Seshendra : Visionary Poet of the Millennium
Visionary Poet of the Millennium
An Indian poet Prophet
October 20th, 1927 - May 30th, 2007
Rivers and poets
Are veins and arteries
Of a country.
Rivers flow like poems
For animals, for birds
And for human beings-
The dreams that rivers dream
Bear fruit in the fields
The dreams that poets dream
Bear fruit in the people-
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The sunshine of my thought fell on the word
And its long shadow fell upon the century
Sun was playing with the early morning flowers
Time was frightened at the sight of the martyr-
- -Seshendra Sharma
"We are children of a century which has seen revolutions, awakenment of large masses of people over the earth
and their emancipation from slavery and colonialism wresting equality from the hands of brute forces
and forging links of brotherhood across mankind.
This century has seen peaks of human knowledge; unprecedented intercourse of peoples and
perhaps for the first time saw the world stand on the brink of the dilemma of one world or destruction.
It is a very inspiring century, its achievements are unique.
A poet who is not conscious of this context fails in his existence as poet."
(From his introduction to his “Poet’s notebook "THE ARC OF BLOOD" )
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B.A: Andhra Christian College: Guntur: A.P: India
B.L : Madras University: Madras
Deputy Municipal Commissioner (37 Years)
Dept of Municipal Administration, Government of Andhra Pradesh
Parents: G.Subrahmanyam (Father) ,Ammayamma (Mother)
Siblings: Anasuya,Devasena (Sisters),Rajasekharam(Younger brother)
Wife: Mrs.Janaki Sharma
Children: Vasundhara , Revathi (Daughters),
Vanamaali ,Saatyaki (Sons)
Seshendra Sharma is one of the most outstanding minds of modern Asia. He is the foremost of the Telugu poets today who has turned poetry to the gigantic strides of human history and embellished literature with the thrills and triumphs of the 20th century. A revolutionary poet who spurned the pedestrian and pedantic poetry equally, a brilliant critic and a scholar of Sanskrit, this versatile poet has breathed a new vision of modernity to his vernacular.Such minds place Telugu on the world map of intellectualism. Readers conversant with names like Paul Valery, Gauguin, and Dag Hammarskjold will have to add the name of Seshendra Sharma the writer from India to that dynasty of intellectuals.
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Seshendra Sharma better known as Seshendra isa colossus of Modern Indian poetry.
His literature is a unique blend of the best of poetry and poetics.
Diversity and depth of his literary interests and his works
are perhaps hitherto unknown in Indian literature.
From poetry to poetics, from Mantra Sastra to Marxist Politics his writings bear an unnerving pprint of his rare genius.
His scholarship and command over Sanskrit , English and Telugu Languages has facilitated his emergence as a towering personality of comparative literature in the 20th century world literature.
T.S.Eliot ,ArchbaldMacleish and Seshendra Sharma are trinity of world poetry and Poetics.
His sense of dedication to the genre of art he chooses to express himself and
the determination to reach the depths of subject he undertakes to explore
place him in the galaxy of world poets / world intellectuals.
Seshendra Sharma’s Writings Copyright © Saatyaki S/o Seshendra Sharma
Seshendra Sharma : Scholar - Poet
Seshendra Sharma, a scholar - poet was born (October 20, 1927) into a Pujari ( Priests ) family in Nellore District in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India . Seshendra’s father and his grandfather were well versed in Sanskrit Literature, Vedas and scriptures. At home itself, thus from his childhood , Seshendra got the opportunity of learning and training in Sanskrit. This was further nurtured by the Village school of Thotapalligudur, where he spent best part of his childhood.
