Made famous by the Nizams, Qutub Shahis, Vijaynagara and Kakatiya dynasty, Andhra Pradesh is a destination symbolizing the rich essence of incredible India. Famous as the cradle of stone architecture, the chronicles of this state are dotted in the form of illustrious structures, monuments, minarets, stupas and other tomb ruins. This most visited state of India is known for many tourist attractions, predominantly Tirupati, the most visited place of worship in the world. The state also presents its 3rd century-old Buddhist essence ties that can be experienced during the visit to the ruined stupas and cave complexes at Amaravathi, Nagarjunakonda, Chandavaram, and Thotlakonda to name a few.
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Read through the state that gave the world its largest gem, the legendary Kohinoor and Hope diamond, with this list.
Title: Short Stories from Andhra Pradesh
Translator: Malathi Nidadavolu
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Blurb: These short stories translated from the Telugu language tell of experiences of ordinary middle-class people caught in the crevice between traditional and modern ways of life. Against a backdrop of feverish modernization and fast-paced globalization, these stories depict the crumbling social structure (rural and urban) and redefine the family and social values of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the middle class, farmers, street-walkers and the lower strata of society. The thematic threads in these stories include changing values in the face of strenuous economic conditions, traditional courting and marriage mores, relationships within families under the pressure of increasing westernization, the woman’s role as mother, wife and worker, the man’s traditional role as provider and the fear of death. The stories invite readers unfamiliar with the culture of Andhra Pradesh to appreciate its centuries-old traditions in the face of change.
Price: Rs. 295 || Pages: 492
Title: Verses of Vemana
Author: Charles Philip Brown
Publisher: Gyan Publishing House
Blurb: Vemana was a Telugu poet. He composed numerous poems in Telugu in the Aata Veladhi metre which consists of four lines; the fourth line, with some exceptions, is the refrain or chorus Viswadabhirama Vinura Vema. Vemana’s style is simple, his poems deal with social problems and sometimes propose solutions too. With the zeal of a social reformer, many of his poems criticise and strive to give a fresh perspective to ardent followers of old, embedded traditions.
Price: Rs. 522 || Pages: 290
Blurb: The story of Siddhartha, the future Gautama Buddha, leaving the palace to start his spiritual journey and attain enlightenment has been told innumerable times over the centuries. And yet, have we never wondered why his young wife, Yashodhara, still recovering from the birth of their son nine days ago, sleeps soundly as her husband, the over-protected prince departs, leaving behind his family and wealth and kingdom? In Yashodhara, the gaps of history are imagined with fullness and fierceness: Who was the young girl and what shaped her worldview? When she married Siddhartha at the age of sixteen, did she know her conjugal life would soon change drastically? The Yashodhara we meet in Volga’s feminist novel is quick-witted, and compassionate and wants to pave a way for women to partake in spiritual learning as equals to men.
Price: Rs. 254 || Pages: 184
Title: The Sharp Knife Memory
Author: Kondapalli Koteswaramma
Translator: V.B. Sowmya
Publisher: Zubaan Books
Blurb: Koteswaramma’s life spans a tumultuous century of the Independence movement, the Communist insurrection and the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh. A dedicated worker for the Communist Party, she went underground in the difficult years of her late forties, living a secret life, running from safe house to safe house. Throughout, it was the support and companionship of her husband, Seetharamaiah, that gave her strength. And then, everything changed when he deserted her.
Refusing to be cowed down, Koteswaramma rebuilt her life step by painful step. She educated herself, took up a job, raised her grandchildren, wrote poetry and prose and established herself as a thinking person in her own right. This moving memoir is a testimony of her courage and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds, as well as her understanding of the frailties of human beings and political institutions. That women in India often face incredible suffering is known. That they can fight back and emerge winners is exemplified in Koteswaramma’s life.
Price: Rs. 260 || Pages: 160
Author: Mahidhara Ramamohanarao
Publisher: Oxford University Press India
Blurb: It is 1921 and the ripples of the Freedom Movement have reached the quiet village of Munganda. The stage is set for the dramatis personae: an idealistic young Brahmin, Ramanatham, an admirer of Gandhi; an intelligent young woman, Swarajyam, who instinctively yearns for liberation from stifling social mores and discrimination; and a village with a full cast of characters who strive to cling to the past while being inevitably drawn into a very different future. Munganda village is a microcosm of a newly resurgent India which is resonating with Gandhi’s clarion call for political and social liberation. As the novel unfolds, we see Ramanatham battling his own inner doubts while trying to spread Gandhi‘s message of change.
We see Swarajyam, a dutiful daughter and abandoned wife, who dares to be different. This is a novel set almost one hundred years ago; yet it remains relevant for its insights into human hopes and fears and its portrayal of the continual tussle between tradition and modernity, both in thought and choices.
Price: Rs. 342 || Pages: 344
Title: Dreams Shattered
Author: Ampashayya Naveen
|Translator: Indrasena Reddy Kancharla
Publisher: Navodaya Book House
Blurb: Dreams Shattered depicts the life of protagonist Raju (who seems to be the author himself) right from the days of his childhood to a grown-up young individual. The book is an effort to codify the contemporary rural social customs, culture, art, literature, language, economic, and political environment that prevailed during that period.
Dreams Shattered is written against the feudal backdrop of the Telangana region of South India during the 1950s–1970s. The region, being part of the Princely State of Hyderabad under Asaf Jahi Dynasty, witnessed oppressive domination under the local landed gentry and Zamindars. The contradictions between caste-ridden societal values coupled with the economic inequalities and aspirations/goals envisioned in the Constitution, on the one hand, and the inability of the government to realise the dreams of people, have impelled the writer to pen the novel which reflects his strong desire to eradicate poverty, inequalities, superstitions and other problems to build a just and humane society.
Price: Rs. 695 || Pages: –
Title: Moogavani Pillanagrovi
Author: Kesava Reddy
Publisher: Oxford University Press India
Moogavani Pillanagrovi (1993) is woven around the near-suicidal death of a farmer who loses his land. While the period of the plot is around the 1950s, the story revolves around the farmer’s ties with his land and his inability to visualize a life without it-an issue relevant even today. The farmer’s death could have been forgotten by the village, except for several puzzling incidents that crop up. Myth and reality intertwine to create folklore around the land and the farmer.
This Telugu novella was first published in 1993, during a period when Andhra Pradesh’s farmers had begun committing suicide in droves. Kesava Reddy writes with a strong inflexion of his native Rayalaseema dialect, a bold step at that time.
Price: Rs. 342 || Pages: 344
This list of books is curated by Amritesh Mukherjee for Purple Pencil Project’s Instagram.