A novel literary concept, ‘Pithapuram Asthanam’ was performed at the end of the year-long centenary celebrations of the Andhra Sahitya Parishad at Rangaraya Medical College auditorium in Kakinada. ‘Bhuvana Vijayam’ is a well known concept those who love verse; in it Srikrishnadevaraya along with his ‘Ashta Diggajalu’ enjoys the nuances of Telugu literature. ‘Pithapuram Asthanam’, was performed along similar lines, with Pithapuram Raja Surya Rao Bahadoor holding centre stage and relishing the literary skills of the writers and poets of his time. In addition to the literary discussions, performances of classical dance and the recital of Veena made the programme memorable to audience.
Pithapuram Raja was known to patronise Telugu language and literature; he played a pivotal role in the making of ‘Suryarayandhra Nighantuvu’ the complete Telugu dictionary. The revenue officer of his time Jayanthi Ramaiah Panthulu had been instrumental in the establishment of Andhra Sahitya Parishad. In the ‘Asthanam’ that performed on the dais, Errapragada Ramakrishna performed as Pithapuram Raja, while Tehasildar K. Gouri Naidu donned the role of Ramayya Panthulu. Their interaction with 13 writers and poets and the live performances of classical dance by Pendela Satyabhama (Mullapudi Vijaya Kumari) and veena recital of Tumarada Sangameswara Sastry (Dvibhashyam Nagesh) stole the show.
Connoisseurs of Telugu literature are aware of the literary conflict between Tirupati Venkata Kavulu and Venkata Parvateeswara Kavulu. Taking a cue from this, a duel in verse form was performed by Vedula Ramakrishna Sastry (Kakaraparthi Durga Prasad) and Chellapilla Venkata Sastry (Gottumukkala Venkata Narasimha Sastry). Panuganti Lakshmi Narasimha Rao’s (Regulla Neelakantha Sarma) love for Telugu, Prativada Bhayankara Raghavacharyulu’s (Jada Appa Rao) eminence is recital of poems and Kuchimanchi Timmakavi’s (Varanasi Kameswara Sarma) sense of humor made the audience feel they were in the court hall of the Pithapuram fort.
Other poets who participated include Akondi Srinivasa Raja Rao (Maddirala Venkataraya Vaggeya), Godavari Srirama Krishna Murthy (Devulapalli Tammayya Sastry), S. Satyam Naidu (Umar Alisha), P. Appa Rao Reddy (Allamraju Subrahmanya Kavi), K. Pulla Rao (Kuchi Narasimham Panthulu), Makineedi Surya Bhaskar (Gurram Joshua) and Ramakrishna Srivatsa (Devulapalli Venkata Krishna Sastry). The event evoked a very good response, with literary lovers from Pithapuram expressed a desire to arrange the event in their town as well.