R. Jagadeeswara Rao

Work translated into Hindi and Russian, says author

VISAKHAPATNAM: “In ‘Draupadi’ novel, I tried to delineate the multifaceted personality of ‘Draupadi’ from a new angle.

Her personality as an empress, as an expert at statecraft, as an ideal wife and sister and as ‘sakhi’ or the dearest friend of Sri Krishna, has been elevated to a new height. Her amorous visions in the bedroom with her five husbands should be considered in the back drop of why and how she was born and how Lord Siva, pleased with her penance, granted her a boon. There are 49 chapters in Draupadi and in all chapters, the unique and impeccable personality of Draupadi had been elevated,” said ‘Padmashree’ Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, chairman AP Hindi Academy, who penned the novel. The Kendra Sahitya Academy announced the award this year for the novel. There was a hue and cry about this award and the selection was criticised, among others, on the ground that ‘Draupadi’ was portrayed in lewd way by Dr. Lakshmi Prasad and it conveyed a wrong message about the Indian epics and the highly revered characters in it. The award function should be stopped, critics of Draupadi, demanded.

Defending his portrayal of ‘Draupadi’, the author recalled some stanzas in Gita Govinda of Jayadev and Suprabhatam of Lord Venkateswara to assert those were devotional in nature and that it all depended on the ‘mindset’ of people. When Draupadi was called the ‘sakhi’ of Lord Sri Krishna, it reflected platonic love. If some see it otherwise, I cannot help it,” he said. He had also recalled threats through phones (he gave the cell numbers from which he received the threats) and asserted that he would not be deterred by such threats.

His mission

He was committed to propagating the greatness and sweetness of Telugu literature and Telugu people to all parts of the world. ‘Draupadi’ had already been translated into Hindi and Russian languages and he had received the ‘Pushkin Award’ for its Russia version. It was appreciated by literary luminaries like C. Narayana Reddy, Gnanapeeth awardee, and is being translated into many other languages.