The other day, Sri Ganeswara Rao garu remembered and paid homage to Sri Ronanki Appalaswamy (1909-87), one of the greatest connoisseurs of literature and a torch-bearer of modern Telugu poetry. He did not get due recognition from the later generations as his body of work remained inaccessible. People talked about his translations but till I stumbled upon a rare treasure, I was not sure about his competence as a translator.
Recently I could come across a copy of ‘India Love Poems ‘(Peter Pauper Press, 1967) in a second hand book store. A collection of poems from Indian literatures and mostly from Telugu. It carries 11 translations from Telugu literature also jointly done by Sri Appalaswamy and Tambimuttu. All of them are extra ordinary. The choice of words, the cadence, the rhythm and the felicity are of the highest order. I have not seen such a quality in translating Telugu poetry into English so far.
They translated the poem ‘Purnamma’ by Gurajada also. A friend is compiling a Gurazada reader for a prestigious publishing concern and I suggested this translation to her to include in her collection. When we contacted the Peter Pauper Press for permission, we were surprised to be told that the Press no longer remembers to have brought out such a book (even though the book was first published in 1967 only). We are also equally delighted as the publishers gave permission to reprint the poem as part of the intended collection from the writings of Gurazada.
I would like to share with you the poem ‘The Bride’s Palanaquin ‘. A translation of one of the most celebrated poems of Devulapalli Venkata Krishnasastry. The palanquin acquired a mystic significance in the poetry of the Indian Bhakti poets such as Kabir. It evocates suggestions of farewell as well as union. It denotes the message from the beloved and all hope and consummation associated with the bridal dreams.
Please read the translation and the original. The original stands as one of the greatest poems in the history of Telugu poetry for its beauty, craftsmanship and melodious swaying of the language in sync with the theme it depicts. The extra ordinary acumen of the poet in ending the poem abruptly was well discussed and I need to explain it in detail, but later.