హాస్యరస ప్రధానమగు నాటకము
శ్రీ గురజాడ అప్పారావు గారు
కొండపల్లి వీరవెంకయ్య అండ్ సన్సు
శ్రీ సత్యనారాయణ బుక్ డిపో
|కాపీరైటు రిజిష్టర్డు]||[వెల రు. 2 - 9- 0|
శ్రీ కొండపల్లి ముద్రాశాల
ఈ "కన్యాశుల్కము" అను నాటకము యొక్క శాశ్వత కాపీరైటు హక్కు - స్టేజి హక్కు పూర్తిగా మాకు చెందియున్నది. కాబట్టి మా లిఖితరూపకమైన అనుమతిని పొందనివారు యీ నాటకమును బ్రదర్శింపగూడదు.
కొండపల్లి వీరవెంకయ్య అండ్ సన్సు
శ్రీ సత్యనారాయణ బుక్ డిపో
His Highness The Maharajah Mirja
Sri Ananda Gajapati Raj,Manea Sultan
Bahadur of Vizianagram, G.C.I.E.
May it please Your Highness,
It is fabled that when the ancient demi-god of your noble race was making a causeway across the sea to rescue his consort from captivity, the faithful squirrel brought at the end of its tail a few grains of sand, not indeed hoping to advance the high enterprise in any appreciable degree, but to show an inclination to serve. Ten years ago, when the question was engaging Your Highness's attention, of saving very helpless section of our womankind from a galling type of slavery, fraught with the germs of social demoralisation, an humble servant made a feeble effort to arouse public opinion on the subject by exposing the evil in a popular drama. The success that attended its production on the boards, and demand for copies from various quarters, emboldened him to publish it. No one is better aware than the writer himself how great are the imperfections of the piece, and how unworthy it is of presentation to such an exalted personage and ripe scholar as Your Highness, but he has ventured to seek Your Highness's indulgence, as he deems it the highest honour and his greatest ambition to be permitted to dedicate the fruits of his intellect, poor though in merit, to a Prince with whom knowledge is an absorbing passion and whose appreciative encouragement of letters, has attracted to his court, literary stars of the first magnitude and inaugurated a brilliant epoch in the history of Telugu Literature.
I have the honour to subscribe myself
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
Under the order of His Highness the Maharajah of Vizianagram, a list was prepared ten years ago, of Brahmin sulka marriages, celebrated in the ordinary tracts of Vizagapatnam District during three years. The list is by no means exhaustive as the parties concerned were naturally averse to admitting acceptance of bride-money; but such as it is, it forms a document of great value and interest. The number of marriages recorded reached one thousand and thirtyfour, giving an average of three hundred and fortyfour for the year. Ninetynine girls were married at the age of five years, fortyfour at four, thirtysix at three, six at two, and three at the age of one!- the babies in the last instance carrying a price of from three hundred and fifty to four hundred rupees a head. Strange, as it may sound, bargains are sometimes struck for children in the womb. Such a scandalous state of things is a disgrace to society, and literature cannot have a higher function than to show up such practices and give currency to a high standard of moral ideas. Until reading habits prevail among the masses, one must look only to the stage to exert such healthy influence. These considerations prompted me to compose Kanyâsulkam.
I clothed the play in the spoken dialect, not only that it is better intelligible to the public than the literary dialect, but also from a conviction that it is the proper comic diction for Telugu. Dramatic style is, no doubt, determined to some extent by usage, but the absence of any real dramatic literature in Telugu, leaves a writer free to adopt that outward form which he deems most appropriate for the presentation of his ideas. The metres in use in Telugu, with their alliterative restrictions, are incapable of imparting to language conversational ease which is indispensable in a comedy, or continuity in which as Mr. Ward remarks, lies real life. One might invent new dramatic measures - but it would be a superfluous task, so far at least as comedy is concerned, as prose is gaining ground all over the world for dramatic purposes.
