Friday Review

Erudite, exceptional act

Asthavadhanam by two women scholars Bulusu Aparna and Pullabhatla Nagasanti Swarupa at GVP Degree College on April 28, 2013. Thier guru Dhulipala Photo:CV.Subrahmanyam   | Photo Credit: C_V_SUBRAHMANYAM

Avadhanam, a distinct literary feat in the realm of Telugu letters has hitherto been a predominant male domain. However, scholarly women duo Bulusu Aparna and Phullabhatla Nagasanti Swaroopa recently emerged on this front making their mark as redoubtable avadhanis. The duo’s performance of ashtavadhanam in Visakhapatnam received encomiums from the learned for its scholarly sparkle. Disciple of renowned Sanskrit scholar Dhulipala Mahadeva Mani of Rajamundry, the duo displayed exceptional mastery over diverse aspects of avadhanam.

Avadhanam essentially demands not just dexterity in extempore composition of metrical verses on a given topic but also shrewd presence of mind to poetically respond to even irrelevant posers. The performers need to have a vast understanding of both Sanskrit and Telugu literatures to be able to meet the posers in this erudite act of open performance. The duo has met all the parameters of this scholarly feat with aplomb. What stood out is their ready wit and lyrical turn of phrase even in the context of a piquant poser. These aspects came out in full play in their quick-witted and commendable response to ‘samasya puranam’ a key aspect of the performance.

In case of Dattapadi, a set of four most irrelevant words are usually given with a rider for the avadhani to respond in a verse of a given meter and context without carrying their original meanings. Here a prcchaka (questioner) gave the names of cereals ‘ minumulu, pesalu ,kandulu and senagalu’ and asked to compose a verse in the meter of Sardhoolam in the context of sacrificing warrior Barbarika before the commencement of war at Kurukshetra in Mahabharata. The duo did it with an ease of maestros, evoking thunderous applause.

Renowned Sanskrit scholar Peri Ravikumar coordinated the session, while D.V. Suryarao (Nishiddhakshari) BV Bangarraju (Samasya), CVR Murthy (Dattapadi), Yamijala Ramji (Varnana) Perala Sitarama Prabhu (Ghantanadam), K Purushottam (Asuvu) Kandala Kanaka Mahalakshmi (Vyasthakashari) participated. Dr Perala Balamurali Krishna’s ‘aprasthuta prasangam’ laden with robust one-liners was noteworthy in the session. Veda Gayatri Foundation in association with Viswanatha Sahitya Peetham hosted the event.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 7:19:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/erudite-exceptional-act/article7036404.ece

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