Seshendra’s father was a well-to-do person, a Munsif ( village officer ) of the village, possessing more than Ten Acres of agricultural Wet land and own house . Father’s desire to see his son flower into a top man turned a new leaf in Seshendra’s life. Seshendra’s father admitted him for B.A. Graduation course in Andhra Christian College in Guntur. Incidentally, Seshendra’s Family Sir Name and this town’s name are one and the same. This is a turning point in the budding poet’s journey. Seshendra got significant exposure to the Western World, particularly to the Western Literature. The makings of a Visionary Poet germinated in him in this Alma Mater. His journey of poetry started with Translation of Mathew Arnold’s “Sohrab and Rustum “ , a long poem , which Seshendra translated into Telugu in Metrical poetry with accomplished finesse . This trend eventually blossomed and Seshendra emerged as an Epic – Poet. His My Country – My People : Modern Indian Epic is observed by learned critics as a land mark in modern poetry ranking it on par with T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land . This long poem was nominated for Nobel Prize in 2004. His subsequent works Gorilla, Turned into water and fled away, Ocean is my name – long poems were reviewed in scholarly strain.
Seshendra’s desire to perform in films took him to Madras, today’s Chennai in Tamil Nadu. In Madras he formally joined B.L. Course with Madras Law College. And was developing contacts in the Telugu Cinema Circles and was working as a freelance journalist. He used to translate articles into Telugu for Janavani , a popular weekly of those times whose editor was Tapi Dharma Rao , a towering personality of Telugu Literature. This facet of journalism of his personality rose to its full heights in 90s. When Soviet Union collapsed he wrote a series of articles in Telugu as well as in English decrying the west’s sinister plot, villainous machinations to pull down Communist Regimes. He sang odes / Laurels to communism and expressed in aggressive tone and style that communism will never die. It remains in the genes of oppressed peoples of the world for ever. Perhaps Seshendra is the only poet from the Indian Subcontinent to pen Anti – Imperialist essays during those times. He completed his Law course but his desire to act in films remained unfulfilled. Seshendra’s Classmates at his Alma Mater, A.C.College, Guntur, N.T.Rama Rao and Kongara Jaggaiah became popular actors of Telugu Cinema. N.T.R became an all time super –hero. Seshendra’s father and maternal uncle forcibly brought him back from Madras, and with the good offices of native Member of Parliament put him in Government service as Deputy Panchayat Officer. In due course of time, on deputation, joined Municipal Administration Department and worked as Municipal Commissioner in all Major cities and towns of Andhra Pradesh. With the result he got wide exposure to conditions of social life of his times. He obtained personal acquaintance of Common Man’s life and his travails. This enriched his vision of life and literature a great deal.
With Seshendra Poetry and Poetics are Siamese Twins. He penned works of Literary Criticism both on classical and contemporary poetry. Sahitya Kaumudi (Telugu ) and his bi-lingual book “ the ARC of Blood : My Note Book “ illustrate this point. His Research work on Valmiki’s Ramayana , Shodasi : Secrets of The Ramayana , questions the very foundations of centuries old assumptions. Seshendra, based on scientific research citing from the original text of Valmiki and Vedas, reveals that The Ramayana is not just story of Rama told in enchanting poetry , But the Sage wrote the epic to spread Kundalini Yoga among the masses of his era. His observations that the concepts of Vishnu and Reincarnation were non –existent during Valmiki’s Epoch constitute a revolt against centuries old beliefs. Sita is the central character of The Ramayana and she is Kundalini Shakti / Adi Para Shakthi . During that era temples and prayers were nonexistent. This hits directly at the very foundation of Temple System.
His Kavisena Manifesto , is a noteworthy work on Modern Poetics. In this work, he compiles cogently definitions of poetry cutting across centuries and countries and writes scintillating commentary. This Manifesto of Modern Poetry is a sort of Wikipedia page of world poetry. Seshendra, finally concludes that poetry is emotions and feelings skilfully garbed in unusual diction, and poetry is a way of life.
Discerning scholars critics and academics are of intrinsic opinion that T.S.Eliot ,Archibald MacLeish and Seshendra Sharma are trinity of world poetry and Poetics.
But this Scholar – poet of 20th century is an unsung and unwept genius of his times.
Prime Minister of India honoured Seshendra with Gold Medal in Sahitya Akademi ( India ) Golden Jubilee celebrations and Chief Minister of AP honoured him with Hansa Literary Award on the eve of UGADI , Telugu New Year Day in 2005 .
In one of his poems he says fragrance of stars is calling me. Seshendra left this world and vanished into fragrance of galaxies on May 30, 2007.
