On a noble mission

DOCTORS OF LETTERS: Eminent folk artiste, Chukka Sattaiah

DOCTORS OF LETTERS: Eminent folk artiste, Chukka Sattaiah  

Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao

WARANGAL: For the illiterate Chukka Sattaiah, hailing from a remote village of the district, name and fame came his way.

Though he never went to school, he has made a million brains think and listen to him with rapt attention and all the time. He filled the audience with awe across the country irrespective of their language and cultural background.

He had visited Potti Sriramulu Telugu University for two years and earned not just name and fame but also the coveted Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) without eyeing for it. On Friday, the Governor and Chancellor of Kakatiya University felt proud to confer on Chukka Sattaiah the honour for his eminence in folk arts.

Down the generation

Hailed as an exponent of `Oggu Katha,' one of the folk art forms of the region, Chukka Sattaiah had learned the art from his father, Agaiah, at a tender age and began performing the same when he was 14.

He toured the length and breadth of the country popularising the art form and he has over 12,000 performances to his credit till date.

`Oggu Katha' is like a ballad depicting the chivalric deeds of `Veera Bhadra', son of Lord Shiva. Chukka Sattaiah toured various places preaching the greatness of Lord Shiva and his son until the Government headed by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, drafted him for publicising the 20 point programme.

Having got the opportunity, Sattaiah went ahead conquering what all he could. He then adapted the ancient folk art form creating awareness among the masses on the need for adult education, family planning and more importantly on social evils such as dowry system, superstitions and bad habits.

"It gives me immense pleasure receiving the degree with many other youngsters. I did not get it the usual way, still I feel very happy,'' he told The Hindu sharing his joy.

Chukka Sattaiah, however, laments that many folk art forms were losing public patronage and the onslaught of television and cinema has contributed to it. His plea to the Government is to give pension to folk artistes not only to help them eke out a living, but also to encourage them to their respective art forms and hand them over to their posterity.

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