Gunturu Seshendra Sharma
(20th October , 1927-30th May 2007)
Seshendra is a colossus of modern Indian literature. He is visionary poet of the millennium, an Indina poet prophet. His literature is a unique blend of the best of poetry and poetics.
Central Sahitya Academy Fellowship
Sri Gunturu Seshendra Sharma on whom the Sahitya Akademi is conferring its highest honour of Fellowship, is an eminent poet- a Maha kavi- a critic of fine sensibility and a scholar of great standing in literature. He also writes short stories and plays and translates from Telugu to English. He has been writing poetry in English as well.
Sri G. Seshendra Sharma was born on 20 October, 1927, In Nagarajupadu in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. After graduating for the Andhra Christian College, he did law in Madras; his greatest ambition was to become a journalist. He believes that the poet and journalist are twin brothers because their source of material is the same. I.e. people and human life. He has been writing weekly columns in Andhra Prabha Daily for more than a decade, in the 60s and 1970s and hundreds of essays and features in many other periodicals.
Sri Seshendra Sharma began his writing career in 1951 with the translation of Sohrab and Rustam with help of Mathew Arnold’s version of the Persian epic Shahnama. From then on, he concentrated on poetry. The whole credit of having invested Telugu Poetry with life-breath of modernity in the late 70s and early 80s goes entirely to him. To this day, he is considered a unique poetic voice. Seshendra melted anew the materials of poetry, language, imagery, symbolism and fashioned for himself a forceful poetic instrument which bears the stamp of his personality.
Sri Seshendra Sharma’s first collection of prose-poems Seshjyotsna written between 1968-1972 , was published in 1972 in bilingual editions (Telugu and English). This book marks the beginning of the new trend in Telugu poetr5y pioneered by Seshendra. “His emergence is to be hailed as a significant landmark in the history mo modern Telugu poetry.” Observes C.N.Sastry.
The publication of his Munday Suryudu (the Burning Sun) and Rakta Rekha (Arc of Blood) In 1974 proved to be a turning point in Telugu poetry and criticism. Rakta Rekha has now become a classic in Telugu literature revealing his clarity of thought, varied and profound erudition and intellectual acumen. In Munday Suryudu , the poetic language necessary to deal with a revolutionary theme found expression for the first time , and is followed by many even today.
In 1975, his magnum opus Naa desham Naa prajalu (My Country My people) brought Seshendra into prominence as one of the outstanding poets of our country. Eminent writers like Ali Sardar Jafri hailed it as a landmark in recent history of Indian literature. Some have even compared it to Eliot’s Wasteland. Steeped in the spirit of Indianness and Indian Literature, this master work moves with the grandeur of lyric beauty through the epic landscape of India. In the preface to its Greek translation, the renowned Greek poet Nikheprhoros Vretakkos observes, “Personally I would compare the pain and anguish of the poet with one of Loutremont (the founder of (Surrealism) in his lyric “ Malrd Aurore” The difference is that Seshendra’s protest is not made in the void. He walks firmly on his soil. At times we observe in this poem, a biblical and prophetic tone which attracts us.”
The collection of poems Neerai Paari poyindi (Turned into Water and Fled away) brought out in 1976 in bilingual editions, was quite different structurally, and his concept of ‘genetic memory’ found expression in it. In 1977 Gorilla came out.
Narudu- Nakshtralu (Man and Stars) which deals with a variety of subjects like science, politics, economics, history and sociology bear testimony to Sri Sharma’s versatility and brilliance of thought.
His deep scholarship of Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas , Itihasas and Kavyas has placed him in a unique position among the scholars of the country. Shodasi, his Tantric Commentary on the Ramayana and Swarna Hansa , his study of Harsha’s Naishadhiya Charita , are monumental works of literary criticsm.
Adhunika Kavya Sastra, the manifesto of ‘Kavisena” which he founded along with five others is a work on poetics, presenting a synthesis and a comparative study of ancient poetics, ancient Greco-Roman poetics,modern western literary criticism and Marxian aesthetics.
His Sahitya Koumudi (1968) is a brilliant work, re-evaluating the classical poets of Telugu Literature of the medieval period. Kaala Rekha, Sri Sharma’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning book, is a collection of 25 essays on various subjects like ancient drama, comparative literature, classical poetry and modern writing. This work reflects his rare critical insight, fruitful application of comparative poetics and refreshing originality.
Sri Sharma has attended International Seminars held in Greece, Germany, France, Italy, England, Mauritius, Madagascar, etc. presenting his ori9ginal thoughts on a variety of subjects.
The many honours and awards Sri Sharma has received include Subramanya Bharati Rashtriya Sahitya Puraskar from the Hindi Akademi, Calcutta, in 1993, Sahitya Akademi Award, The Rashtriya Sankriti Ekta Puraskar and the honorary D.Litt conferred by the Telugu University in 1994.
For his eminence as a poet and scholar the Sahitya Akademi confers its highest honor, the Fellowship, on Sri Gunturu Seshendra Sharma.