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GunturuSeshendraSarma: an extraordinary poet-scholar
One of the ironies in literature is that
he came to be known more as a critic than a poet
HYDERABAD: An era of scholastic excellence and poetic grandeur has come to an end in the passing away of GunturuSeshendraSarma, one of the foremost poets and critics in Telugu literature. His mastery over western literature and Indian `AlankaraSastra' gave his works a stunning imagery, unparalleled in modern Indian works. One of the ironies in literature is that he came to be known more as a critic than a poet. The Central SahityaAkademi award was conferred on him for his work `KaalaRekha' and not for his poetic excellence. The genius in him made him explore `Kundalini Yoga' in his treatise on Ramayana in `Shodasi' convincingly. His intellectual quest further made him probe `NaishadhaKaavya' in the backdrop of `LalitaSahasraNaamavali', `SoundaryaLahari' and `Kama Kala Vilasam' in `SwarnaHamsa', Seshendra saw the entire universe as a storehouse of images and signs to which imagination was to make value-addition. Like Stephene Mallarme who was considered a prophet of symbolism in French literature, SeshendraSarma too believed that art alone would survive in the universe along with poetry. He believed that the main vocation of human beings was to be artists and poets. His `Kavisena Manifesto' gave a new direction to modern criticism making it a landmark work in poetics. Telugus would rue the intellectual impoverishment they suffered in maintaining a `distance' from him. Seshendra could have given us more, but we did not deserve it! The denial of the Jnanpeeth Award to him proves it
India's National Newspaper
Friday, Jun 01, 2007
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Pardon Me Father!
I could not rescue him from the clutches of that nymphomaniac and vampire. There may be an exception or two but an average Indian woman desires from the depths of her soul that her husband should live long and she should pass away before him. She performs prayers and fasts on auspicious days for this purpose. She in spite of being 3years elder to him did away with my father in a planned and premeditated manner and I was a silent and helpless witness to it. He suffered 1st Heart attack in November 1997. Cardiologists performed angiogram and advised open heart surgery. Because there were blocks in vessels and one valve was damaged. But she successfully thwarted it and without my knowledge or informing any one got angioplasty done in Mediciti (Hyderabad: AP; India) her plan was to do away with him and live long, and establish herself as his wife through his books. He was succumbing to her blackmail. My overwhelming hunch is that she was threatening him with social insult and humiliation if he parts ways with her.
Between 1997-2007, she played football with his body. He used to be hospitalized every now and then with swollen body and heart pain. Because of damaged valve pumping was impaired and water used to accumulate in the system. Every time I used to force her to hospitalize him. He used be in ICCU for a couple of days and recover marginally. After each visit to hospital he was getting debilitated gradually. He was put on wheel chair. He was virtually under house arrest. He was not allowed to speak to friends and family members. Visitors were kept away. He was taking Lasix (Tablet: is a diuretic that is used to treat fluid accumulation, caused by heart failure, cirrhosis, chronic kidney failure, and nephrotic syndrome.) to flush out water accumulated in his body. This creates a painful dilemma in me whether my interference in his health matters was just. As his son it was my moral duty to protect him. But I sometimes feel if I were not to interfere she would have put him to death long ago and thus he would have escaped from physical and mental torture quite early.
Towards perhaps end of the month of March she withdrew medication. He got swollen suddenly and that condition continued till the last day i.e. 30th may 2007. Each time I visited I used to tell that witch to take him to hospital. But after a couple of visits I got convinced that she made up her mind this time to do away with him. I requested a bastard who was feigning to be a friend of mine, who incidentally happens to be a legal luminary of this region to send a doctor friend to that place and ascertain the exact condition of his health. But of no avail.
I kept on telling him to come out of that place and lead a normal and healthy life. Her blackmail gained an upper hand and I lost in my efforts to restore health to him and bring him back to civilized society. O God pardon me for not being able to outmanoeuvre her machinations. Pardon me father.
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Who Are The Legal Heirs of Seshendra Sharma ?
The literary world is aware that my father Gunturu Seshendra Sharma, eminent poet, litterateur and scholar-critic, died on 30th may 2007. Ever since he expired, there has been no mention of his parents, family members and other personal details in the news and in the articles about him. Not only this, fictional lies are being spread and using money power one shady lady is being propagated as his wife and so on. This has been causing me, as his son, a great mental agony. That is why, through this article, I am revealing certain fundamental truths to the literary field of this country and the civilized society. I appeal to your conscience to uphold truth, justice and values of our composite culture.
