This collection of post-independence Telugu short stories reflects all the major trends and thematic concerns of the Telugu short stories of the post-independence period. The Telugu short story right from its inception in 1910 has demonstrated its serious engagement with social issues and is imbued with a strong sense of social awareness and responsiveness. The post-Indepenence Telugu short story continued this tradition in terms of its theamatic preoccupations. The selection comes from different regions of Andhra Pradesh: Andhra ( Costal Districts), Rayalaseema and Telangana and record with rare sensitivity the specificites of the sub-cultures of these regions. The stories trace the impact of all the important socio-political movements that have swept across the telugu land in the post-independence era: socialism communism, feminism, civil right movement and the dalit movement. The lives of Telugu people, urban and rural upper middle class, middle class and the downtrodden, professionals and beggars-are represented in a rich mosaic of differences.
Bh. Krishnamurti, individually acclaimed linguist and scholar has more than twenty publications in the areas of Indian Languages, grammar, education and society. Retired as Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad University, he has been a visiting professor of linguistics in various universities in the USA.
C. Vijayashree, A critic and translator has published widely in the area of post-colonial literatures. She is presently teaching English in Osmania University in Hyderabad.
This is a collection of short stories mainly selected from bangaaru
kathalu (Golden Stories), the best of 60 post-independence short
stories compiled and edited by Vakati Pandurangarao and Vedagiri
Rambabu after a three-day workshop in January 1997 in Hyderabad,
followed by much exercise for final filtering. Though the volume
was published in 2001, it was the result of extended celebration
of the Golden Jubilee of India's Independence. We conducted a
workshop of translators during October 10-12, in which each
translator read two stories assigned to him or her in English
translation and the discussion that followed the presentations was
found very useful and constructive. After the workshop we received
the final versions of translations in a month's time. Editing and
preparing the press-copy took us over six months. The stories
outside the above anthology are 'mugguru biccagaaLLu' (Three
Beggars) by Viswantha Satyanarayana, 'proddu caalani mani Si'
(All Day with wis'wapati) by Madhurantakam Rajaram, 'jiiwadhaara'
(Life-Stream) by Kalipatnam Ramarao.
We are grateful to all the translators who participated in the
workshop and produced excellent English translation of the stories
assigned to them. We thank Viswanatha Pavani Sastry and
Madhurantakam Narendra for giving us the copyright to include
the translations of 'mugguru biccagaaLLu' and 'proddu caalani
mani Si', respectively. Our thanks are due to the authorities of
the Sahitya Akademi for approving this project, and mainly to its
Secretary, Professor K. Satchidanandan, the Regional Deputy
Secretary, Sri A. Krishna Murthy and their staff for their cordiality
and cooperation in successfully implementing the project. During the printing of the final copy, Krishnamurti had spent two months
at Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany; it was the facilities
of the Institute that enabled communication between the editors
and the press. We thank the Institute authorities for making this
possible. Nutan Art Printers have prepared the master copy for
printing. The management and staff of the press deserve our
appreciation for their help and cooperation.
We hope that these stories will now find their way into the
other Indian languages by translators who need to translate them
with the help of a bridge language.
The Telegu short story has come of age. With nearly a hundred
years of history behind it, the short story is one of the most
flourishing and dynamic genres in modem Telugu literature. It owes
its origin to Gurajada Apparao's 'diddubaa'Tu' published in 1911.
Apparao (1861-1915), considered the father of modem Telugu
literature, used literature as an instrument of social reform and
change. The potential of the short story form to address various
issues without the metrical constraints of the verse form or the
diffusion of the novel form attracted a number of able practitioners.
Among the pioneers of the Telugu short story, Chinta Deekshitulu,
Veluri Sivarama Sastry, Sripada Subrahmanya Sastry, Kodavatiganti
Kutumbarao, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Munimanikyam Narsimha
Rao, and Chalam figure prominently.
By the 1950s, Telugu short story acquired technical sophistication
and international recognition. Palagummi Padmaraju's 'gaaliwaana'
(The Hurricane) won the second prize in an international competition
held by the New York Herald Tribune in 1952. Puranam Subrahmanya
Sarma's 'niili' won the first prize in the Telugu section of the
1953 version of this competition. Such achievements indicate that
the gains of the early period had now been consolidated. The
phenomenal expansion of the weeklies and the dailies in Telugu,
which were competing to pay cash prizes for the best stories
published in their columns, led to many gifted writers to come
to light. With the foreign rule gone, the writers concentrated on
internal problems of the diverse Indian society. Middleclass themes
like the retirement blues, social evils like the dowry system and
child marriage, the exploitation of the poor by the moneyed class,
the oppressive practice of untouchability and others kinds of caste discrimination, corruption, drought, famine, the movement of rural
population to urban areas, and discrimination against women-
offered a great wealth and variety of topics for the short stories
by gifted creative writers. A modern standard variety of Telugu
had gradually evolved and become the medium of writing prose.
When it was first exemplified in the writings of Gurajada Apparao
and Gidugu Ramamurthy at the beginning of the twentieth century,
there was great resistance from traditional pundits.
