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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Manaku Okke Suryudu, Okke Annamayya

The Hyderabad Central University recently held a 3-day seminar in its campus to celebrate the erstwhile contribution of Talapakka Annamayya to Telugu literature and arts.

A collaborative effort by the Telugu Department and the Department of Dance, with the TTD Tirupathi sponsoring the seminar, it brought together young students and stalwarts alike with their research based presentations of the works of the poet.

Be it the literary works in the texts, the lyrical intricacies in the songs, the myriad expressions of culture, social impact, his imaginative genius or even the nutritional aspects that his works reflect, the seminar proved a common ground for all Annamayya enthusiasts to revel over their most cherished poet.

The seminar was inaugurated by Shri Hari Babu – Pro-Vice Chancellar of the University who applauded the interdisciplinary association and was graced by scholars and dignitaries. The very presence of Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao lent grandeur and extravagance, what with the scholar from Chennai traversing through Annamayya’s life with hymns, verses, text and songs from the poet’s body of work. By proclaiming “If only Annamayya was known 200 years ago, the history of carnatic music would have been re-written ", what Dr. Pappu did was simple, he ensured his audience travel in a humorous journey with him.

A carefully chosen ensemble of speakers and paper presenters did justice by analyzing, deconstructing and sharing different genres of the poet’s work. The topics ranged from his metre oriented lyric, folk connections to his songs, scientific orientation, bhakthi movement, social connect, natural instincts, traditional approach, contemporary relevance, regional rapport and finally his lone divine belief- his obsession with Lord Venkateswara!

Well, this report would not be a chronological display of who spoke after whom but a mention of a few ‘Top it all’ sessions which credit themselves a worthy mention. Smt Sridevi made a thought provoking and intelligent presentation as she spoke of the perception, identity and role of women as described by Annamayya. Annamayya mentioning of the non-necessity of women to shy away from their beloved as is depicted and expected in the normal way of life, that love and attraction were as much a part of life as eating and sleeping had the audience in splits of laughter.

Shri Raja Gopalacharya made a diligent effort towards the study of the ‘Saushtava Ragas’ in Annamayya kritis. His precision and technique oriented presentation served ample fuel to interested listeners.

Veteran musician Seshadri graced with his experience and expertise in giving insights into the beauty of Annamayya’s musical compositions.

Dr Anuradha Jonnalagadda

All the classical dance based presentations justifiably were eye catchers, being one of the best forms of visual incorporation of the poet’s works. Smt. Padmaja Suresh went philosophical with ‘Sreeman Narayana’ while Shri Vempati Ravi very subtly handled the topic from the grass roots level to explain the nuances of poetry, music and dance.

Dr. Anupama Kailash presented a well researched paper on the ‘Nayikas’ or heroines of Annamayya’s visual imagery with songs supporting them aptly.

Even as each day passed by with packed sessions, some of his popular melodies like ‘Muddugare Yashoda’, Okka pari kokka pari’, ‘Palukute Nelatinchi’, ‘Shreeman Narayana’ et al reverberated in the form of humming all through!

Let us face the fact that it is considered of academic sessions being lengthy and boring, but this one stood apart with the student power in full attendance (They were not threatened by their teachers though!) supporting their alma mater in a genuine knowledge disseminating effort!