra - 50 Years of India' Independence - Kavikondala Venkata Rao

PALANA (nparinand@cas.org)
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 12:20:29 -0400


  Yes! This forgotten and unforgettable poet is really a mountain of poetry and
  at the top of all the poets - he is not only the "kavikonDala" but the
  "kavitvakonDala". Dr. Jadaprolu Vijayalakshmi, dug out his songs and poems and
  brought those to the lime light in this age. Other wise, like many of those
  unsung poets of Telugu Desa, kavikonDala would be buried under his own
  mountain of poetry. That is tha pity and on the other hand it is an enchanting
  experience to sing his songs. Kavikondala was born on the 7/20/1892 at
  Srirangapattanam of the Rajahmandry taluk and he described his birth in his
  "viprasamdESam" drama:

  SrmgAravamtamau SrIramgapaTTaNa
  janapada raajambu janmabhUmi
  ............................
  pEru venkaTraavu viKyaata raaNmahEm
  dravara nagaramamdu danarunataDu
  prathama yatnamidiya padyagadyayutampu
  rUpakamu racimce jUpamanamu.

  In 1915, before he obtained his law degree, he was a teacher of history at the
  Taylor High School of Narasapuram, West Godavari. From 1916-1922, he was a
  legal practitioner at Rajahmundry and from 1922 to 1933, he continued the same
  profession at Narasapur and afterwards came back to Rajahmundry and settled
  there for the rest of his life. By profession he was a lawyer but well known
  as a Telugu poet and writer.

  Poet-painter, Mr. Oswald J. Couldrey, was the principal of Govt. College,
  Rajahmundry was a very good friend and well-wisher of Kavikondala. The trio,
  Adivi Bapiraju, Damerla Ramarao, and Kavikondal Venkatarao were in close
  association of Mr. Couldrey and these three were the well-polished dazzling
  gems of Andhra Desa in the zenith of literature, poetry, and arts.

  Kavikondala started writing English poetry while he was just 16 years old
  (9/7/11910) but Mr. Couldrey did not encourage him to do so and as a result
  Kavikondala started writing songs in Telugu.  Mr. Couldrey was so impressed
  that he called Kavikondala "The Andhra Wordsworth" and "Kavi Kondala". As
  token for love towards Kavikondala, Mr. Couldrey wrote the following poem:

  A spring of graceful fancy
  Breaking sweetly in the desert of
  College exercise
  First made us friends

  Kavikondala translated the above English poem into Telugu:

  kaLASAlA kAryakramamunu neDArilO
  tiyyanAnaMdAna vellivirisina
  okAnoka yoyyOrapu TUhAsravamti
  mA yiruvuri neyyamunaku naadi kaaraNamu.

  Mr. Couldrey dedicated his book, "South Indian Hours" to his students - To his
  scholars and teachers Kavikondala Venkata Rao, Adivi Bapiraju, Damerla
  Venkata Rao. This book is inscribed by their teacher and scholar - that is
  what Mr. Couldrey said.

  Kavikondala was a great patriot. In 1920 he was influenced by the freedom
  movement. After the World War I, he began to write songs on freedom struggle
  and patriotism. He was also a strong proponent for the formation of Andhra
  state and to show his love towards Andhra, he wrote several songs on the
  greatness of Andhra.

  Kavikondala wrote several well-known and widely received poems, prose,
  stories, dramas, one-act plays, radio programs, and essays. Most of his plays
  were on the AIR (Vijayawada and Madras). He wrote upto about 100 essays and
  most of them were published in Bharati, Vinodini, Kinnera, Krushna Patrika,
  and Dhanka. He also translated some of his songs into English. Some of his
  books were prescribed text books both at the high school and college levels.
  Kavikondala was an excellent lecturer and delivered lectures in various cities
  across Andhra.

  Above all his specializations, in my mind, Kavikondala was a writer/poet with
  progressive touch. Kavikondala was a sympathizer of the hardworking labor such
  as the worker on the road, the struggling untouchable, the coolie in the
  forest, and the fisherman who leads the down-trodden life. Sri Devulapalli
  compliented Kavikondala saying "Kavikondala is very close to the hard-working
  labor in the ship docks and the mail bag carriers and there is no such poet
  known in this era."