A number of anthologies of Telugu short stories have been
published. The Central Sahitya Akademi has published four
anthologies of short stories: Tallavajjhula Sivasankara Swami (ed.)
andhrakathaamanjuuSa (The Treasure of Telugu Short Stories)
(1958), D. Ramalingam (ed.), telugukatha (The Telugu Short Story),
1988, D. Ramalingam (ed.) okataram telugukatha (The Telugu Short
Story of One Generation), V. Pandurangarao and V. Rambabu (eds.),
bangaaru kathalu (Stories of Gold) 2001, published to commemorate
the Golden jubilee of India's independence.
Gold Nuggets is largely based on bangaaru kathalu and so
called to suggest its links to the original and preserve the significance
of the occasion of its origin - the Golden jubilee of India's
independence. Twenty-eight stories selected from this anthology
have been translated by fifteen translators at a Workshop organized
by the Sahitya Akademi in October 2002. Three stories, which
are not a part of this anthology but are by major writers-
Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Kalipatnam Rama Rao and
Madhurantakam Rajaram are added since any anthology of Telugu
short stories would be incomplete without the work of these trend-
setters in the field. The stories in the original volume by these
authors had to be replaced since the English translations of those
stories were already available in print.
We are confident that this anthology reflects all the major trends
and thematic concerns of the Telugu short story during the period
under consideration. These stories come from different regions of
Andhra Pradesh: Andhra (coastal districts), Rayalaseerna and
Telangana and record with a rare sensitivity the specificities of
sub-cultures in these regions. They trace the impact of all the important socio-political movements that have swept across the
Telugu land in the post-independence era: socialism, communism,
feminism, civil rights movement and dalit movement. The lives
of the Telugu people, urban and rural; upper middle class, middle
class and the downtrodden; professionals and beggars - are
represented in a rich mosaic of differences here.
The Telugu short story, right from its inception in 1910, has
demonstrated a serious engagement with social issues and is imbued
with a strong sense of social awareness and responsiveness. Post-
independence Telugu short story continued this tradition in terms
of its thematic preoccupations. One important trend that emerges
here is the celebration of the power of the 'small man'. A number
of stories in this collection mark the victory of the victim and
the emancipation of the exploited. Collective action is suggested
as the key to liberation: 'amballabaNDa', 'Ants', 'The Village Well',
'Moonlight in the Forest', 'The Beggar's Flag', 'Flood' exemplify
this trend. The writers visualize the fulfillment of their dream of
an egalitarian society by empowering the lowly and the hitherto
exploited sections of the society. Land emerges as an important
metaphor and is shown as a vital bond that determines the identity
of an individual in stories such as 'The Trusted Land' and 'The
Earth Bound Heart'. The complex inner life of an average person
is powerfully portrayed in the psychological stories that probe the
depths of human thought, emotion and experience. 'Money', 'Water',
'Dear Mind! Don't get too...', and 'Lead Us into Light' belong
to this category. Stories such as 'The Choice', 'The Boat Moves
on', 'Three Beggars' represent the alternative ethical and moral
order prevalent in the lives of those who live on the margins of
the so-called civilized society. Man-woman relationship and the
validity of marriage as an institution come in for scrutiny in 'Love
and Life', 'Agony', and 'Shreds of Paper' and 'Shards of Glass'.
Stories dealing with urban life critique the corruption and failure
of the administrative systems in the independent nation state:
'Salvation', 'A Vision of Falling Trees', and 'Five Stars at the
End' represent this trend. Those set in rural locale focus on the
village politics and the collapse of traditional social ties and familial
bonds. They represent how new forms of exploitation have replaced the old ones in the villages. The writers lash out at the corrupt
politics through the locale of the village, which represents a
microcosmic view of the situation at the centre. On the whole,
the post-independence Telugu short story has remained firmly
entrenched in the contemporary socio-cultural ethos addressing the
here and now.
The fictional mode employed is realism and the characters
portrayed are no heroes or heroines but men and women we
encounter in everyday life. The heroes when they do appear come
from the exploited and marginalized sections and their heroism
lies in their courage to break the shackles of enslavement and
consolidate a collective movement for emancipation. Writers,
however, show a penchant for formal experimentation: allegory,
symbolism, subversion, met fictional narrative, psychological realism
and the stream of consciousness technique are some of the newer
modes of narration employed in these stories. Ornamentation is
kept to the minimum and an urgency to tell an unvarnished tale
of human exploitation and power abuse dominates a large number
of stories included here.
The emergence of regional literatures written in the dialects
of Rayalaseema and Telangana and the rural literature highlighting
the distinctive features and problems of rural life may be identified
as the major development in the post-independence Telugu short
story. For nearly fifty years, the literary output of the urban, middle
class, educated society constituted the mainstay of Telugu short
story and it represented their values, concerns, ideologies and class-
consciousness almost to the exclusion of people from the rural
areas. But in the post-independence era, distinct voices of the rural
poor, the industrial labour, dalits, women and the other hitherto
silenced sections of society are heard in clear and forthright terms.
All these echoes are meticulously preserved in this anthology.
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