Re: Weekend Thoughts! - Death of a monther Tongue

Bapa Rao (brao@platinum.com)
Mon, 20 May 1996 19:22:37 -0700 (PDT)

Sitaramayya garu put his finger on it quite nicely when he noted
(I paraphrase) that there is probably a lot of the exile's angst
behind my views on Telugu. I did, however, strike an optimistic note
about the future--I believe that this "derivative" quality (real
or imagined by me) is actually a unique strength of Telugu and
it will eventually survive and flourish, given the right spark
of genius and the needed economic incentives. And please don;t
take my "derivative" characterization seriously at all--it is
only based on a superficial impression.

Yes, of course there are wonderful original works in Telugu;
particularly when talking of works that are evocative of a
special feeling of "Telugu land", the works of Madhuraantakam
Rajaram spring to mind. His Rayalaseema is every bit as vibrant
and alive as Narayan's Malgudi for instance. What I wonder is,
can Telugu lit. survive without attracting notice from outside
the Telugu community? I look at the print run numbers on the
few paperback books I have, and they seem ridiculously small,
a few thousand at best. Maybe someone can help me out in getting
an idea of whether general appreciation for quality Telugu lit.
is increasing or declining, whether competence in Telugu on the part
of average SSC-pass students is getting better or worse. What
are people's impressions? What I hear from back home is that
there seems to be little interest or incentive for people to
take up Telugu, since the money is all in Hindi or English.

Bapa Rao