Seshendra Sharma's family members are: Parents: Subrahmanyam Sharma, Ammaayamma- Wife: Janaki Daughters: Vasundhara, Revathi, Sons: Vanamali, Saatyaki. Only these two are legal heirs of Seshendra Sharma, socially and morally too.
Street Play and Circus: In 1972, away from the civilized society, without the knowledge of parents and near and dear, in a far flung village called Halebeed in Karnataka a circus, a street play was staged. Let me make it clear that even after this street play my father did not divorce my mother Mrs.G.Janaki legally. He never had even a faint intention of committing such an uncivilized act. On the contrary, in all crucial Government documents he nominated my mother as his legal heir from time to time. During his long career as Municipal Commissioner with The Government of Andhra Pradesh, he retired 3 times. His first retirement came in 1975 by way of compulsory retirement for his anti establishment writings during Mrs. Gandhi's' emergency. His second retirement came in 1983 when the then new chief minister N.T. Rama Rao's government reduced the age of service from 58 to 55 years. The third and final retirement in the year 1985 on attaining 58 years of age. On all these occasions, in all the government documents, my father Seshendra Sharma nominated my mother Mrs. Janaki as his legal heir. This is precisely why the self contradictory 'second marriage' is a circus enacted away from the society and Law does not recognize this type of street plays as marriage.
Lakshmi Parvathi in literature
N.T. Rama Rao, actor turned politician married Ms. Lakshimi Parvathi in 1994 and subsequently in January 1995 he came to power for the second time. She used to act as an extra constitutional power and run the matters of government and the party. She developed her own coterie of cohorts and started dominating the party. After NTR was toppled by his own son- in-law, most of them parted ways with her. And the remaining touts left her for good the day NTR breathed his last. Ms.Indira Dhanrajgir has been playing the same role in Telugu literature over a period of more than 3 decades. In the guise of literature she developed her own coterie of lumpens with extra literary and money mongering elements - Tangirala Subba Rao, Velichala Kondala RAo(Editor:Jayanthi) Cheekolu Sundarayya(A.G.'s Office, Hyderabad et al).
There are a couple[ of dissimilarities between these two instances. After the demise of NTR, L.P's coterie of cohorts disappeared once and for all. Whereas, in Indira Dhanrajgir's case new lumpens are entering the field with the passage of time. Squandering her late father's wealth, she is roping in new touts. Since NTR's wife Basava Tarakam passed away in 1984 and since he was old and sick NTR's marriage with LP has ethical basis and is legal completely. Whereas I.D's is neither ethical nor legal. Hence it is a street play. This is the reason why after my father's death she has been spending money on a larger scale and indulging in false publicity and propaganda. Bh. Krishna Murthy, Sadasiva Sharma (The then Editor of Andhra Prabha:Telugu Daily, presently with Hindi Milap) Chandrasekhara Rao(Telugu lecturer: Methodist Degree College) etc. are indulging in all sorts of heinous acts to prop up I.D as my father's wife.
My father passed away on 30 May 2007. When our family was in grief and I was performing the 11 day ritual as per my mother's wish, the above mentioned Sadasiva Sharma went to Municipal Office on 4th June, created ruckus, played havoc telling them that he is from the Prime Minister's Office , мейд some 'senior officials' make phone calls to the officials concerned and got my father's death certificate forcibly issued. When the entire family was mourning the death of the family head, a stranger and a lumpen S.S -Why did he collect my father's death certificate forcibly from the municipal authorities? Whom did he collect it for?
