Friday Review

Litterateur Manapragada Seshasai honoured

Manapragada Seshasai being felicitated.

Manapragada Seshasai being felicitated.  

Redoubtable erudition, poetic flair and oratorical excellence seldom combine in one and renowned scholarly poet Manapragada Seshasai belongs to such a rare tribe. He has been a towering literary persona in the realm of Sanskrit and Telugu letters in classical genre over seven decades. In recognition of his yeoman service to the cause of classical literature Viswanadha Sahitya Peetham as part of Kavisamrat Viswanatha Satyanaryana’s 120th birth anniversary felicitated him on a warm note at Public Library Visakhapatnam.

Born in 1927 at Gunaparru in West Godavari district in a family of scholarly background, he had his schooling there and later pursued higher studies in literature in Eluru, Gruntur and Rajahmundry and finally did his post graduation in Sanskrit from Benaras Hindu University. He served several prestigious institutions like Presidency College Chennai, PR College Kakinada and Arts College Rajahmundry in the faculty of Sanskrit. However, his illustrious stint for about one and half decades as principal Maharaja Government Sanskrit College at Vizianagaram forms a high note in his eventful career on academic front. He, in a way, brought laurels to this institution making its presence felt at national level through distinct literary and cultural events of very high standard.

A congenial conversationalist, he is known for his ready wit and robust sense of humour. Even as student, it fetched him appreciation from no less a bigwig than CR Reddy, the first vice-chancellor of Andhra University. When young Seshasai was writing an essay in Eluru, he missed to mark a semi circle – ara sunna — in the spelling of the word ‘cheekati’(darkness). Passing by, CR Reddy noticed this slip and fondly asked him ‘dear lad what happened to ara sunnaa’ in the word. Pat came the reply ‘not visible being in dark’. Pleased at ready wit and spontaneity CR Reddy told the college head there to send him to university for post graduation foreseeing his bright future in language and literature. Somehow he could not do it here but took it from Benaras Hindu University.

With gift of gab, his literary talks are a class apart for its perceptive presentation in lucid and poetic expression. It has been such an aural and intellectual feast that on listening to his talk in Sanskrit in Akhila Bharata Veda Mahasabha at Tirupati way back in 1960, Kanchi paramacharya His holiness Chandrasekhara Saraswathi termed him ‘Saraswathi Madhura Hridaya’. His literary critique on ‘Soundryanandanam’ an immortal poetic work of front-ranking poet duo of previous century Pingali –Katuri kavulu stands out for its scholarly exposition.

This untiring scholarly poet nonpareil has been busy writing epic Ramayana in verse at ripe age of 89 years. Taking up epic, he says, needs age and experience in life to grasp its depth. “My grandfather was staunch devotee of Rama and that devotion, in a way, has been an emotional legacy in our family down generations. Having seen life and world in its myriad shades and being one with pen, writing Ramayana lends me a sense of fulfilment in life,” he said. It is good to write about contemporary issues of social relevance but one has to have an ability to lend it a touch of universality in poetic way otherwise it becomes just a toast of a season and then sinks into oblivion. It is not just enough for a poet to register his emotive response to things around, but one has to be the truth-seeking to understand the philosophical import of life and its ways. It turns one a poet worth the term making his work a legacy to posterity’, Manapragada observed.



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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 1:15:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/litterateur-manapragada-seshasai-honoured/article7685161.ece

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