Active involvement in progressive movements and earnest literary pursuit, particularly in the domain of criticism, do not generally go together. In the case of author of this book KVR, it proved otherwise. K.V. Ramana Reddy (KVR), though a teacher by profession, who taught political science for over two decades at collegiate level, was essentially a Marxist scholar. He was also a literary historian and a critic and poet in Telugu. He joined Arasam (Progressive writers Association) at the age of 20, imbibed Marxist ideology, served as the General secretary and theorist of virasam (Revolutionary writers Association) for over a quarter century, studied classical as well as modern literature thoroughly, edited Aruna Thaara, courted imprisonment during Emergency and partook in Civil Rights Society, AILRC and the like. All these did influence his writings in varying degrees.
The present book is a collection of 106 literary essays. Except three essays on ancient literature and four essays one each on Soviet writers, Polish writers, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Old Goriot, the book primarily deals with modern Telugu literature, and the approach is positive criticism. Poetry is KVR’s forte. In unequivocal terms he defines: “Criticism shall essentially assay the calibre of a work but not scour for errors. A critic shall first savour the niceties of it and then transmit them to the readers. He is indeed a friend of litterateurs, but not a foe.” The author spelling out his perception of modern poetry observes: “In the Indian Poetry rationalism, scientific outlook, social consciousness, anti-feudalism, anti-imperialism and such other things started showing up. Poets began portraying people’s life and social inconsistencies in their poetry. This may broadly be classified as the modern poetry.” These two principal concepts have a bearing on KVR’s analysis of numerous aspects of Telugu literature in the essays. The book commences with a long essay of 71 pages on society as reflected in the ancient Indian literature. It presents a holistic picture of ancient Indian panorama, covering topography, Vedic period, history, culture, races, social structure, vocations, Buddhism, religious cults, epics, works on different faculties, ancient literature, invasions and so on. It stands testimony to the author’s erudition. Subjects of the other essays include basics of poetry, various isms, progressive poetry, Arasam, Virasam, Digambara poetry, narrative poems, literary criticism, novel, film, mythologocal plays, peasants’ movement, naxalites, works on Telangana struggle etc. The essays are replete with knowledge in depth. The approach is analytical and the discussion is precise, dispassionate and candid. Whenever the context permits it is laced with Marxist perspective.
The author does not hesitate to use remote terms and expressions to convey his views with perfection. The book highly benefits all categories of readers. Readers particulalrly, younger g eneration, like to know more of the author. The publishers may add KVR’s biographical sketch in the ensuing second part of the book.
GOVINDARAJU RAMAKRISHNA RAO
KVR Sahitya Vyasaalu – Part – I
By K.V. Ramana Reddy,
Price: Rs 450
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