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GunturuSeshendraSarma: an extraordinary poet-scholar One of the ironies in literature is that he came to be known more as a critic than a poet HYDERABAD: An era of scholastic excellence and poetic grandeur has come to an end in the passing away of GunturuSeshendraSarma, one of the foremost poets and critics in Telugu literature. His mastery over western literature and Indian `AlankaraSastra' gave his works a stunning imagery, unparalleled in modern Indian works. One of the ironies in literature is that he came to be known more as a critic than a poet. The Central SahityaAkademi award was conferred on him for his work `KaalaRekha' and not for his poetic excellence. The genius in him made him explore `Kundalini Yoga' in his treatise on Ramayana in `Shodasi' convincingly. His intellectual quest further made him probe `NaishadhaKaavya' in the backdrop of `LalitaSahasraNaamavali', `SoundaryaLahari' and `Kama Kala Vilasam' in `SwarnaHamsa', Seshendra saw the entire universe as a storehouse of images and signs to which imagination was to make value-addition. Like Stephene Mallarme who was considered a prophet of symbolism in French literature, SeshendraSarma too believed that art alone would survive in the universe along with poetry. He believed that the main vocation of human beings was to be artists and poets. His `Kavisena Manifesto' gave a new direction to modern criticism making it a landmark work in poetics. Telugus would rue the intellectual impoverishment they suffered in maintaining a `distance' from him. Seshendra could have given us more, but we did not deserve it! The denial of the Jnanpeeth Award to him proves it The Hindu India's National Newspaper Friday, Jun 01, 2007
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  1. Seshendra Sharma

    Visionary Poet of the Millennium
    An Indian poet Prophet
    Seshendra Sharma
    October 20th, 1927 – May 30th, 2007
    Seshendra Sharma is one of the most outstanding minds of modern Asia. He is the foremost of the Telugu poets today who has turned poetry to the gigantic strides of human history and embellished literature with the thrills and triumphs of the 20th century. A revolutionary poet who spurned the pedestrian and pedantic poetry equally, a brilliant critic and a scholar of Sanskrit, this versatile poet has breathed a new vision of modernity to his vernacular.Such minds place Telugu on the world map of intellectualism. Readers conversant with names like Paul Valery, Gauguin, and Dag Hammarskjold will have to add the name of Seshendra Sharma the writer from India to that dynasty of intellectuals.

    Rivers and poets
    Are veins and arteries
    Of a country.
    Rivers flow like poems
    For animals, for birds
    And for human beings-
    The dreams that rivers dream
    Bear fruit in the fields
    The dreams that poets dream
    Bear fruit in the people-
    * * * * * *
    The sunshine of my thought fell on the word
    And its long shadow fell upon the century
    Sun was playing with the early morning flowers
    Time was frightened at the sight of the martyr-
    – Seshendra Sharma
    B.A: Andhra Christian College: Guntur: A.P: India
    B.L : Madras University: Madras
    Deputy Municipal Commissioner (37 Years)
    Dept of Municipal Administration, Government of Andhra Pradesh
    Parents: G.Subrahmanyam (Father) ,Ammayamma (Mother)
    Siblings: Anasuya,Devasena (Sisters),Rajasekharam(Younger brother)
    Wife: Mrs.Janaki Sharma
    Children: Vasundhara , Revathi (Daughters),
    Vanamaali ,Saatyaki (Sons)

    Seshendra Sharma better known as Seshendra is
    a colossus of Modern Indian poetry.
    His literature is a unique blend of the best of poetry and poetics.
    Diversity and depth of his literary interests and his works
    are perhaps hitherto unknown in Indian literature.
    From poetry to poetics, from Mantra Sastra to Marxist Politics his writings bear an unnerving pprint of his rare genius.
    His scholar ship and command over Sanskrit , English and Telugu Languages has facilitated his emergence as a towering personality of comparative literature in the 20th century world literature.
    T.S.Eliot ,ArchbaldMacleish and Seshendra Sharma are trinity of world poetry and Poetics.
    His sense of dedication to the genre of art he chooses to express himself and
    the determination to reach the depths of subject he undertakes to explore
    place him in the galaxy of world poets / world intellectuals.