It has been remarked that the use of what is wrongly termed the vulgar tongue mars the dignity of a literary production, but that is a piece of criticism which one need not heed at the present day when the progress of the Science of Language has established better standards for judging the quality and usefulness of tongues than the whims of Grammarians of old linguistic strata. The Telugu literary dialect contains many obsolete grammatical forms, an inconveniently large mass of obsolete words and arbitrary verbal contractions and expansions which were necessitated by a system of versification based both on alliteration and on quantity. A license, which, no doubt, has its own advantages of introducing Sanskrit words to an unlimited extent has been but too eagerly availed of by poets who brought glossaries into requisition, revelled in fantastic compound-formation, and made the Telugu literary dialect doubly dead. This is not the place to dilate on the question of linguistic reform; but thus much might be said. If it is intended to make the Telugu literary dialect a great civilizing medium, it must be divested of its superfluous obsolete and Sanskrit elements, and brought closer to the spoken dialect from which it must be thoroughly replenished. There is not much dialectical difference in the Telugu generally spoken in the various parts of the Telugu country; so a new common literary dialect can be established with comparative ease if only able writers set about it in right earnest.
Recently, I happened to read Brahmavivaham by Rai Bahadur Viresalingam Pantulu Garu and found that there were some parallel passages in our plays, a thing perfectly natural considering that his piece traversed the whole field of Brahmin marriages. But it will be seen that these plays have little else in common, our treatment being essentially different. Brahmavivaham was meant to be a pure comedy of manners, while in Kanyasulkam humour, characterization, and the construction of an original and complex plot have been attempted - with what success, it is for the public to judge.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
It was my original intention to reprint the play with slight alterations, but at the suggestion of my friend Mr. S. Srinivasa Iyengar, for whose literary judgments I have great respect, I recast it. In the process, it has gained considerably in size. In its present shape it is almost a new work.
The first edition was a marked success. The press gave it a cordial reception and hailed it as an event in the History of Telugu Literature, and men, women and children read it with interest. The only exception was Mahamahopadhyaya K. Venkataratnam Pantulu Garu who cannot stand two things in this otherwise perfect world - Social Reform and Spoken Telugu. The first edition was exhausted in a few weeks, and there has since been a constant demand for copies. I long postponed the worry of a second edition and I undertake it now only at the importunity of friends.
In the Telugu country an author has generally to be his own publisher and book-seller. There is no book-selling enterprise, and what book-reading enterprise there is, is due entirely to the exertions of that venerable body, the Board of Studies. The Christian Gospels do not speak of an eleventh Commandment "Thou shalt read!", but it is given to the Telugu Board of Studies to Command "Thou shalt read!", and straight thousands of unfortunate young men read books that no mortal can read with profit or with pleasure.
When I wrote the play, I had no idea of publication. I wrote it to advance the cause of Social Reform and to combat a popular prejudice that the Telugu language was unsuited to the stage. Itinerant Maharata troupes staged Hindi plays in the Telugu districts and made money. Local companies copied their example and audiences listened with delight to what they did not understand. The bliss of ignorance could not have been more forcibly illustrated. Kanyasulkam gave little scope to vulgar stage attractions such as flaring costumes, sensuous dances, bad music and sham fights; yet it drew crowded houses and vindicated the claims of the Vernacular.
I am glad to find that Hindi plays are on the decline. But the condition of the Telugu stage can, by no means, be considered to be satisfactory. There are no theatres worth the name, and no professional actors who practise acting as an art. There are not many good plays either. Modern life which presents complex social conditions is neglected by playwrights except for purposes of the broadest farce, and poverty of invention is manifested by the constant handling of threadbare romantic topics. Few writers display any knowledge of technique. Such a low level of literary workmanship is a matter for wonder after fifty years of University Education and domination of Western Culture, and it can be attributed only to the defective teaching of English Literature in our Colleges. A better state of things cannot, perhaps, be expected until a strong sense of duty impels English Professors and Educational Officers to cultivate the vernaculars.
The Telugu intellect is also seriously handicapped by the tyranny of authority - of a highly artificial literary dialect, a rigid system of alliterative versification, and literary types which have long played out. I shall say a word here about the Literary Dialect. Since I wrote the preface to the first edition, the Spoken Dialect has gained ground. My friend, Principal P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar, recently started a Telugu Teaching Reform Society among the aims and objects of which the cultivation of Vernacular Telugu holds a prominent place, and Mr. Yates, whose name will always be remembered in the Telugu districts for the introduction of rational methods of teaching into our schools, has lent weight to the movement by accepting the Presidentship of the Society.