  Sri Sri had the greatest respects towards Kavikondala and stated "Kavikondala
  is one among those who inspired me and influenced the making of my
  mahAprasthAnam." In fact, the famous "SivarAtri prabha" of Kavikondala
  influenced Sri Sri for the poetic creation of his famous "mahaaprasthaanam" as
  both SivarAtri praBa and mahaaprasthaanam have too many similarities (that is
  what the experts say).

  Sri Kottapalli Virabhadra Rao said "Kavikondala followed the path paved by Sri
  Gurajada alongwith Sri Nanduri and Basavaraju. Kavikondala wrote poetry that
  is amalgamated to the real life. That is the greatest property and a salient
  feature of his poetry."

  Kavikondala was a chronic asthma patient. He died in the year 1969 (7/4/1969).

  I would like to cover some examples of his patriotic songs/poems here.

  naa puurvajanma suvaasana koladi
  naa punnemula pamTa naaNembu koladi
  BArata dESaana praBavimcinavADa
  (He was very proud of his mother land and he used to feel that there was no
  land that was a match for his mother land.)

  Kavikondala felt that his Mother Land was superior to his Mother who gave him
  birth:
  maTTilOna baDina maayamma nanugoTTu
  paDina daani kamTe vaDiga dagula
  ammakamTe maatRdESamunake daya     (My Motherland shows more compassion than
  ledduDamcu dalatu nikkuvamuga        my biological Mother.)

  His song entitled "maatRdESamu" occupies the first place among his patriotic
  songs:

  navO navO jaya!
  bharata mahaaSaya!
  saPalOdayamamjulahaasI........

  Another national song of his "jaatIya gItika" was a popularly sung one in the
  schools those days and the congress party included this song in their song
  called "maatRdESastavamu":

  himagiri SiKaramu vimdhyavImdramu
  kanyaakumaarI pada DimDIramu
  sPuritamu Baritamu calitOllalitamu
  svaatamtramucE svaatamtramucE
  svaagatamanavOyi kani pani vinavOyi
  manavOyi anavOyi jay jay jay.
  The above song flew frequently on the AIR.

  Kavikondala was thirsty for India's freedom and expressed his thirst for
  freedom in his patriotic songs. The following one was very similar to those
  dampuDu folk (jAnapada) songs:

  samdrampudaragapaini jaabilli nuragapaini
  svaatamtrya mUgucumDe uyyaala dUgucumDe
  aakasapu jukkalOna avanigala mokkalOna
  svaatamtrya mosagucumDe misa misalu kosarucumDe.

  What does the National Flag signify? Our National Flag signify the lives of
  those patriots sacrificed selfishlessly and Kavikondala, in a state of
  excitation, wrote:

  kavulu kaRavulu dIra ninu gana
  kaRavulellanu dIrinaTu
  vina vaccucunnadi raaTapumruti
  viccucunnadi sEvakABRti
  naDumu kaTTuka ninnu jEkona
  BEdaBAvamu baasinaTu mana
  mUgucunnadi jaatitatvamu
  maanucunnadi baanisatvamu
  supratishTha vahimpumammaa!
  BArata kshEtraana nilumaa!
  caraka citrita varapataakamaa!
  SAmti ramgapu jUDkisaikama!

  Kavikondala said that our National Flag declares our Liberty and Freedom.
  He further added:

  kOTi sUrya praBala kAmti
  kOTi komDala yettukettu
  okka jemDA yurvi kaMtaku
  amTu nikkapu svEcCa!

  He also described the greatness of the Asoka Cakra in one of his patriotic
  songs:

  aSOka cakram
  parAkramamtO
  purAkramamgA
  svaraajya dIdhiti velisimdi!

