Telugu Literature built its own unique space with Nannaya’s Mahabharatam, composed in the 1030 AD. Several scholars suspect that Telugu Literature might have existed even before this, owing to the verse’s impeccable literary style. The language was initially confined to the composition of poems and translations supported by local kings. During the 1100-1600 AD, Telugu Literature found the light at the end of the tunnel. The influential Lingayata school that preached complete devotion towards Lord Shiva as the only path to salvation used Telugu as the language of propagation. Some of the greatest works in Telugu Literature during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD were Nannecodu’s kavya Kumara Sambhavamu and Palakuriki Somanatha’s Basava Puranamu and Panditaradhyacharita. The latter is regarded as the creator of new genres in Telugu Literature- ragada, udaharana, sataka and gadya.
The Age of Srinatha of Telugu Literature
Prabandha, a new literary verse genre that alluded to a story which has a set metrical scheme, entered the world of Telugu Literature during the Age of Srinatha. The Kavi Sarvabhauma, Srinatha of this period is known to have composed some of Telugu Literature’s finest Prabandhas- Palanati-viracharitramau, Haravilasamu, Kasikhandamu, Bhimeshvara Puranamu, and Sringara Naishadham. A number of important literary translation works took place during the Age of Srinatha. The Bhagavata Purana was translated into Telugu as a part of Bammera Potana's Mahabhagavatamu. Kalidasa's Shakuntala was translated as a part of Pinavirabhadrudu's Sakuntala-parinayamu. As a part of his Jaimini Bharatamu’s, he even translated the stories of the Puranas.
The legendary bhakta poet, Annamacharya, created thousands of sankritanas (devotional music) of high scholarly and melodic worth. This period saw Telugu Literature’s first female poetess. Timmamba, the poet's wife, accepted to be the earliest Telugu poetess, composed Subhadra-kalyanamu. Some of the other notable Telugu translation literature that were composed during this period were Vasistha Ramayanamu, Nachiketopakhyanamu, Nandi Mallaya's translation of Prabodhacandrodava, Padma Puranam, and Ghanta Singaya's translation of Varaha Purana.
The Golden Period of Telugu Literature
Telugu Literature that existed during the Vijayanagara period shines brightly in the history of Indian Literature. This golden period introduced India to the eight literary jewels ( Ashtadiggajas) of Telugu Language- Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi, Madayyagari Mallana, Nandi Timmana, Allasani Peddana, Ramaraja Bhushana (Bhattumurthi), Dhurjati, Tenali Ramakrishna, and Pingali Surana. Some of the greatest literary works during the golden period of Telugu Literature are- Ramabhadra’s Ramabhyudayam and Sakalakathasara Sangraham, court poet, Bukka I’s Uttaraharivamsamu, Djurjati’s Kalahasteeswara Mahatmyan and Kalahasteeswara Satakam, Bhattumurti’s Vasucharitram, Emperor-Poet Krishnadevaraya’s Amuktamalayada, Narasabhupaliyam and Harischandra Nalopakhyanam, Mallana’s Rajasekharacharita, Timmanna’s Parijathapaharanamu, Tenali Ramakrishna’s Panduranga-mahatmyamu, and Surana’s Kalapurnodayam, Prabhavati-Pradyumnamu, and Raghavapandaviyam, Chintalapudi Ellanarya’s legendary poems Radha-Madhavamu and Tarakabrahmarajiyamu, and finally Narasimha Kavi’s Kavikarna Rasayana.
Modern Developments in Telugu Literature
It was the 1870s, when novels became a popular literary form in Telugu Literature. The credit of composing the first novel in Telugu is given to Narahari Gopala Krishnamma Chetti. The legendary author’s first novel was titled Rangarajacharita. This led to the birth of numerous famous novelists in Telugu Literature and their seminal works- Buchchi Babu (Chivaraku Migiledi), Viswanatha Satyanarayana (Veyi Padagalu), Dharanipragada Venkata Siva Rao (Bhuvanimohini), Tirupaneni Gopichand (Asamarthuni Jiyayatra), Unnava Lakshminarayana (Malapalli), Kutumba Rao and Vella Subba Rao (Ranisamyukta).
The literary genre of Drama also found its way into Telugu Literature. The legendary drama, Harishchandra by Virasalingam changed the face of Telugu Literature. Some of the other notable dramas composed in Telugu are- G.V.Subba Rao’s Khilji-rajyapatanam, K.Subba Rao’s Roshanara, Venkataraya Sastri’s Prataparudriyam, and Korada Ramachandra Kavi’s Manjari Madhukariyam.
Q1. What was the first autobiography composed in Telugu?
Viresalingam’s Sviya Charitra was the first attempt at composing an autobiography in the Telugu language.
Q2. What are the two important plays written in Telugu language dealing with social issues?
P.Lakshmi Narasimha Rao’s Kanthabharanam
P.Venkata Rajamannar’s Tappevaridi
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