I cannot understand how modern writers fail to see the merits of Spoken Telugu, its softness which elicited the admiration of foreigners, and its range of expression. At this movement, the best prose in the language is in the Spoken Dialect. Strange as it may sound, Telugu prose owes its origin and development not to the patronage of kings or to the influence of foreign literatures, but to the exertions of a curious Englishman who stimulated compilation of local histories in the vernacular during the early years of the last century. The Mackenzie Collections, no doubt, comprise tracts of unequal merit but for rhythm, flow and directness some of them beat the best work in the Literary Dialect; and, what is rare in Telugu literature, they reflect the mind of the people and bear impress of the times. Unconsciously possibly, Rai Bahadur K. Viresalingam Pantulu Garu rendered great service to Telugu by issuing as the first volume of the collected works adaptations of English acting plays and farces of Indian life written in vernacular of various degrees of purity; and the choice does credit to his shrewd common sense, because that first volume contains his very best work, in fact, his only work that took the public by storm. The credit of deliberately introducing the vernacular into Telugu drama in keeping with Sanskrit tradition, belongs to my friend V. Venkataraya Sastri Garu whose Prataparudriyam owes not a little of its charm to dialogue in the dialects. I believe my play is the first ambitious work in the Spoken Dialect and, certainly, it has not failed; but success or failure of individual authors is no test of the capacity of a language.
While the Vernacular is thus gaining recognition, the Literary Dialect itself is approximating to the Spoken Dialect in the best modern prose which manifests great freedom of usage. Rai Bahadur K. Viresalingam Pantulu Garu, the most prominent figure in the Telugu World of letters at the present day, has set the example of laxity in the observance of the Law of interchange of soft and hard consonants after a drita nasal. Hardly a modern writer would escape censure if judged by rules of grammar and established usage, and in the school room, Pandits have relaxed insistence on rigid observance of rules of Sandhi. The moral of this tendency to break through traditional restrictions is clear. The old Literary Dialect is felt to be an inconvenient instrument, and there is an unconscious effort to form a new Literary Dialect. My complaint is that the movement is illogically slow.
I view the Telugu Literary Dialect as a great disability imposed by tradition upon the Telugus. Let those who love fetters venerate it. My own vernacular, for me, the Living Telugu, the Italian of the East in which none of us is ashamed to express our joys and sorrows, but which some of us are ashamed to write well. Literature in the Vernacular will knock at the door of the peasant; and it will knock at the door of the Englishman in India. Its possibilities are immense.
No argument in favour of a Vernacular Literature is needed with persons who are conversant with the history of the English Dialects and the Prakrits, and I know it is not arguments that will evolve a New Literary Dialect for Telugu. A great writer must write and make it. Let us prepare the ground for him. The cause of Social Reform has received strong support from a recent decision of the Madras High Court in which a full bench consisting of Chief Justice Sir Arnold White, and Justices Miller and Munro ruled: "That a contract to make payment to a father in consideration of his giving his daughter in marriage is immoral and opposed to public policy within the meaning of section 23 of the Indian Contract Act."
I had to contend with one difficulty in printing this book. There are many sounds in the Spoken Dialect which are not represented in the Telugu Alphabet. In the present state of Telugu phonetics, I had to content myself with indicating such sounds by a horizontal line placed over the nearest symbols; and I employed the Ardhânusvara after a nasal వ. The creation of new symbols and their adoption into type can be effected only after a more widespread recognition of the Spoken Dialect.
My best thanks are due to Messers G. Ramaswami Chetty & Co., who cheerfully undertook to adopt my innovations, and did their part of the work to my entire satisfaction.
"ELK HILL HOUSE,"
1st May 1909.
Some Press Opinions on the First Edition
... Mr. Appa Row is, apparently, a man of original ideas in literary matters ... He has wisely and happily discarded for the purposes of his comedy the unnatural, stilted, pedantic, literary dialect so much beloved of Telugu Pandits, and so unduly prized by them, and employed, instead, the simple, ordinary language of common life now in use among all classes of the population in the Northern districts of this Presidency. The book, therefore, marks a new and bold departure in Telugu dramatic composition, or for the matter of that, in Telugu composition in general. ... The literary tendencies of the present time running, as they do, in such a narrow groove, and being of so stereotyped a character, it speaks very highly, we think, for our author's literary courage, a courage bordering on audacity, that he has been able to set at naught the absurd literary canons of this degenerate age and risen above the prevalent grammatical and literary superstitions in regard to Telugu composition. But, not only has he thus boldly used a new literary diction which, though unsanctified by existing usage among authors, bears the stamp and seal of popular approval and universal use; but he has likewise shown unmistakable merit in constructing a singularly original and interesting plot and creating a variety of characters true to life, which, we are sure, if represented on the stage, will greatly please any Telugu audience, let alone the reading public who may peruse the drama in the retirement of the study or the library. We have, therefore, much pleasure in recommending "Kanyasulkam" to all our Telugu readers. ... The characters are all boldly drawn and the whole piece is very happily put together and artistically constructed, evincing no little originality and dramatic skill on the part of the author.- The People's Friend, January 21, 1897.