THREE NAMES OF THE SAME PERSON IN 3 DECADES
This is perhaps for the first time that the name of a lady appears in 3 forms at a time. Perhaps in 1970, in my father's collection of poems"PAKSHULU her name appeared As Rajkumari Indira Devi Dhanrajgir. In 2006 she published a fake version of Kamaostav(Rewritten by a muffian Called Chandrasekhara Rao) . In this book her name appears as R.I.D.D. Prior to 1970 in Maqdoom Mohiuddeen's(Renowned Urdu Poet) anthology of poetry 'Bisath -E-Raks', in Urdu as well as Hindi , at the end of two poems her name appears as Kumari Indira Dhanrajgir. On 15th June 2007 A.P state cultural affairs department and Telugu University jointly held my father's memorial meeting. I.D hijacked this meeting by issuing her own commercial advertisements in English and Telugu dailies. In these advertisements her name appeared as Smt. Indira Devi Seshendra Sharma and again in the commercial public notices мейд by her in the month of November 2007her name appeared as Rajkumari devi etc. Why does her name appear in different forms on different occasions? Will I.D explain? Will Sadasiva Sharma clarify, who forcibly took my father's death certificate after four days of his death? Or will Bh.Krishna Murthy clarify?
If I.D has even an iota of regard, respect for or faith in love, or relation, the institution of marriage, immediately after'Halebeed Circus', she would have used my father's family sir name and her name would have appeared as Gunturu Indira. Since she was conscious of her goal during all times and conditions she did not take such a hasty and mindless step of change of her name.
WHERE DOES THE REAL SECRET LIE? Her life is totally illegal, anti-social and immoral. I.D's father performed her marriage with SRikishenSeth, Nephew of the then Prime minister to Nizam, Maharaja Kishen pershad in 1945. On the day of marriage itself I.D beat SrikeshenSeth up and ran away from him. She did not stop at that. She propagated among his friends and relatives and near and dear that he was not enough of a man and unfit for conjugal/ marital life. She filed a divorce case against him and dragged it till 1969/70. Lion's share of her husband's life got evaporated and was sapped completely by then. His parents used to approach I.D's father and plead with him to prevail upon his daughter, put sense into her head and see that she either lives with their son or dissolves the marriage legally so that they can remarry off their son. But I.D did not heed. Raja Dhanrajgir after getting disgusted with her nasty activities stipulated a mandatory condition in his will. He stated that I.D would be entitled to get a share of his property only if she is married.
This is the reason why ID who has no respect for the institution of marriage or regard or desire for marital life , in the guise of love and love poetry inflicted indelible blemish on the institution of marriage which is unprecedented in the literary history of the world. After my father's death she has been indulging in more rigorous false publicity along with her coterie of touts.
KAMOSTAV:STORY OF ID'S SOUL:
With this novel Kamostav, father's literary life came to an end for good. He did not produce literary works worth mentioning in his later phase of life. During those days he asked for my opinion on that novel. I told him clearly that it lacks the form and content of a novel- it does not have a story line, plot, sequences, characters and eventually a message which every novel gives. Hence it is a trash. Several people went to court and got its publication in a weekly stopped. ID got this very trash rewritten completely by Chandrasekhara Rao and printed it. This kind of heinous development has never taken place in the recorded history of Telugu literature till date. A writing which brought disrepute to my father in the literary field and isolated him in the society, why did she get it rewritten by somebody and publish it claiming copyright to be hers? What is her motive? What is her aim? That is why Kamotsav is ID's biography, story of her inner soul.
My father gifted away copyrights of his entire works along with their translations to me by way of birth day gift to me on 2.12.1989. Since then I have published several of his works during his lifetime itself. Kamostav, the version that is secretly мейд available is the dirty work of cheapsters and lumpens under the leadership of ID. It is much worse than violation of copyrights. That is the reason why I have been reluctant to take action so far. If she and her debased henchmen try to violate copyrights of my father's works bequeathed to me, I shall take exemplary legal action against them.
ID мейд 2 public notices to the effect that my father cancelled all his earlier transfer of copyrights and retransferred all his rights to her. This is a palace intrigue in the modern era in our civilized society.
WHAT DOES LAW SAY ABOUT COPYRIGHTS?
An author can transfer copyrights of his works to any one as per her/his wish. But the Copyrights Act 1957 and the Supreme Court in its various judgments has clearly stipulated a procedure to revoke earlier assignment and transferring of copyrights to somebody else subsequently. The author has to issue a notice to the 1st assignee, giving 6 months time for reply. Depending on the reply the author can take his next step. Where as in my father's copyrights matter he did not even inform me orally of any such cancellation. ID claims that she has a typed document of transfer of copyrights signed by my father on 5.1.2006. Between 5.1.2006 and 30.5.2007, leave alone issuing a notice, he did not even inform me orally.
