Sreenaadhudu (1385-1475 AD) was a born poet. He began a new era that broke away from the translation era in Telugu literature. Sreenaadhudu had authored several independent works in Telugu. Most of his works are very sensual. He worshipped sex and enjoyed life with wine and women. Maruttaratcharitra, Salivaahanasaptasati, Panditaaraadhyacharitra, Sringaaranaishadhamu, Haravilaasamu, Bheemakhanda Kaashikhandamulu, Kreedaabhiraamamu, Sivaraatrimahaatmyamu and Palnaativeeracharitramu are his works. Among these, Maruttaratcharitra, Salivaahanasaptasati, and Panditaaraadhyacharitra are not available. Sringaaranaishadhamu was a translation of Sanskrit Naishadha kaavya written by Sreeharsha. In this work Sreenaadha described the sensual story of marriage of King Nala and Damayanti.
In Kreedabhiraamamu drama (the authorship of this work is disputed), he described the contemporary society as observed by two Aryan friends, one belonging to the Brahmin tribe and the other belonging to a Komati tribe, during their one-day visit to the Ekasilanagaram (Warangal city) the capital city of Kakatiya kingdom. Their visit includes various parts of the city including the red-light area (township of prostitutes). This drama gives a clear picture of the Telugu society and the culture in 14th century. In this drama, Sreenaadhudu described the vocations, tribes (castes), classes, games, Telugu cuisine and restaurants, and the culture of Telugu people during the reign of Kakatiya dynasty. Similar to modern cities like New York or Mumbai, in which ghettos and slums are common, the capital city of Kakatiya kingdom also had rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods with ghettos. Prostitution was a respected vocation with rules and regulations of the art. Brothel courts resolved the disputes among the prostitutes. Gambling, cockfights, ram fights etc., were popular entertainment in theTelugu nation. Heroic stories of Telugu heroes like warriors of Palnadu, stories of Ekaveera goddess, Parasurama, etc were very popular ballads and songs. Popular religions were Ekaveera worship, Mailaradeva worship, Bhairava worship, Chamadeswari worship, Moosanamma worship, Kumaaraswaami worship, Pandava worship, Macherla Chenna worship and so on. Telugus were interested in painting and other arts. Women used to wear red cheeralu (saries) with borders. He also described the Telugu superstitions. For example, Telugus believed that the cry of an owl in the east was auspicious; Early morning was considered auspicious time to start any new venture.
In Palnaativeeracharitra (the history of warriors of Palnaadu) is the first ballad in Telugu literature. The authorship of this work is also disputed. This is a historical ballad based on the events that happened during 1181-1182 AD. During that time Vaishnavism and Shaivism were dominant rival religions. However, both religions attempted to attract various tribes (castes) and fought against tribalism. This story is popularly known as Palanti Bhaaratam. This ballad has lot of similarities to the North Indian (Aryan) story Mahabharat and is respected by Telugus as much as Mahabharat is respected.
Sreenaadhudu was the Chief Education Officer in the court of king Pedakomati Vemareddi of Kondaveeti kingdom and enjoyed rich sensual and worldly pleasures for eighteen years. His duties included arranging contests and select poets and writers for awards, authoring king’s decrees and orders, reading and reciting science, literature etc., to king, and so on. He traveled in the Telugu Nation and attained several awards and titles from various kings. Sreenadhudu was certainly the beginner of a new era in the Telugu literature.
Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, 02/07/2000
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