Modern period Telugu literature: JASHUVA – 1

Jashuva (28th Sept 1895 – 24th July 1971) – This name instantly brings to my memory one of the finest of poems told in classical metered form by a poet who belonged to the modern period in Telugu literature – a period that is generally accepted by the learned and considered authoritative as started from 1850s – on a topic very rarely tackled by poets of any language or age i.e., either classical or modern; and the topic is ‘the place of funeral or final rites’!

Jashuva was definitely one amongst the genre of modern Telugu poets who told Telugu poem in its conventional metered format, duly following all the prerequisites that are required to be followed for different formats of deasi (i.e., belonging to the original Telugu language such as kanda, teaTagiiti etc.,) and metrical formats obtained from Sanskrit (such as uptpalamaala, champakamaala, Saarduulam, matteabham  etc.,) with great ease so much so that the flow of words appeared and sounded very apt and quite natural. The wording is so tight that you take a word out of it; it is for sure that you seldom find another suitable word to replace it with, not spoiling the meaning and the contextual fitness. This made him to be regarded as one of that fortunate lot who are bestowed with the rare gift of ‘saying’ poetry even in the most complicated of classical ‘metered’ formats.

There are many poems which are to be cited as examples from Jashua’s works which prove the above explanation.  But, to start with, the poem I am talking about now is this:

ennoe yeaMDlu gaDichi poeyinavigaanii yii Smasaanasthalin
gannulmoeDchina maMda bhaagyuDokaDainan leachi raaDakkaTaa
yennaaLLii chalanaMbuleani SayanaM? bea tallu lallaaDiroe!
kanniiTaMbaDi krraagipoeyinavi nikkaMbiMdu paashaaNamul!

ఎన్నో యేండ్లు గడిచి పోయినవిగానీ యీ శ్మసానస్థలిన్
గన్నుల్మోడ్చిన మంద భాగ్యుడొకడైనన్ లేచి రాడక్కటా
యెన్నాళ్ళీ చలనంబులేని శయనం? బే తల్లు లల్లాడిరో!
కన్నీటంబడి క్ర్రాగిపోయినవి నిక్కంబిందు పాషాణముల్!

Many years have since passed  in this place of funeral rites, not a single
Hapless soul who shut his eyes had ever woken up and walked out, alas,
How long this motionless sleep? How many mothers wept inconsolably?
Here, even the hardest of rocks had melted in the tears that rolled down!


As already mentioned, this poem formed part of one of Jashua’s popular works named ‘SmaSaana vaaTi’ (penned in 1933) which means ‘the place of funeral and final rites’. This is a very popular one from that work; a well liked one by many, even by those who are not able to read or write, because of the sorrow and the melancholy every mortal soul could understand that was portrayed in this poem.

This poem even can be said as a general ‘elegy’ – an elegy that could be applicable to and on behalf of every individual who happened to walk on this earth and one day finally had to walk away and disappear, leaving all his memories as shadows unseen, on and around the minds of the people amongst whom he once had lived his life.

In my opinion every word in this poem is very finely placed to convey the intended feeling so that it should touch the softest of corners of the readers’ heart and soul and evoke the intended sorrow, the resultant emotion of the leaving everything behind – the final feeling, the inevitable stage of becoming one day   ‘unbelonging’ to all and the unavoidable eventuality of the necessity to leave.

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