Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Telugu Literature at the hands of King Krishnadeva Raya

Telugu Literature at the 
hands of King Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar.
Everyone knows the great patronage enjoyed under them. The prabandha style which owed
its origin to Somana and Srinatha was perfected by Allasani Peddana the
court-poet of Krishnadevaraya. Besides Peddana, his court contained a galaxy of 
Telugu Poets, known as the Astadiggajas among whom were included such 
great men as Mukku Timmana, Tenali Ramakrishna, Pingali Surana and 
Dhurjati. Each of these endowed Telugu Poetry with a new individuality. 
Until the latter part of the last century, the prabandha style reigned supreme. 
The period of the Nayak Kings of Tanjore, was in splendour and richness of 
output, the immediate corollary of the period of Krishnadevaraya at Vijayanagar. 
The Mahratta Rajas succeeded both to the throne and the tradition of the 
Nayak Kings. They continued their patronage to Telugu Poets, besides some 
of them being themselves poets of a high order. Thus the Tanjore Telugu 
Manuscripts represent a collection, unique in its richness and variety, gathered 
together during the three centuries 1500 A. D. to 1800 A. D. under the royal 
patronage of two dynasties, the Telugu Nayaks and the Mahratta Rajas. 

Kakatiya help to Tanjore Rulers

Kakatiya help to Tanjore Rulers

Many centuries ago, 300 families were sent from the present day Andhra Region to Hyderabad State. Before the end of the Kakatiya Empire, there were incessant attacks on the Empire from the Muslims. The culture and the warfare of the Muslims were new to the Kakatiya rulers. To counter the Islamic invasion at the request of the rulers, a team of 300 top strategists and warriors was sent from Tanjore by the rulers of Kakatiya, who had won a recent victory. These 300 men, known as "Samsthanams," and their families moved to Kakatiya Empire and were absorbed into the society.
After the fall of the Kakatiya Empire, the Samsthanams with them mostly in and around present day Warangal. They became powerful generals in the Army, administrators in several kingdoms, small business owners, small and large landowners, and politicians and had representation in all streams of society. Before 1947 they were in the forefront of the Aryasamaj Movement in independent India.
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In my visit to Tanjore in my return from Pondicherry i have a chance to visit the Famous Library there.SOME 
Royal patrons of art, their court pundits and other scholars domicile 
in the Tanjore country. 
The Nayak Kings of Tanjore (1535 A. D. to 1670. 
A. D.) as well as their successors, the Maratha rulers of Tanjore 1673 A. D 
to 1832 A.D. were all patrons of learning besides some of them being
distinguished scholars themselves. It may be said that this collector 
represents the Southern School of Telugu Literature. The special distinction 
of this school is its originality in the production of song and drama known as 
Yakshagana. The crude Telugu drama the street play was given a literary 
status and brought on to the royal stage in the reign of Raghunatha Nayak 
and his son Vijayaraghava. A perusal of these will at once convince the 
reader that they are more original in composition and more artistic in 
representation than the present-day stage dramas which are more often 
imitations of the Sanskrit or the English Drama. Besides these Yakshagana 
there are also copies of standard Telugu works as the Mahabharata, 
Ramayanamu, Bhagavatamu and other Puranas and Kavyas. Of the Kavya 
literature some are of the Dvipada type and are not available elsewhere.