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Introduction to Telugu Literature

Telugu SystemWithoutTelugu

Telugu is one of the major south Indian languages. Large number of original telugu words [non-sanskrit words] have great similarity with Tamil words. Some examples are - mAma[telugu] - mAmA[tamil] for "uncle", atta[Telugu] - attai[Tamil] for "aunt", kAlu[Telugu] - kAl[Tamil] for "leg", padi[Telugu] - pattu[Tamil] for "ten".

Telugu script bears striking similarity with Kannada script - though there are basic differences. So a person who knows Kannada script or Telugu script can with some effort understand the other script.

Organised, well developed telugu literature is at least one thousand year old. Poetry has developed in great quantity and quality. Probably Telugu is only language which has major works with dual meaning. "Raghava Pandaviyam" can be read/understood as Ramayana or as Mahabharata. The words are so wonderfully placed that the reader can interpret it for Rama/ramayana or Pandavas/Kauravas/Mahabharata. Another example is "Harischandra Nalopakhyanam" [Story of Harischandra and Nala]. Here the reader can draw meaning with reference to Harischandra or Nala.

Prose is well developed. Except for very recent technical/scientific/medical terminology, Telugu can be used effectively. Diction is well developed - though great deal of advance is desirable for use of technical words. Telugu has extensive original vocabulary - called "accu telugu" or "desyamu" and has a well established tradition of using Sanskrit words. So Sanskrit words for technical subjects - wherever found - can be used in Telugu also.

Drama is also well developed. There is also a very simple type of literature "sataka". Satakas are a set of 100 or so poems on a particular theme - usually on moral/religious attributes, or about a particular theme. In most of the cases the diction is very simple and direct. It appears that there are nearly 300 satakas [excluding a larger number that has disappeared due to neglect]. It is for us to preserve and develop this great language. We all have a duty to ensure that it survives and flourishes withstanding onslaught from English/western languages.

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