  2. Seshendra Sharma

    I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
    Rising from the hills of human sinews,
    Hearts are my friends
    I live in the city of sufferings
    Although in my fist, I hold an ocean of history
    I sculptured man silently –
    Wings that carried birds
    Did not bring them back;
    I am drinking thick darkness
    In the haunts of those forests
    Which cry out in agony for the birds
    That did not return;
    Clutching at the garment woven of memories
    I twine myself to the feet of my country.
    Heads that were hanging to the trees
    Smile as flowers today in the branches
    Hearts that received the bullets
    Ring in temples of our land like bells;
    Blood of theirs nights squeezed and offered
    By how many to bring forth this day;
    They are hanging like icicles
    On the ridges of our roofs;
    Look, it is an iron fist I have;
    I shall excavate the flame of light
    From the rocks of time –
    I will set fire to the sleep of resisting centuries –
    To the rivers that run in passion after the sea
    I cry halt, command them
    To paint the colourless arid lands in green,
    Invite back the smile which fled away
    In terror from this land,
    To the butterfly trudging hungrily for a flower
    I shall give a garden –
    Come children, eat
    Bits of nights dipping them in moonlight,
    I shall not allow the sun to cheat this sacred day;
    If he wakes not on the horizon of this land
    I shall tear my burning heart
    And put it in its place
    With the scarlet of my living flesh
    Illuminate the earth
    I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
    Rising from the hills of human sinews –
    – Seshendra Sharma

  3. Seshendra Sharma

    Gorilla -4
    (journey Of The Conscience)
    The vicissitudes of conscience’s journey on this planet-earth is the only true history of countries; conscience inhales the truth as oxygen- that truth which is a great ocean.

    The ocean does not sit at anybody’s feet and bark, the voice of a storm does not know to say yes sir, The Mountain does not kneel down before any body.

    I, maybe after all a fistful of earth, but when I lift my pen I have the arrogance of the flag of a nation. I dip my travails in tears and munch them like biscuits.

    And unveil the great truth

    that a man, who is stronger than life, alone,

    can sculpture from word to century.

    Cut off my hands, still they will return and join me. In my storms the entire sky is blown away like a scrap of paper. So, now, of what value are those crowds of stars on my path? I only know this much, that human life is an exhibition of beastly forces.

    Today my memories are visiting me, filling my journey with breathless winds. I am one who runs in search of storms, wounds and drunkards.

    But at the sight of the peaks of people, I melt into a poem and flow onto the paper. An earthquake is born in my language. In the fiery blood flowing in floods from broken hearts of words, human tongues are floating. Sweep off all this rubbish of verbiage of words. Then will appear on the page clearly, my pearl white voice.

    – Seshendra Sharma
    Photo : Seshendra with wife and Children : 1962

  4. Seshendra Sharma

    Do not alight on my heart like flies
    From the rubbish
    Does not bite as rats bite bread,
    Rise like swords
    From flames of sufferings:
    Write on the walls of the universal space
    The date when the flies chased away the falcons;
    Harken to the burning words
    In the hearts of the grain
    Lying in fields that call you:
    He who bears the plough
    on his shoulders and earns his hunger
    also earns the right
    to appease his hunger
    if the sorrow of the crops
    that rose this year is not appeased
    in the coming year
    only fists bearing sickles
    will grow in the fields.
    I have become your road
    Which dreams for your marching footsteps,
    All of us must walk through the storm;
    A small star cannot make a day –
    We want a burning sun.
    I shall become your flag and fly in the skies
    Come let’s go
    But do not alight on my heart
    Like flies from the rubbish –
    – Seshendra Sharma
    Photo : Seshendra with parents , siblings and wife
    Janaki : 1949

  5. Seshendra Sharma

    Woke up yawning
    Rubbing my eyes,
    Hunger is burning the world around
    I saw the sun on the horizon
    Like an apple on the cupboard
    I climbed over my self
    To grab it and eat it
    Sunshine is hanging from the ceiling of the skies
    Like strips of red flesh
    I am a cruel carnivorous being –
    Right in front of me
    Is he like a ripe shinning tomato
    The cannibal who eats me every day
    And belches drinking a glass of my sweat
    I shall rebuke him with sentences of sharks and wales;
    I shall eat him and drink the ocean in one gulp
    This red morning –
    Seshendra Sharma
    Photo : Seshendra Sharma’s Greek Portrait : 1987


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