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Karunashree - Gandhiji
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daaSarathi
Kavita O Kavita
Karunashree - Gandhiji

Karunashree - Gandhiji

About the poet:
Sri Jandhyala Papayya Sastri, popularly known as Karunasree, wrote some wonderful poetry using prosody in the modern times. I am not sure if he is still living, but I saw him at a literary meeting in my hometown in '85. He was in his seventies at that time. A very good looking man even at that age, with a strong yet sweet voice. He wrote many poems (short epics) which were published under three volumes, namely, Karunasri, Udayasri and Vijayasri.
He also wrote poems in praise of the country and the freedom stuggle during that time. He is most celebrated by Telugu people for the two poems "pushpa vilApamu" (The lament of flowers) and "Kunti Kumari", both movingly recorded by that immortal Telugu singer Ghantasala. The themes constantly appearing in Karunasri's poetry are non-violence and compassion to all things.

mahAtmuDu
-- karuNaSrI (Sri Jandhyala Papayya Sastri)

naluvadikOTla tammula jeevitammula
kAyana mATa vEdAksharaMbu
bheerulanE karmaveerula gAviMcu
Ayana pilupu SaMkhAravaMbu
satyaMbu SAMtyahiMsalaku svAgatamicce
Ayana bratuku mahA prayAga
kollAyitO piccipullAyi vale nuMDu
Ayana deeksha lOkaika raksha


ataDoka pavitra dharmadEvAlayaMbu
ataDoka vicitra viSvavidyAlayaMbu
A mahASakti aMta iMtaMcu tUca
jAla, mataDoka pedda himAlayaMbu.

A rendition in English
The Mahatma

To the lives of forty crore younger brothers*, his word is the Veda
Transforming even the timid into dutiful warriors, his call is the sound of the conch shell**
Welcoming Truth, Peace and Non-violence, his life is the holy ground
Wearing a loin cloth, looking like a simpleton^, his resolve is the only protection to the
world

He is a holy temple of dharma
He is a wonderful university
That magnificient power we can not measure
He is the giant Himalaya itself^^.

Notes:
* The population of the country at that time, perhaps around 1940s.
** Puranas tell us that conch shells were sounded by the generals as a war cry to rally the
troops
^ The Telugu expression (picci pullAyi) is commonly used to refer to a naive, unsophisticated
person.
^^ Himalaya is commonly used as a metaphor for majesty and solidity.


Notes on prosody:
The metric structure of this poem is called "seesamu". This is in two parts, the first of four full lines and the second of four half lines. The second part is called "geetamu" in general. This form is used typically in descriptions (varNana), describing a person, a place or a scene. As Telugu metrical forms go, this is one of the least restrictive, so gives the poet a free reign in innovative usages.