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Seshendra: A multi-faceted littérateur
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Seshendra: A multi-faceted littérateur - 26th May 2015, 12:52 PM

Seshendra: A multi-faceted littérateur
A poet, free verse writer, lyricist, critic, novelist, story-teller and a theatre artiste – it is very difficult to find a personality with such versatility in literature. But one would find this quality in Guntur Seshendra Sarma, an unsung hero in Indian literary world. Not many from this generation is aware that he was a trend setter in all genres of literature and that he was the second person to have been nominated for the Nobel Literature prize for his contribution to literary field from India, the first being Rabindranath Tagore. As we observe his eighth death anniversary on May 30, Madhuri Dasagrandhi recalls the unusual talent of this great poet from the Telugu land.
He was a man who communicated with the catchy vocabulary and the emotion which made every being mesmerize to him and his work. He essentially communicated his expression through expressing ideas in a literal sense metaphorically. He had written poems in all genres of Telugu literature – prosody, songs, free verse, long poems, Kavyas, epics, poetics like “Kavi Sena Manifesto,” literary criticism, stories and dramas.
Born on October 20, 1927, in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh, Seshendra Sarma developed interest in many languages since his childhood. He completed his graduation from Andhra University and Law from Madras University. “I have developed poetry in the childhood itself as I felt that human life is the basic source and reason for writing poetry. Life has given me the chance to write poetry. I always believed that the poet always plunges into the life in its ups and downs. Only a poet can feel problems and sufferings of others as his own with kind heart,” he said in an interview.
Seshendra always believed that poetry instructs the goodness. It has the power to change the society in a good way. “A good book gives mental peace and moral power and it attracts the reader. Reader then heart-fully accepts the words of the poet. A person who is strongly attracted by the words of the poet does not bend towards bad things and deeds. Willfully, voluntarily he changes his life style in a right path. Poets are visionaries and a poet means a saint indeed,” he said.
Seshendra never believed in “isms” influencing the poetry – whether it is feminism or “Dalitism” or “Minoritism.” According to him, 90 per cent of the people in the world are poor and downtrodden and poverty is common in all sections of people. Once poverty is eliminated, all these differences disappear and only poetry remains. Poetry emerges only from kindness,” he said.
Seshendra’s books have been translated into English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada and Greek and were widely read including Bangladesh and Pakistan and other countries besides India. His first book was a translation from Mathew Arnold’s ‘Shahnama’ the Persian epic, as ‘Sorabu’; in Telugu and was published in 1951. His renowned works also comprise of ‘Sheshajyotsna’. ‘Burning Son’, Poet’s Note book ‘Arc of Blood’(Rakta Rekha), ‘Turned into Water and Fled Away’, Gorilla, ‘Me and My Peacock or The Peacock and My Me’ and notorious ‘Love Letters’(Prema Lekhalu).
Epics like ‘Adhunika Maha Bharatam’, ‘Jana Vamsham’. They give the highest place to Sheshendra in Indian literary field. He is famous for the best literary critic for writing, ‘Shodasi’, (A Tantric Commentary of Sundara Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana), ‘Swarna Hamsa’ (Commentary of Harsha Bhatta’s Naishadiya Charitam), and ‘Kavi Sena Manifesto’ Adhunika Kavya Shastra. Late His prominent book ‘My Country My People and Selected Poetry’ was nominated for Noble prize in 2004. He received several prestigious awards including Central Sahitya Academy Award in 1994 and Sahithya Academy Fellow Ship too. The Prime Minister of India, Dr.Manmohan Singh felicitated Sheshedra at Sahitya Akademy on its 50th Golden Jubilee Year in 2004.
Besides poems Seshandra Sarma wrote short stories, plays and novels. His most controversial novel is ‘Kamothshav’, which had been serialized in one of the popular Telugu newspaper two decades ago and was published as book in 2006.
On a personal front Seshendra Sarma was a contented man he always said “The seed of vision of my life had lead in my childhood. Gradually that has grown up and became a vast tree.” Until the literature exists his poems and work towards the literature field will be remembered.

with inputs from S Laxmi Narayana’s interview with Seshandra Sarma in 2004
30 May 2015 is poet's 8th Anniversary
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