saavitri (1949 - 1991)
Had she lived longer, she would have written more, and certainly more brilliant poetry. saavitri was born into a highly feudalistic family, married off into a more feudalistic and cruel family! During her short but very productive lifetime, she fought and fought against male chauvinism.
She wrote about two dozen poems, a few essays and came to be known as 'radio saavitri' for her talks on the AIR. She died of tuberculosis, and after her death, a few of her friends brought out a volume ('saavitri') of her writings, under the editorship of araNyakRshna, in 1992.
Some critics recognize (rightly so!) that her poem 'baMdipOTlu,' written in 1984 became an early and positive catalyst for the current upsurge of feminist poetry. baMdipOTlu was translated into english by C. Rama Rao and Arlene Zide as 'Dacoits' and was published in "In their Own Voice," the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary Indian Women Poets (1993), edited by Arlene K. Zide.
Prof. Chekoori Rama Rao publicized this poem, read it at several university meets, reviewed it, and wrote an appreciation of it! He even included it as a must-read for B. A. Telugu candidates!! (details collected from postings of Sri Veluri Venkateswara Rao on telusA)
paaThaM oppaceppaka pOtE peLLi cEstaanani
paMtulu gaarannappuDE bhayamEsiMdi
aafeesulO naa moguDunnaaDu!
avasara moccinaa selavivvaDani
annayya annappuDE anumaanaMEsiMdi
vaaDikEM maga mahaaraajani
aaDaa mogaa vaaginappuDE arthamai pOyiMdi
peLLaMTE pedda Siksha ani
moguDaMTE swEccaa bhakshakuDani
mEM paalicci peMcina janaMlO sagamE
mammalni viBajiMci paalistOMdani!
(AMdhra jyOti vaara patrika #March 23, 1984#)
When the teacher said:
I'll get you married off
if you don't recite the lesson
I was afraid.
When my brother said:
My 'husband' is my boss
who never grants me leave
even when I need it most
I grew suspicious.
When the neighbours said:
But, he's a man, a 'maharaja'
so what could he be missing?
That marriage is a huge punishment,
that a husband gobbles up your freedom,
and that half the population
that we nourished at the breast