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The polyglot who popularised Urdu ghazals in Telugu homes

The polyglot who popularised Urdu ghazals in Telugu homes
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Today is litterateur Samala Sadasiva's birth anniversary Dr Rajuladevi Shankar A close study of the contribution of late Samala Sadasiva...

Today is litterateur Samala Sadasiva's birth anniversary

Dr Rajuladevi Shankar

A close study of the contribution of late Samala Sadasiva (1928-2012), a literary giant of Telangana whose birth anniversary is being celebrated on Saturday, throws light on his towering personality and his intense love for music, particularly ghazals. His workmanship on varied works is:

Tiara like a spangled kite in the air Spanning the earth's modest amplitude It glows with Sadasiva's offerings to Telugu music, appealing mainly to lovers of the nuances of Urdu ghazals, as also divergent ragas and intricacies of Hindustani music and Hindustani musicians. His virtuosity lay in the way he introduced an Urdu poet, or a Hindustani raga, all in his distinct style. His approach, unlike that of other writers, was inimitable, because it was strewn with conversations on his life and times, people and places, literature, culture, society and music.

Sadasiva Master was a prolific writer with 25 books to his credit, including : Prabhatam (1949), Sambasiva Satakam (1950), Nireekashanam (1952), Apashriti (1952), Urdu Sahitya Charitra (1963), Amjad Rubayeelu (translation) (1963), Moulana Rumi Masnavi (1967), Mirza Ghalib (Biography) (1969), Parsi Kavula Prasakti (1975), Malaya Marutalu in 2001 (on Hindustan Music), Vishwamitram and Sakhinama (Collection) Sadasiva Kavyasudha (2002), Yaadi (2005), Sangeeta Sikharalu (2006), Swaralayalu (2008).

Sadasiva was honoured with the prestigious Central Sahitya Academi Award in 2011 for his book Swaralayalu, which expatiated on the incidents that occurred in the lives of the artists. Similarly, his two previous books, Malaya Marutalu, and Sangeeta Sikharalu also threw light on the incidents of the artists. The book Swaralayalu (2008) gratified music lovers. These three books brought applause from connoisseurs of literature. He wrote everything in a very crisp, fluent and conversational style even on a very complicated subject like Hindustani music. This kind of style appealed to the music lovers and enthused them to listen to Hindustani music.

Besides, Yaadi (2005), the most famous and popular book of Sadasiva which was serialised in Telugu daily "Vaartha", consisted of not only anecdotes, but also reminiscences of some contemporary Telugu writers like Vishwanatha Satyanarayana and Kaloji brothers. That apart, the book revealed the inmost feelings welling out from his heart than intellectual probing. Sadasiva loved Urdu poetry intensely, especially ghazals. He explicated the intrinsic nuances of ghazals to Telugu music lovers. His essays on music and Urdu literature, his close affinity with the Sufi and Bhakti traditions brought about change in the taste of two generations.

Sadasiva was a multi-faceted genius, because he had an in-depth erudition of Indian philosophy. He was an exemplar of comparative poetics. He was one of the practitioners of the vanishing arts of conversation and letter � writing. He emerged as a distinguished scholar, a cultural activist, a creative writer, a chronicler of personal and social histories, an exemplary critic who cultivated and shaped the taste of "sensibility" of more than two generations; a polyglot well-versed in Urdu, Parsi, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit and English literatures; a translator who re-created some classical Urdu and Persian texts for Telugu readers. Sadasiva was the epitome of cultural diversity of Telangana. He experimented with all forms of literature. He was the one who introduced Urdu literature and Hindustani music to Telugu readers. He started his literary career in 1949 and it went on for 60 years till he passed away in 2012 August.

Sadasiva was a beacon manifesting his stature in different forms. He was a host to many a visitor by dwelling on several issues of literature both present and past at a continuous stretch of 3 to 4 hours without tedium. Sadasiva lived every moment of his life to the best possible extent. He never felt dull, drab and dreary in his lifetime. He was all the time genial and jovial.

April 26, 2012 was a highly memorable day for Sadasiva and his admirers. A 500-page special volume of articles, some penned by the author himself, and other articles by about 40 authors analyzing divergent aspects of his personality as an individual and as a writer, was released by a literary quarterly named Jayanti to honour Sadasiva on the occasion of his winning Central Sahitya Akademi Award at a special function held in Adilabad. Sadasiva rendered Moulana Rumi Masnavi into Telugu as Amjad Rubaayeelu for which he received the AP Government's best translation award in 1964.

Besides, his areas of interest in the 400�odd Urdu essays and more than 450 Telugu essays were people and places, and the topics were streaked with gentle humour, keen observation and compassionate view.A His perseverance to enrich Telugu language and literature was highly laudable and he became an exemplar for the youth. This rare characteristic of Sadasiva showered laurels upon him. Many honours were bestowed upon him. Among them Potti Sreeramulu University, Hyderabad, and Kakatiya University, Warangal, conferred honorary doctorates in 1998 and 2002 respectively.

(The writer is a retired reader in English, Government Degree College, Nirmal, Adilabad)

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