HYDERABAD: Who doesn’t know the contribution of Srirangam Srinivasa Rao, famous as Sri Sri, to Telugu literature? The ease with which he penned poetry and prose alike has both awed and inspired generations of students. Commemorating his birth centenary, the Sahitya Academy (Bengaluru) and the Telugu Academy (Hyderabad) came together to hold a seminar in the city on Thursday to discuss his works in every genre.
“The poet’s centenary was in 2010, but we weren’t able to organise this because of various political disturbances. So we’re finally doing it now,” said Ghanta Chakrapani, member of the Telugu advisory board, Sahitya Academy. Sri Sri’s wife Saroja Sri Sri, eminent poet Nagnamuni, Director of the Telugu Academy K Yadagiri, writer U A Narasimha Murthy and ‘Sikhamani’ Sanjeeva Rao among others participated in the seminar.
Sri Sri was a multi-faceted genius and many understand him in their own way. “The man was a genius. So forthcoming and strong in his convictions was he that he very clearly stated, ‘This is my century. My lifetime will be the Sri Sri century. That takes a lot of courage and confidence in oneself and he was that man,” commented Nagnamuni as he opened the session.
Guest of honour, Saroja Sri Sri, who came all the way from Chennai, went down the memory lane to share some of her cherished memories with the gathering. “He was arrested in 1975 for being a part of the opposition towards the State government’s decision to have the first World Telugu Conference. During that time he used to say, ‘If I get arrested, my daily meal is taken care of, and if I am sentenced to death, my life is taken care of,” she recalled. The seminar also had three panel discussions under the guidance of U A Narasimha Murthy, Vizia Bharati and Singamaneni Narayana. The panels discussed Sri Sri’s Mahaprasthanam, his technique and style, the choice of his content, his literary experiments and other poetry and prose works.
At the end of the seminar, the academy called called for the setting up of a memorial — a library or an auditorium or a building — in Sri Sri’s name without reliance on the government. “If people in literary circles, fans of Sri Sri and other appreciative audience contribute towards this, I do not think we need to depend on the government for help,” Chakrapni felt.