Ammangi Venugopal - gem of a literary critic

Ammangi Venugopal - gem of a literary critic

Dr Ammangi Venugopal is an accomplished poet. His talent was recognized with his first anthology of poetry 'Minuguru' published in 1980. He started...

Dr Ammangi Venugopal is an accomplished poet. His talent was recognized with his first anthology of poetry "Minuguru" published in 1980. He started writing poetry while doing MA in Osmania University during the 1960s. His poem was awarded the first prize in the poetry competition conducted for college students in 1967 by the quarterly magazine 'Srujana' under the editorship of Sri Vara Vara Rao. A The second prize went to Dr N Gopi's poem. I was closely associated with 'Srujana' during those days. We predicted that these two would become the leading poets in Telugu.

Recently, Dr Ammangi's new book 'Sahitya Sandarbham � Samakaleena Spandana'(Context of Literature � A Contemporary Response) was launched at a function organised jointly by Mitramandali, Sahrudaya Sahithi and Ujjwala Sahithi at Hanamkonda. VR Vidyarthi, a well-known poet, presided over the meeting. A Dr Ampasayya Naveen released the book and analyzed the literary essays in the book. Srija Manohar Babu, a scholar in Telugu and Sanskrit, Prof Banna Ailaiah, Kakatiya University, Sri Rama Sastry, President, Kaloji Foundation, were other speakers.

Apart from 'Minuguru', Dr Ammangi has published two anthologies 'Patchabottu Patancheru' (1999) and 'Bharosa (2008). He also wrote a PhD thesis on Gopichand (one of the great novelists of Telugu) and a monograph on his writings which was sponsored and published by Vishalandhra publishers on the occasion of Gopichand's birth anniversary in 2010.

He has also published a collection of his radio plays 'Avi Na Bhavalu'(these radio plays were broadcast by All India Radio, Hyderabad). He was invited to recite his poems in the national poets' gatherings on Republic Day. He has also translated 'Telugu Script and Evolution' (by Ramachandra Murthy and PV Parabrahma Sastry) into Telugu; the evolution of Telugu alphabets, entitled 'Telugu Lipi, Avirbhava Vikasalu' in 2012.

He worked as a lecturer in Telugu in many Government degree colleges from 1970 onwards and retired as Principal in 2004. He has since been busy writing poetry, articles and also a regular column for Telugu daily 'Surya'. Recently, he was nominated to the Advisory Committee of 'Kendra Sahitya Akademy. 'Sahitya Sandarbham, Samakaleena Spandana' contains articles written as a columnist for two and half years in a Telugu daily. Most of them are related to contemporary trends, issues and writings that are prominent in present day Telugu literature.

Dr Ammangi is equally at ease in writing both poetry and prose. His prose is fluent, precise and lucid. It has got the flavor of poetry as he is a natural poet. Therefore, his prose is as beautiful and readable as his poetry. The first article is about Kaloji, who is popularly known as Praja Kavi Kaloji (People's poet). Dr Ammangi says: 'Kaloji is a universal man and at the same time he is a man who digested the regional aspirations of the people.'

In an article on the short stories of Suravaram Pratap Reddy, one of the pioneers of Telangana Renaissance, Dr Ammangai says that Suravaram had portrayed the suppression and discrimination that was meted out to women in a male-dominated society. In the article on Dasarathi, he says, 'If 7th Nizam of Hyderabad State was Ravana, the aam aadmi or ordinary man of Telangana was Rama; that was what Dasarathi conveyed through his poetry'. Dasarathi called 7th Nizam of Hyderabad as 'old jackal'. His quotation 'my Telangana is the veena of one crore jewels' is very popular in Telangana.

Dr Ammangi's assessment of revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao is very objective and authentic. The general opinion of most of the Telugu critics is that revolutionary poetry contains only slogans and would not be categorized as true poetry. But Dr Ammangi shows many stanzas in VV's poetry which are true poetry.

Dr Ammangi analyzes the famous short story of Palagummi Padmaraju's 'Gali Vana'(Stormy Rain). It has won the second prize in the International Short story Competition conducted by 'New York Herald Tribune' in 1952. In the essay on Naveen's novel titled 'Mano Yatra', he tells us why this particular novel strikes a chord in the hearts of young men even now (Ampashayya was first published in 1969). Dr Ammangi says that any reader , young or old, who reads this novel remembers his adolescent days.

Dr Ammangi's favorite subject is, understandably, Gopichand's novels. This volume contains two authoritative articles on Gopichand's journey as a novelist. Dr Ammangi analyzes Gopichand's famous novel 'Asamardhuni Jeeva yatra'.A A critic known as Ra Ra (Rachamallu Rama Chandra Reddy) was bitter in his criticism. He came to be known as a cruel critic. But his criticism used to be very incisive and it was called 'no holds barred criticism'. That critic has appreciated the poetry of Dr Ammangi. Dr Ammangi had written an appreciative piece on the main arguments of Ra Ra as a critic.

In most of his articles we find the positive attitude of Dr Ammangi towards the contributions of many well-known Telugu writers. He never tries to find trivial errors or insignificant elements in a writer. Dr Ammangi has received several awards, including Pratibha Puraskaram from Potti Sri Ramulu Telugu University in 2002.

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