A taste of irony at Amaravati, the new Andhra capital

A taste of irony at Amaravati, the new Andhra capital
A taste of irony at Amaravati, the new Andhra capital

This blog was written by V V P Sharma, Executive Editor at IBN Live
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]H[/dropcap]abits die hard. Cultures are no different. You can try to kill a habit or divide a culture, but the essence remains, a mocking reminder of the irony of the attempt. Just like the irony which will unfold on October 22 when the foundation stone of the new capital of the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh is laid at Amaravati.

The people of Andhra Pradesh were an unhappy lot when the British left India. They thought of themselves as proud Telugus. That apparently did not go well with being part of the Madras Presidency. The coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions were at the time of Independence part of the Madras State.

By this time there was a heady mix of cultures, both Tamils and Telugus well-versed in each other’s language, customs and community life. You could find Telugu-speaking families domiciled in typically Tamil villages. You could find Tamil-speaking families in the hinterland of coastal Andhra. They shared their music, their food, their philosophy, their customs even.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hings changed after Independence. Regional aspirations strengthened. After a protracted fight, they separated. Andhra Pradesh became a separate state. Later, there would be another Andhra Pradesh, albeit a truncated one.

Now comes the irony part.

The state anthem of Andhra Pradesh is a song called “Maa Telugu Thalliki Mallepoodhanda” – “An offering of a Jasmine garland to my Telugu mother”.

It consists of four verses, the third one referring to Amaravati. It is written in simple yet elegant Telugu, marvelously lyrical, and encapsulates in a few words the history and culture of the region.
It was written in 1942 by a poet, Sankarambadi Sundarachari.

Ironically, he is not a Telugu. Nor is he from Andhra. He is a Tamil Vaishanavite Brahman from Thiruchanur in Tamil Nadu. Yet, he wrote in Telugu.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]H[/dropcap]e was a rationalist. He liked Sanskrit and Telugu, though Tamil was his mother tongue. He left his parents and devoted his life to writings in Telugu, as journalist, author, writer and poet.

When the song – the state anthem of Andhra Pradesh – reverberates through the future capital of Amaravati on October 22, it would simultaneously resonate an inner meaning which can be summarized in the words of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

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