Not many contemporaries know that a journal called ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ was published from Ananthapur for more than four decades, between 1926 and...

Not many contemporaries know that a journal called ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ was published from Ananthapur for more than four decades, between 1926 and 1968. The discovery of several old editions of the journal led Harinadha Reddy, a young researcher on a path of revisiting history of literature that flourished in Rayalaseema

The culture of the man depends upon the way that history is recreated. It should be authentic, impersonal and concrete. In a way, we can surmise that the history of man deals with the way he has been trying to recreate history ever since the beginning.

It was always stated that the rise of modern Telugu literature took place very late in Rayalaseema and that the first Telugu short story written and published was that of G Ramakrishna entitled ‘Chiranjeevi’ in 1941.

However, critics observed that modernity entered the economically sound Circar earlier than in the other areas of Telugu region. Some others felt that the writers of Rayalaseema found it difficult to arrive at a standard language suitable to the modern literature, as their native colloquial language was entirely different from what was being in use in the contemporary journals. But all these theories are proved wrong by Appireddy Harinadha Reddy, a young researcher whose ‘Seemasahithi Swaram Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ is a path breaking work of research.

All the important inventions were accidental like his finding of the old editions of ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ in the library of Lalithakala Parishad in Ananthapur. Harinadha Reddy found a considerable number of back editions missing and he took the notes of the remaining ones, around 7000 pages. Not many contemporaries know that a journal called ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ was published from Ananthapur for more than four decades between 1926 and 1968.

Pappuru Ramacharyulu the editor of ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ was born in Ananthapur on November 8, 1896. As he had his high school education in Rajahmundry, he came under the influence of Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu who was exactly 40 years elder to him. He had his Intermediate education from Pachiyappa College, Madras and B.A degree from the government college, Ananthapur. In the beginning, he used to publish pamphlets denouncing the superstitions and social evils of the times.

Though, he took the job of a clerk in the Collector’s office he left it within months and then joined as an editor in a journal, ‘Pinakini’ to which Palakonda Ramachandra Sarma was the chief Editor and Velamakuri Athmaramappa was the publisher. When Athmarappa stopped publishing, Ramacharyulu started his own journal ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ on August 14, 1926. Its associate editor was Karnamadakala Ramakrishnamacharyulu and it was a weekly publishing every Saturday with 12 pages.

To the September 3, 1927 issue, a subtitle, ‘Voice of the ceded Districts’ was added to the title. A meeting of Telugu people was held at Nandyal on March 16, 1927 and a resolution was made to call the region, Rayalaseema instead of Ceded districts.

In the inaugural edition of ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ the editorial pointed out that the journal was published to cater to the needs of people of the region; its aim was to work for the progress of the country without being partial to any political party including National Congress and requested the readers not to hesitate to correct them whenever they find the journal loosing the track or committed mistakes.

The journal was not published for nearly three years during the Non Cooperation Movement and for a few months when Ramacharyulu was in prison, in 1942 during the Quit India Movement. Ramacharyulu was elected as the Municipal Chairman of Ananthapur after the Independence and then he acted as the chairman of the District Library Committee and also the President of Cooperative Central Bank for a term. He was elected as the MLA of Dharmavaram constituency in 1955. He passed away on March 21, 1972 and published ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ till he breathed his last.

‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ was an ideal magazine publishing poetry, short stories, plays, criticism, letters, travelogues, Epigraphy studies, reviews, news about the events of the literary bodies etc. A study of the back numbers of ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ reveal that the journal published short story way back in 1926 followed by ten other stories until 1940. Many of them were fine works of art. It is heartening to know that Vidwan Viswam, the great poet of the region who wrote ‘Penneti Pata’, which heralded the modernity in poetry of the region, also wrote stories around 1940 advocating the importance of socialism and denouncing patriarchal suppression of women.

An essay on the craft of the short story was published in the issue of January 15, 1927 and the author, H Nanjunda Rao, discussed different aspects of the short story by choosing illustrations from Tolstoy, Edgar Allan Poe and Rabindranath Tagore.

The letters published in ‘Sri Sadhana Pathrika’ with the names of Sugathri and Saaleenudu, obviously pseudonyms or pen names, discussed various issues related to the problems of women. The other letters written with the names Bhavani and Komali reminds one of the popular essays of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele in their ‘The Spectator’. Many renowned critics of the period like Kalluri Venkata Narayana Rao and Rupanagudi Narayana Rao wrote book reviews and Janamanchi Sheshadri Sarma, Ballari Raghavacharyulu, Rallapalli Ananthakrishna Sarma, Chintha Deekshithulu and Chilukuri Narayana rao wrote essays related to literature and other arts.

Though traditional metric poetry was still popular at that time in Rayalaseema, lyrical poetry and free verse also flourished simultaneously. Research shows that ‘Sathyadhootha’, a journal published from Bellary from 1835 was the first journal of this region and many journals led the torch of the literature in later years.

Unfortunately many of them are not to be found now. When I went to Hosur, a year ago, Late K Kodandaramaiah’s brother told me that his father, Karupalli Sivarama Das used to publish a journal called ‘Haridas’ during the 1910s or 1920s, they preserved those back numbers for a long time and saw some stories in them.

My friend writer Sa Vem Ramesh told me that many Telugu journals were published during the very beginning of the last century from Arcot, Salem, Yettayarpuram (Near Kanyakumari) and Gummidipudi, which are now in Tamilnad. All these facts prove that Rayalaseema was not lagging behind the other parts of Telugu in the awakening of the modernity.

However, it is also a proof of how backward we are in the rebuilding of history. The effort of Appireddy Harinadha Reddy, though a humble one is in fact a big leap in the direction of re-constructing history. The Central Sahithya Academy recognised his work by giving him the coveted Young writer award that he richly deserves.

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