Music

Remembering a scholar

Acharya Diwakarla Venkatavadhani  

Andhra Pradesh is celebrating the centenary year of Acharya Diwakarla Venkatavadhani. Many in the literary sphere revered the very sight of this great scholar, considered him a model. Diwakarla's literary empire stretches far beyond the collection of trophies that he received at various functions. A few of his works like Andhra Vangmaya Charitra were translated into other languages. His work spread across Telugu land through his literary discourses. He worked in Telugu language wings of universities and colleges. He was a cultural and literary force, the likes of which we rarely come across, in recent times. His works, with meaningful titles were garnished with beauty in verse and prose. The introduction he gave to many scholars who later went on to win the A.P. Sahitya Academy awards was to be read than heard. In short he was campaigner of Telugu language.

Diwakarla was particularly known as a great orator. Those who heard him admired him for his calibre of giving non-stop address with sweet diction and plenty of information and knowledge. There were occasions when he was asked to introduce a book of another author to the audience on its release. He narrated the theme of those books even quoting verses, as if it was his own poetic work. He remembered every poem and chapter just going through it once. He was Eka Santagrahi- one who could memorise what he read once.

The word ‘Diwakarla' will sure bring to mind one of the renowned twin poets - Diwakarla Tirupati Sastry, his paternal uncle. But like the twin poets known as Satavadhanis, Diwakarla never indulged in Avadhanam but for one or two, though he was gifted with fantastic memory and poetic skills.

Diwakarla was a great theatre lover and the proof of it was his special work on ‘Andhra Nataka Pitamaha,' Dharmavaram Ramakrishnamacharyulu. It was Diwakarla who designed the oft-staged literary feature Bhuvana Vijayam, packed with verses written by the court poets of 15th century Vijayanagara empire of Krishnadevaraya, to give a taste of these great verses. He researched on Nannaya's Mahabharata and on the moorings of Telugu literature that won him Ph.D. His lectures on the tenor of Telugu language in olden days, on ‘Sasanas' and on the shape of Sahitya in those days received great appreciation. It was under him that great Telugu scholars like Patibandla Madhava Sarma and P.Yasoda Reddy, former chairman of official Language Commission, did research. Dr.C. Narayana Reddy, Gnanpeeth awardee, was his student. His work Sahitya Sopanamulu won the then A.P. Sahitya Acadamy.

There was no village in the state where he did not speak on the subjects of Telugu literature, growth of our culture and on Vedas and Puranas. He loved the works of many, from Soundarya Lahari of Adi Sankara to Mahaprasthanam of Srirangam Srinivasa Rao to Boyi Bheemanna's Janmantara Vairam. Diwakarla was born on June 23, 1911 on Guru Poornima. His centenary fell on July 15, 2011.

He did MA (Hon) from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and worked for 18 years in the teaching profession in the same university. He joined Osmania University as a lecturer of Telugu and became its head in 1964 and worked till 1973 for nearly 27 years in the same university. He left behind great memories. He was emeritus professor for UGC. He had an imposing personality in figure and mind.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 10:42:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/remembering-a-scholar/article2281496.ece

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