Visakhapatnam

Chalasani was synonymous with Virasam

Writer, critic, and a person totally committed to Marxism, Chalasani Prasad, who passed away here at the age of 83, is synonymous with the Viplava Rachayitula Sangham (Virasam), a revolutionary writers’ association.

Before Virasam was officially announced in Hyderabad in July 1970 and after that, Chalasani Prasad’s role had been important in the organisation. He was one of the important persons who prepared the ground for its formation as it was felt that writers were losing their responsibility.

Old timers recall that Virasam was formed in the backdrop of the Srikakulam armed rebellion (1968-72) led by Venpatapu Satyam, Adibhatla Kailasam, Subbarao Panigrahy and others; and some poets forming themselves into a group called ‘Digambarakavulu’ since they were fed up with ‘Abhyudaya Kavulu’ turning materialistic by moving to the film industry.

But Digambarakavulu was found to be the other extreme. This created some sort of a vacuum as far as literary support to the movement was concerned.

Sri Sri’s ‘shastipoorthi’ in Visakhapatnam on February 1, 1970, can be termed as a factor that hastened the formation of Virasam.

Sri Sri was writing for films at that time and his 60{+t}{+h}birthday celebrations were a platform for poets to discuss what line they should take.

A pamphlet issued by ‘Visakha Vidyardhulu’ with the title ‘Rachayitalaara Meeru Etuvaipu’ (writers, what is your stand?) and circulated among the participants set off discussions and made poets and writers introspect.

Later in Hyderabad, on July 4, Chalasani, Sri Sri, Varavara Rao, Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao, K.V. Ramana Reddy, Raavi Sastry, Krishna Bai, Cherabandarabu, and Nagnamuni and others formed Virasam.

The line of Naxalite leader Subba Rao Panigrahy, who was good at running a revolution as well as a revolutionary poet, was adopted by Virasam. Moderates stayed with Arasam.

Chalasani was president or secretary for some time, but he continued to be a leader who kept Virasam going even in adverse conditions. He made a lot of efforts in forming a national body of associations akin to Virasam with the help of Varavara Rao. Delhi professor Saibaba, who was recently released from jail, was also involved in the exercise.

Apart from his writings, Chalasani was good at it from a young age as he was school secretary of Praja Natya Mandali, the cultural wing of Arasam.

He pledged his body to Andhra Medical College.


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 5:52:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/chalasani-was-synonymous-with-virasam/article7469224.ece

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