Kanyasulkam ought to be widely read. It is very agreeable reading - and we have read it almost at one sitting. But the naturalness of expression and the skill of plot are the least of its merits. It holds the mirror up to nature. ... Such is the plot of Kanyasulkam. And what scope it affords for the representation of Indian character in its various aspects, needs scarcely to be pointed out. Nor has Mr. Appa Row wasted his opportunities.....The Weekly Review, March 27, 1897.
The piece, besides displaying much incident and humour, possesses the very necessary element of characterization, a trait often conspicuous by its absence in our old plays.- The Telugu Harp.
The play has been acted several times, and judging from the large audience which crowded the theatre on each occasion, the author must be congratulated upon the success which the exhibition of his work produced.- The East Coast News.
The plot is well conceived and skillfully worked out. The characters are all aptly chosen.- The Indian Journal of Education. Mr. Appa Row deserves to be congratulated.- The Indian Social Reformer.
It is full of wit and humour and falls in with the spirit of the times. The dialogue is lively and very interesting, and we have nothing but praise and admiration for the author.- Dhimani.
Its story which is very humourous inculcates wholesome moral lessons.- Balika.
The predominating Rasa (emotion) in the play is humour. A careful study of the book is sure to bring home to the mind of the reader the need for social reform. As the author mentions in his preface, this work has been written on lines different from Brahma Vivaha and other social reform dramas. ... May this work which has been composed for the good of the people, put an end to some of the evils in the country. ... May this work which is intelligible to the masses, spread all over the country and help the cause of Social Reform.- Chintamani.
1. అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు - కృష్ణరాయపురం అగ్రహారీకుడు
2. వెంకమ్మ - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు భార్య
3. బుచ్చమ్మ - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు పెద్ద కూతురు
4. సుబ్బమ్మ - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు చిన్న కూతురు
5. వెంకటేశం - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు కుమారుడు
6. కరటకశాస్త్రి - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు బావమరది, విజయనగరం సంస్కృత నాటక కంపెనీలో విదూషకుడు
7. శిష్యుడు - కరటక శాస్త్రి శిష్యరికం చేసి, పెళ్ళికూతురుగానూ, దాసరి గానూ నటించును
8. లుబ్ధావధాన్లు - రామచంద్రపురం అగ్రహారీకుడు
9. మీనాక్షి - లుబ్ధావధాన్లు కుమార్తె, వితంతువు
10. రామప్పంతులు - రామచంద్రపురం అగ్రహారం కరణం
11. గిరీశం - లుబ్ధావధాన్లు పినతల్లి కొడుకు, వెంకటేశమునకు చదువుచెప్పు నయ్యవారు
12. సౌజన్యారావు పంతులు వకీలు
13. భీమారావు పంతులు ఫ్లీడరు
14. నాయుడు ప్రైవేటు వకీలు
15. పూజారి గవరయ్య - దెయ్యాల మాంత్రికుడు, వైద్యుడు
16. మధురవాణి - వేశ్య
డిప్టీ కలక్టరు, హెడ్ కనిష్టీబు, పోలిశెట్టి, బైరాగి, దుకాణదారు, గ్రామ మునసబు, యోగిని,లుబ్ధావధాన్లు యొక్కనౌఖరు అసిరిగాడు, మనవాళ్ళయ్య, వీరేశ,
కళింగరాజ్యములో వాడుకొను కొన్ని
గుంట = ఆడపిల్ల.
పీక = కంఠము.
పేకాట = చీట్లాట.
బుఱ్ఱ = తల.
సాని = వేశ్య.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.