  Kavikondala was greatly influenced and inspired by the Gandhian Thought and
  Gandhian Philosophy and he wrote several songs on the rATnam:

  O cinni raaTamaa! oyyaari raaTamaa!
  oppaina raaTamaa! vaDivaDi vaDuku
  mammu gannaa maa talli maa talli dESampu
  maryaada niluvamga vaDi vaDi vaDuku
  nI baTTa gaTTEru vaDi vaDi vaDuku
  jaabilli kiraNampu jamdAna saageDu
  nii daara memturu vaDi vaDi vaDuku

  Kavikondala promoted and sang Tilak's slogan "svaraajyamu naa janma hakku!" in
  his song:

  aajanmaamtapu hakku svatamtramu
  UhapOhala ukku svatamtramu
  aatmOddharaNaku dikku svatamtramu
  maatRdESamuna kadi yEnaaDO.

  The above song reflects the sayings of those writers during French revolution.
  It also seems that Kavikondala was influenced by the Western Literature and
  poetry to a great extent.

  Kavikondala was a great social reformer through his songs and poetry. Getting
  all the communities together was the essential element to become independent
  and Kavikondala not only recognized that but also put that philosophy in
  action. He declared that all men are equal and one:

  nEnu BAratIyuDanu sanAtanumDanu
  ayinaa aspRSya dOshamu naadarimpanu
  maanavulamdaru okkaTE maalalu braahmalu okaTE
  taakina maatraana taRugune bhaagyamu!
  sOkina maatraana surugune yOgyata?

  Dr. Jadaprolu Vijayalakshmi says that Kavikondala clearly projects his image
  here that he was influenced by Gandhian philosophy.

  Finally, I conclude this essay with one of his patriotic songs that I like the
  most - BAratIyuni sthita prati~na:
  (The Immovable Oath of an Indian)

  nEnu BAratIyuDanu sanaatanumDanu
  ayinaa aspRSya dOshamu naadarimpanu
  maanavulamdaru okaTE
  maalalu braahmalu okaTE
  taakina maatraana taRugune BAgyamu
  sOkina maatraana surugune yOgyata
  nEla naDucuTaku nIru draavuTaku
  kUDu kuDucuTaku kshONitalambuna
  ella janambulu EkOdarulE
  nE BAratIyuDanu karma tamtruDanu
  ayinaa evari karmamu vaaride yananu
  araka tODugaa carakacakram
  cuRukuga naDapite cuTTimDla nnI
  praasaadaalau! ramgaramga vaiBOga parampara!
  nE BaaratIyuDanu kaaryaSUruDanu
  ayinaa edaravaanipai niigavaalanIn
  eTTi krauryamunu gaTTipaTTudala
  sahana BAvamuna jayimci tIReda
  satyaagrahamE paramasaadhana
  ahimsayE nakaadhaarambu
  nE BAratIyuDanu mOkshaparumDanu
  ayinaa mUla gUrucuni muktimmananu
  talli dESamunaku daasyamu baapi
  ella sOdarula ullaasamutO
  svaraajya saKulai samtasimcuneDa
  callaga vIDeda nI SarIramu

  WoW! That is Kavikondala's love towards mankind. That is Kavikondala's
  immovable oath to keep up his thought of oneness. That is Kavikondala's
  reflection of untarnished character. That is Kavikondala's tight grip in which
  truth lived happily. That song is the embodiment of his undiminishing and
  ever-propagating healthy element of his love towards his fellow beings,
  ideology, patriotism, and India's Freedom.

  samtusTilEdu madikin
  samtasamElEdu tudikin
  muttesadi kerugu varaku
  cukka jigi kenayu varaku

  With those above lines, Kavikondala always wanted satisfaction and happiness,
  in spite of tons of happiness and satisfaction that he showered on his
  readers, well-wishers, friends and Telugu Literary Lovers.

  ---pAlana
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  Further Reading:

  1) Adhunikaandhra Kavitvamu - Dr. C. Narayana Reddi
  2) Kavikondala Venkatarrau KRtulu samIksha - Dr. Jadaprolu Vijayalakshmi
  3) kavikonDala gItAlu
  4) kavikonDala gEyAlu
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  Disclaimer: Opinions above are mine only.
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