His Highness the Maharaja Mirja
Sri Ananda Gajapati Raj, Manea Sultan
Bahadur of Vizinagaram, G.C.I.E.
May it please your highness,
It is fable 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 a very helpless section of our woman-kind 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 n 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 that 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 Prince with whom knowledge is an absorbing passion and whose appreciative encouragement of letters, has attracted to his court, literary starts of the first magnitude and inaugurated to his court, literary starts of the first magnitude and inaugurated a brilliant epoch in the history of Telugu Literature.
I have the honour to subscribe myself
May it please Your Highness,
One Ever Loved to The Ever Loyal.
Under the orders of His Highness the Maharajah of Vizianagarm, a list was prepared ten years ago, of Brahmin sulka marriages, celebrated in the ordinary tracts of the Vizagapatnam District during three years. The lists 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 thirty four, giving an average of three hundred and forty four for the year. Ninety nine girls were married at the age of five years, forty four at four, thirty six 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 Kanyasulkam.
I clothed the play in the spoken dialect, not only that it is better intelligible to the stage - going 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 no language conversational ease which is indispensable in a comedy, or continuity in whcih, 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, necessitated by a system of versification based on alliteration and quantity. A license, which, no doubt, has its own advantages of introducing Sanskrit words to any 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 - It 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.
1st January 1897.
1. అగ్నిహోత్రావధాన్లు: - కృష్ణారాయపుర మగ్రహారము కాపురస్థుడు.
2. వెంకటేశము : - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాని కుమారుడు
3. గిరీశం : - వెంకటేశమునకు చదువుచెప్పునయ్యవారు.
4. కరటకశాస్త్రులు : - వెంకమ్మ తోడబుట్టినవాడు.
5. లుబ్ధావధాన్లు : - రామచంద్రపుర మగ్రహారము కాపురస్థుడగు నొక బ్రాహ్మణుడు
6. రామప్పంతులు : - రామచంద్రపుర మగ్రహారము కాపురస్థుడగు నొక లౌక్యుడు.
7. సౌజన్యరావుపంతులు : - ప్లీడరు.
8. భీమారావు పంతులు : - ప్లీడరు.
9. నాయుడు : - ఏజెన్సీకోర్టు వకీలు.
10. కరటకశాస్త్రుల శిష్యుడు : - డెప్యూటీ కలెక్టరు, హెడ్కనిష్టీబు, బైరాగి, శూద్రులు, దుకాణదారు, కలక్టరు కచేరి గుమాస్తాలు, బ్రాహ్మణులు, బంట్రౌతులు మొదలుగు వారలు.
1. వెంకమ్మ : - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాని భార్య.
2. బుచ్చమ్మ : - అగ్నిహోత్రావధాని కూతురు.
3. మీనాక్షి : - లుబ్ధావధాని కూతురు.
4. మధురవాణి : రామప్పంతులుంచుకొనిన సాని.
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