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Rural/Oral literature in Telugu – The Moonlight song (1)

Literature in Telugu language is broadly divided into two main categories – Rural literature which is called deaSi (దేశి) in Telugu and methodical literature which is called maarga (మార్గ) in Telugu.

Rural (దేశి) literature is, needless to say, is oral in nature and has been developing since the beginning of the race. The generation point for this type of literature has been the innocent intellect of the rural folk. The expressions of happiness, cultural aspects, love, sorrow etc., were given in the native dialect arranging the words rhythmically that a song is in the process created and sung on occasions of festivities, work place congregations and house hold celebrations etc. A song created and sung is memorised and passed on from mouth to mouth through generations of individuals. Slowly many varieties of songs have come into existence with names that instantly indicated their rural nature.  One variety of the lot is called vennela paaTalu  (వెన్నెల పాటలు – the moon-light songs). In these songs the word venniyalaaroe (వెన్నియలారో) or vennelaaore (వెన్నెలారో) is used as a ‘refrain’ while the song is sung by a group. The word vennela (వెన్నెల) means ‘moon light’ in Telugu and the word venniyalu (వెన్నియలు) means the ‘personifications of the moon light’ in female form.

The following song – a sad song of disappointment at the neglect the female lover received from her male lover – is one of the heart touching vennela paaTalu  (వెన్నెల పాటలు) which has come down passing through generations of singing by rural women.

ennaaDu vaaniki nea lalana naitinoe
vennelaaroe, vaaDu
nannu neda talachaDu
neaneami ceatunu, vennelaaroe

caalagaa nammi taa cakkani celimiki
vennelaaroe, naa
mealunu niMtaina manasu
nuMca Daaye vennelaaroe

valapu nilpa naadu vaSamu kaadu
iMka vennelaaroe…

ఎన్నాడు వానికి నే లలన నైతినో
వెన్నెలారో, వాడు
నన్ను నెద తలచడు
నేనేమి చేతును, వెన్నెలారో

చాలగా నమ్మి తా చక్కని చెలిమికి
వెన్నెలారో, నా
మేలును నింతైన మనసు
నుంచ డాయె వెన్నెలారో

వలపు నిల్ప నాదు వశము కాదు
ఇంక వెన్నెలారో…

I don’t remember the day when I became his woman
Oh moon-light maids, but
He doesn’t seem to think about me in his heart
What shall I do, oh moon-light maids

I believed so much for that mesmerising companionship
Oh moon-light maids, but
He doesn’t appear to mind even a little
About my well-being, oh moon-light maids

Now I feel it is difficult to sustain the love
Anymore further, oh moon-light maids…

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