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Articles: Literature
Chillara Devullu
- Dr. Rajeshwar Mittapalli
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A Fictional Portrait of Pre-Independence Telangana:

Dasarathi Rangacharya was born in 1928 at a small village in the Telangana region of the Hyderabad State ruled by the Nizam. Right from the beginning he professed a great impatience with the autocratic rule of the Nizam. He actively participated in the anti-Nizam struggle and was once even arrested and severely beaten up by a police officer. He later went underground and continued his struggle.

Apart from Chillara Devullu (The Lesser Deities, 1969), at least one another novel of his Modugu Poolu (Fire Flowers, 1971) has the history of Telangana during the Nizamís reign for its background. Both the novels are firmly rooted in the history of Telangana, recorded and unrecorded. Given the feudal background and negligible literacy rate Chillara Devullu and Modugu Poolu are two of the rarest great novels to have come from Telangana.

Rangacharya has written these novels in the Telangana dialect of Telugu much against the advice of the traditionalists. He wanted his novels to be easily understood by people and there was no other way of doing that except by writing them in the language of the people. He did not become a novelist by accident. He wanted to become a novelist and carefully trained himself to be one. That perhaps explains why his style has a rare refinement and the structure of his novels is near perfect.

According to an admission Rangacharya has seen life in all its nakedness and not from any particular ism. He looked at man as man, with his strengths and weaknesses. This is perhaps why some of his otherwise perfect characters often show signs of weakness and some of his most villainous characters have an element of nobility and humanity lurking somewhere in their mental makeup.

As has been stated above, Chillara Devullu was written against the background of the rural life of Telangana during the last decade of the Nizamís rule. During the two hundred or so years of the rule of the Asaf Jhahi (Nizam) dynasty and for four hundred years of Muslim rule prior to that the Telugu language and culture were badly distorted and twisted out of shape in the Telangana region. The Nizam had his feudal representatives in every village.


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