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Telugu Language & Literature

namaskAraM!

 

 

Scope of this Project

The present project is an attempt at providing samples of important original texts of Telugu literature on the net. Basic information (trivia) and/or some elementary introductions about the books and their authors are provided in some instances. The long-term goal is to provide full e-texts. A partial listing of Telugu material that needs to be put on the net is given in the Master Subject Index.

 

Every one is encouraged to (re)acquaint themselves with Telugu language and literature through these and other similar web pages. By its very nature, this site cannot cover any topic in satisfactory detail. For better appreciation of the subjects, consult any of the many Telugu scholars now resident in cyber space. Of course, the best source remains to be the vast corpus of original and critical works available in print form. Having said that, hopefully this and other similar attempts will soon result in the blossoming of full-fledged sites for specific areas of literature. A few such sites are developing (rather slowly, I might add). Particular attention may be drawn to Dr. K.V. Rao's Telugu Literary Page, Sanka Ramakrishna's collection of poems and the like. It is hoped that this project will be a part of a larger network of sites (webrings, may be?) in future.

 

Apologies

For some unknown reason, Telugu people have been mostly silent to the needs of putting Telugu material on the internet. Compare this to the amazing amount of Tamil, Sanskrit or Hindi material available on the net. They out match the Telugu resources by hundreds of times! A case in point is the number of original Sanskrit documents archived at the Jaguar-Utah and Indology sites. It is clear that Telugu resources on the web are almost non-existent (meager at best). Something must be done in this regard. This project resulted from this feeling.

If we could do something, foolhardy as it may be, to promote Telugu Literature on the net, others who are clearly more competent will get the hint and may consider doing a project that is more worthy of Telugu Literature. The motto then: "c'mon all you literary enthusiasts and Pundits, don't let us down! Take up the cause!."

There is another real reason for this exercise. By providing such texts on the Internet, we educate ourselves. For how can any one key in the texts and include a few trivia without understanding them at least partly? So, if one really wants to understand something, one should start teaching it, or in this context, one should start putting it on the web!

 

Long Term Vision

In the long-term, Telugu people, as a community must see to it that electronic-texts (e-texts) for Telugu literary works and "data" concerning literature and literary figures are provided on-line. Although not essential, where ever possible, additional material should be provided. It could include introductions/comments on literary works and major personalities, brief/long explanations concerning literary and linguistic matters and associated sociological aspects. It is clear that there can be no pretension (mine or any one else's) that this can be achieved by a single individual or a small band of people or by just one web site. The present effort is a beginning in that direction. WE can only wait and see what the future holds.

 

Justification

I don't suppose that any justification is actually needed for providing literature on the internet. However, the reasons for listing literature mostly laden with classical /ancient /feudal /bourgeois /caste ridden /class oriented /irrational /etc. :-) material might appear questionable. There is no propaganda motive for this exercise. There is no political agenda. The "old" stuff may be considered "anti-proletariat." But it is still an extremely important part (often the only available part) of Telugu heritage, even if we consciously choose to disown it. The future of anything begins with an understanding of its past -even if that past is not acceptable to the present. Reasons for low doses of modern works (the "real stuff that matters") are purely practical. Modern literature (of any style or persuasion) is usually held in copyright and hence carries with it the danger of violation of the law. Also, it is largely in prose. Keying in prose is a lot harder than poetry. All Telugu people are, of course, eagerly waiting for the day when text recognition programs for Telugu manuscripts will be available. Then, it becomes a mere formality to start compiling prose or poetry texts on the Internet. That brings us to the question: "is any one working on optical character recognition for Telugu?" (However, even if it is developed to the level of current OCR for English, I suspect that there may be many other problems, e.g., confusion between sa and na, tha and dha, etc. )

 

Language and Format

Both English and Telugu are used in these pages.  It is realized that reading such text could look artificial.  It may be difficult to read at times.  But these pages are meant not only for those who are very proficient in Telugu but also for any second generation Telugus and other people who might possibly be interested in Telugu (what a daydream!).  All Telugu text is provided in RIT/RTS (version 3.0) format. Several software packages are now available for converting transliterated texts to Telugu fonts.  A very good example is the Telugu Lipi Editor developed by Srinivas Sirigina. Others have also done a commendable job. Using these, it is easy to view the RIT/RTS text in Telugu script. Most Telugu words in the English write-ups have also been written in the same format. Remember that a lot of Indian (and Telugu) stuff has already been written in English printed works -basically for consumption by other Indian people of the same origin. So, this attempt to mix English and Telugu may not be all that bad.  

As of now, web viewing and mail software using Telugu fonts is improving. Prasad Chodavarapu's Rangavalli is a fine example of the available tools. The lEkha web site is using his work. This site promises to become an excellent site for Telugu. A natural corollary to this development is the question "why not do the entire page in Telugu?" We have to look at the pros and cons and come to a consensus on this. Among the issues are the target end users, the formal script, the appropriate dialect and the level of formal language to be used for such pages. Because of the Internet revolution, collectively speaking, Telugu people may be uniquely positioned to bring about certain changes. Recognizing and pondering these issues may not entirely be a waste of time. Any thoughts from readers in this matter would be of great help.

 

Volunteers?

There is a great need for volunteer work in this area. Any work of this nature would have an appreciable effect only if it is taken up as a group effort. An example is the effort of a massive number of volunteers for the highly resourceful Sanskrit Utah site.

It is fondly hoped that a network of sites such as this may become comparable to the Sanskrit and Tamil sites. Bearing in mind that proliferation of sites of this kind is of vital importance to the survival of Telugu on the Internet, all lovers of Telugu language and literature are invited to participate in this or other comparable volunteer projects. Equally important are the suggestions of viewers for the improvement of this site.

The full amount work that needs to be done is enormous. A partial listing of Telugu material that needs to be put on the net is given in the master index.

 

References and Bibliography

The original resources available to us at present are woefully inadequate. The inter-library loan route and personal contacts are being explored. Any ideas on how Telugu original works can be made more accessible in North America?

 

Acknowledgements

Several individuals have very kindly helped with this project. I tried to acknowledge their gracious help. I hope that the list of people to whom the project owes gratitude will grow much longer!

 

 

All Standard Disclaimers, Rules and Laws
apply for all the pages at this web site.

Seshu Madhava Rao Adluri
(original posting: March 1998, Minor revision: March 1999)

Suggestions, additions and corrections to the above will be gratefully appreciated.
Kindly contact: adluri@engr.mun.ca

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