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An epitome of scholarship



Vedula Subrahmanya Sastry

The former Professor and Head of the Department of Telugu in Andhra University, Vedula Subrahmanya Sastry, is a name to reckon with among the few who are credited with a consistently brilliant academic career achieving top honours all through and obtaining post-graduate (MA) and doctorate degrees (Ph.D.) with similar honours both in Telugu and Sanskrit. Known for his philomathy, he is also one among the very few in the country who has richly contributed to higher learning in both the subjects as a teacher at the graduate (he was lecturer in Mrs. AVN College 1965-75) and at the PG level (lecturer in AU 1975-80, reader now called associate professor 1985-93 and professor 1993-2002 when he retired). Sastry has also been a much sought after research guide and an examiners of high esteem both for the thesis works for the award of M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees, many of which have been acclaimed as the best winnig gold medals. A prolific writer too, Sastry has authored books in Telugu, `Ashtadiggajalu', a treatise on the poetry of the eight eminent poets of Srikrishnadeva Raya's court; `Bhagavathasudha', a critical analysis of Pothana Bhagavatham; `Panchatantrapu Champuvu'; `Adhyatmika Vyasamanjari', a compilation of essays on various aspects of Indian philosophy; `Bharata-Bharathi', essays on various aspects of the Mahabharata; `Bharatamulo Santiparvam'; `Subrahmanya Bharati', a treatise on the various works of the Tamil Mahakavi; `Janapadageya Sahitya Prabha', a critical assessment and appreciation of folk literature in Telugu and its comparison to that in Sanskrit; `Sivanandalahari', a comprehensive commentary on the original by Adi Sankara (all published); and `Bharatamulo Karmayogam'; `Ramayanamulo Purushardhaalu' and `Soundaryalahari' which are ready to go in for print. Besides, he has hundreds of research articles in Telugu and Sanskrit to his credit. He proved to be an accomplished playwright as well. scripting `Varoodhuni Pravarakhyam' and `Tatwamasi' - an explication of the Advaita philosophy of Adi Sankara, both in Sanskrit, which reflect as much erudition and felicity he has in Telugu. Both have been published.Sastry's critiques, titled `Srimadramayane Valmikeh' presented at the fifth World Sanskrit Conference held at Varanasi, `Raghuvamse Ramakatha' at the All-India Oriental Conference at Shantiniketan, `Nationlism in Telugu Ballads' in English at the All-India Folklore Congress at Hyderabad, `Mahabharate Ramakatha' at the All-India Oriental Conference at Ahmedabad and `Swapnavasavadatta Abhignana Sakuntalayoh Samvavadanuseelanam' at a similar conference at Hardwar during the 1980s and 1990s which won him high accolades, are but only a few examples of his scholarly involvement many a time by choice at such prestigious seminars. A multi-faceted literary genius, Sastry has been in popular demand all over the globe, including Wisconsin University, Madison, twice to be a faculty member during the additional summer semesters it organised either to preside or deliver lectures or be a moderator. He also commands an equally popular demand for his talks for broadcast over Akashvani, including its Sooktimuktavali chunk. A winner of many a laurel including titles like `Acharya Sarvabhauma', `Sahitya Visarada' and `Vidyavinayabhooshana', no wonder he stands as the lodestar of the scholarly Vedula families of Andhra, the north coastal districts in particular. His grandfather and great-grandfathers were all scholars in Telugu and Sanskrit, besides Vedic literature. While his mother Rajyalakshmi was a noted connoisseur of such a literature, his father Krishna Murthy was known to be a worthy disciple of the stalwart gurus, Tata Subbaraya Sastry, Appala Joganna Sastry, Peri Veera Venkateswara Sastry and the likes at M.R. Government Sanskrit College, Vizianagaram, and worked as Sanskrit pundit at CBM High School in Visakhapatnam for more than three decades. Born in Devada Agraharam in Vizianagaram district in September 1942, Sastry had his education at Visakhapatnam. He is blessed with two sons well settled in the US, and a daughter (a post-graduate in English literature) and settled with her engineer husband working for ONGC. Vedula Subrahmanya Sastry, with his noted connoisseur wife Prabhavathi (MA in Telugu), is happily settled in his ancestral house in Dwarakanagar, ardently serving further the cause of literature.

A.R.S

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