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Gurram Jashuva
"navayuga kavi cakravarti" gurraM jaashuvaa

	"navayuga kavi cakravarti" gurraM jaashuvaa (G. Joshua) was one of the great 
telugu poets of this century. With a profound sense of social consciousness, he wrote 
many "khaMDa kaavyaalu" filled with moving poetry. Though his chosen style of poetry 
is one of the strict metre, the content of his poetry reflects modern progressive 
thought.

	Jashuva was born in 1895 in Katragaddapadu to Virayya and Lingamma. Because of 
the intercaste alliance of his parents, their poverty and their caste, Jashuva's child-
hood was spent in alienation from close relatives, undergoing severe hardships and being
subjected to inhuman treatment from the society which considered his caste untouchable. 
Inspite of these enormous hurdles Jashuva's parents raised him and his brother, Israel, 
as good Christians. Jashuva persevered against these hardships and graduated with Ubhaya
Bhasha Praveena (scholar of Telugu and Sanskrit languages).

	Inspite of being raised a Christian, Jashuva often drew his inspiration from 
Hinduism and Hindu mythological epics. This angered his Christian society, which was 
quick to proscribe Jashuva's family from their community. This did not deter Jashuva who 
continued to write excellent poetry in telugu. He was a school teacher initially, but 
lost his first job. During this period of unemployment, he continued to put out wonderful
poetry. 

	It pained his sensitive heart however that, scholars of "high caste" would 
appreciatehis poetry and sing praises of it, then come to know of his caste and leave in
disgust. 

	But the brilliance of his poetry, shone through the feeble attempts of society to 
cover it. He was recognized by literature and poetry lovers. He was employed again. 
Publishers came forward to publish his works. He received great acclaim and many accolades
from far and near. His shining glory (he says) was when the eminent poet and scholar 
Chellapilla Venkata Sastry (half of the "tirupati vEMkaTa kavulu" duo), a Brahmin, touched
his ("an untouchable's") feet to adorn his ankle with the "Ganda Penderam" and proclaimed:
"I am honoured to have touched the feet of this great poet".

	Jashuva's many works include "Gabbilam", arguably his most famous work, fashioned 
after Kalidasa's Megha Sandesam. In "Gabbilam", however, it is not a yaksha using the 
cloud as a messenger to convey his longing to his loved one; instead it is a hunger and 
poverty stricken "daridra naaraayaNuDu" requesting a "bat" visiting him from a nearby 
Siva temple, on a sleepless night, to convey his prayers to "kaaSee viSvanaatha" and 
"viSaalaakshi annapoorNa". As Arudra comments, "the yaksha suffered for only one year, 
but the protagonist of gabbilaM is carrying on the curse from his previous lives - the 
curse of untouchability". And Jashuva's hero in gabbilam remains a bachelor so as not 
to pass on this curse to his offspring! He muses at the irony of his situation, where a 
bat is allowed inside a temple but not a human being! He cautions the bat to convey his 
message to Siva as it hangs from the roof close to his ear, at a time when the "poojaari"
is not around, because often "dEvuDu varamiccinaa -- poojaari varamiyyaDu". Thus in 
several entreaties, he begs the "sage bird" to fly over the various landmarks of India 
to Kashi to convey his anguish to the Lord Siva. 

	This remarkable work, supposedly the favorite of even Jashuva, overflows with pathos
(which appears to be the predominant emotion in many of Jashuva's works). Even in such a 
work, Jashuva weaves in his other favorite emotion, "patriotism" as he describes the various 
historic places the bird will fly over enroute to Lord Siva in Kashi. He even takes the bird 
on detours, on occasion, to visit some historic place of pride for Indians.

	Pathos, again, is the driving emotion in another major work of Jashuva, "piradousi".
This story is about the poet Firdousi, in the court of the persian king Mohammed Ghazni.
The king, the legend goes, promises the poet, a gold mohur for every word in a work he 
commissions the poet to write. After the poet spends ten years of his life, toiling day 
and night to create a master piece, the king, coming under the influence of jealous 
courtiers, reneges on his promise and offers only silver coins. The poet heartbroken at 
this breach of trust commits suicide. Jashuva's depiction of the anguish of the poet is 
superb and moves the readers to tears.

	Consider his outpourings of anguish on hearing of the assasination of Mahatma Gandhi,
in his work "baapoojee". His enormous love and respect for Gandhiji, almost bordering on 
devotion, is poignantly expressed in these 15 odd poems eulogising Bapuji's life and work
and lamenting his death as this country's misfortune.

	To all lovers of telugu poetry, particularly the metrical variety, Jashuva will 
always remain a "kavi cakravarti" !!
(Adapted from posts by Sri Paranandi Lakshmi Narasimham (Palana) on Telusa)