My father who assigned copyrights to me in his own handwriting, when he was relatively young and physically fit did not require to cancel the 1st assignment when he was totally dilapidated, almost bedridden and was counting his days. Another important aspect of the matter is that I have printed the Xerox of my father's document in his own works as early as 1995 and have been doing so from time to time during his life time. Where as ID claims to possess a document after my father's death and she has not мейд it public so far. ID tried to get my father's complete works published in different languages by Telugu University (Hyderabad: A.P: India) by paying them Rs. 6 Lakhs. I approached Telugu University and apprised them of facts. On the advice of legal experts, they stopped this project and returned ID's money to her. It is an incontrovertible fact that ID's document is a forged and fraudulent document which does not stand scrutiny before law. Court shall certainly award her exemplary punishment. In all societies and times literature has been social wealth/public property from time immemorial. It should not be used as a mask to grab share of parental property illegally and unethically. I am committed to this cause/ ideal and appeal to the civilized society to strengthen my hands in this endeavor. ID's younger brother Sri Mahendra Pratapgir is the lone legal heir apparent of that family and keeping him in dark, she is squandering her father's wealth in Telugu literature for her nasty propaganda.
FATHER PASSED AWAY:
In 1997 when he suffered the 1st heart attack he was half-dead. Dr.Sudhakar Reddy, cardiologist of Mediciti Hospitals (Native of Warangal.A.P) performed angiogram and diagnosed that he had blocks in arteries and one valve was damaged completely. He advised open heart surgery. But ID averted it and got angioplasty performed. His health declined rapidly since then and was leading the life of virtually an invalid till he breathed his last. He suffered inexplicable mental and physical torture for about a decade. During the last leg of his journey he was isolated from his family completely. He was deserted by one and all in the literary field. When his younger brother passed away, his younger sister passed away he did not visit his ancestral home in his village and call on those families. He became target of jealousy and animosity in the society. He became a victim of false impression with the society that he was an aristocrat and rolling in luxuries. Whereas, he was deprived of even his native vegetarian food for decades together. As a silent and helpless witness to these painful happenings, I was subject to untold mental agony.
In the later half of March 2007 on one of my visits to him, I was aghast at his condition. His entire body was swollen. His appearance was like that of a stuffed gunny bag. I told him to get hospitalized. I told ID to rush him to a hospital. But of no avail. On 30th may 2007 at about 11 pm I got a phone call from her" Come soon/Serious" she said. As I entered at 11.15 pm "Go inside/he is no more' she said.
* * One day when swarms of lamps vanish, in the light of a lonely lamp I ask the dumb pillars "Can't you liberate me from the disgust of this existence? I ask those stand still forest flame trees
which blossom flowers at that very place year after year
"can't you rescue me?
I ask those high roof tops and this Venetian furniture
which every one feels are greater than me, "can't you rescue me from the disgust of this existence?" All these answer in a melancholic voice "We have been languishing since more than 100 years watching the same unchanging scenes we are older prisoners than you are" (Janavamsham: Telugu: Seshendra: Page 80-81:1993: Translated by me)
My father's first biography (in Hindi) titled "Rashtrendu Seshendra: Ashesh Aayaam" by Dr.Vishranth Vasishth appeared in 1994. Touching upon these very sensitive aspects of my father's life he commented in that book"SONE KE PINJRE ME PANCHCHI" (A bird in a golden cage). Alarmed and agonized by his rapidly declining health, as early as June 2002, in order to bring pressure on ID, I gave a 2 cassettes long interview to Vijayaviharam of Janaharsha group. Later on when I enquired about that interview they said that in the raids conducted on their premises, they got destroyed.
I wanted to rescue my father and bring him back home when he was in good health. Alas! At last, I took him to the burial ground, laid him on the funeral pyre and consigned him to flames and returned home all alone.
G.Satyaki S/o Late.G.Seshendra Sharma
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