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Avadhanam needs government support, urge experts

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Hyderabad: Avadhana Prakriya, also popular as Avadhanam, is a literary form unique to Telugu language. But lovers of Avadhanam strongly feel that without the government support, the ancient literary form might vanish from Telugu lands. Participants at the ongoing World Telugu Conference said only a handful of people perform Avadhanam at present and not many from the younger generation are ready to take the baton.

“Unlike poetry, stories and novels, Avadhanam is a difficult literary form, which is akin to multi-tasking. Besides being an accomplished person in various forms of Telugu literature, the Avadhani also requires sound memory to recall each question and answer them as requested by the Prachchaka (poser). Though young Telugu scholars enjoy this ancient form, they hesitate to take it up,” said A Phanindra Sharma, a Telugu teacher from Nizamabad.

Being a rare literary form, Avadhanam has no dearth of admirers. For instance, Telugu lovers turned up in huge numbers at various venues of Avadhanam, Ashtavadhanam and Shathavadhanam organised across the city to enjoy adept display of language skills of Avadhanis, which was filled with a tinge of fun and sarcasm. The auditoriums were packed to their capacity and at places like Ravindra Bharathi mini hall, police had to deny entry to avoid a stampede.

Admitting that Avadhanam was waning, V Varaprasad, a delegate from Karimnagar, said unless the government takes initiative and offers courses in Avadhanam, future generations might not be able to savour it. He pointed out that Avadhanam was one of the finest ways for the younger generation to improve their innate abilities and solve their problems despite multiple distractions.

Another participant and Telugu professor from Nalgonda, Narayana Murthy, suggested that the State government could also organise workshops and seminars to popularise Avadhana Prakriya as part of skill development. “Language should be linked to livelihood to encourage people to lap it up. By organising such events and honouring literary exponents, the Telangana government is doing its might to promote these literary forms,” he added.

Actor and writer Tanikella Bharani, who enjoyed the Avadhanams by Maluga Anjaiah at Ravindra Bharathi, said the World Telugu Conference was a first step towards the revival of past glory for Telugu language, literature and culture. He also lauded Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for reviving a good tradition by prostrating at the feet of his guru in front of the world at LB Stadium on Friday. “Everyone has to do their bit to protect and preserve our language and its different forms,” he added.

Health Minister C Laxma Reddy said the State government was making all efforts to revive past glory of Telugu language and also showcase rich Telangana literature to the world. “We took the first step to revive the past glory of Telugu literature. We are ready to extend complete support to promote Telugu language and its literary forms, especially to bring lost literary works of Telangana region,” he said.

The start: Avadhanam is said to have been started by one Madabhushi Venkatacharyulu in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh in 13th Century, but crept into shadows until the famous Tirupathi Venkata Kavulu and Kopparapu Kavulu championed the cause of the tradition.
Avadhanam has eight components comprising Nishiddhakshari, Samasya Puranam, Datthapadi, Varnana, Asuvu, Vysthakshari, Purana Patanam, and Aprasthuta Prasangam. Depending on types of Avadhanam (Ashtavadhanam, Shatavadhanam or Sahasravadhanam), multiple persons will handle one component to test the Avadhani, one after another.

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