|Gudipati Venkata Chalam|
Gudipati Venkata Chalam|
19 May 1894
Madras (now called Chennai), India
4 May 1979 (aged 84)|
Most of his writings were regarding women, especially the kind of difficulties women encounter—physical as well as psychological—in society, from their families and from those with whom they are close. Chalam discussed how he believed women should face these problems. The themes philosophical tinge of his writings blended with a distinctive style which would earn for him an enviable place in the Telugu literary world.
Much that is known about Chalam’s childhood comes from his 1972 autobiography titled Chalam. In it, he vividly mentions how he suffered beatings from his father and how his mother, residing at her parents’ home even after having been married and starting a family with her husband, had to face a flurry of insults. Chalam brazenly puts across why he wrote his autobiography in its foreword:
"I hate autobiographies. By writing an autobiography, I am admitting to myself and indirectly telling everybody that I am an important person, I made lots of good things to help people and society and if I do not tell the world about myself, there is great loss to the world and by not knowing about me, the world is losing something. For a person like me who always thinks and wonders, "Why was I born? And OK, I was born but why I did not die immediately without polluting my surroundings? Writing an autobiography and telling my story shamelessly is not a matter to be excused [...]"
Birth and childhood
Known more widely as "Chalam"', Gudipati Venkata Chalam was born on 18 May 1894 in Chennai in India. His mother was Venkata Subbamma and his father was Kommuri Sambasivarao. In his childhood, his maternal grandfather adopted him and his surname was changed to "Gudipati" from "Kommuri". He used to practice Hindu rituals very religiously. Before he completing, he had committed himself to an exhaustive study of Hindu epics as well as Hindu doctrinal teachings. The way his father abused his mother made an indelible impression on his young mind. Besides this, the manner in which his sister "Ammmanni" (Venkata Ramanamma, Dulla) was coerced into an arranged marriage against her will also made him concentrate on the difficulties that women faced in society.
Education, marriage and employment
Chalam joined Pithapuram Maharaja College in 1911. At that time, he was attracted by the preachings of Raghupati Venkata Ratnam Naidu—a social reformer and founder of the Brahma Samaj in Andhra. Chalam went to Chennai to study for his Bachelor of Arts. Before joining the college, he was married to Chitti Ranganayakamma. While studying for his degree in Chennai, he got his wife admitted into a convent for her education and he used to drop her at school on his bicycle. This was a spectacle for the people to see -a husband dropping off the wife on his cycle. Chalam stopped wearing the sacred thread (Yagnopaveetham), started eating non-vegetarian food (Brahmins were strict vegetarians) and he used to mingle with all castes. This infuriated all his relatives and more so his father-in-law. His father-in-law banished him from entering his house. By that time, Chalam's wife's age was merely 13. When his mother-in-law died, Chalam and his friends were not allowed in his father-in-law's the house for the funeral, and they were served food outside.
After completing his studies in Madras, Chalam joined in a job as tutor in Kakinada. Again, he started participating in the Brahma Samaj activities. He also became busy with his friendship with a beautiful girl named "Ratnamma" who happened to be his friend's sister-in-law. He worked as a teacher in Karimnagar. Then he joined in a job with Teacher's Training College in Rajahmundry. He later became a school inspector. About his job, Chalam wrote in his famous book "Musings" (in Telugu language) (Page 72, 5th Print in 2005) as follows:
I am a stone, slave of the government, school inspector and for the poor mice like teachers, I am the cat.
Chalam's daughter, a devotee of Ramana Maharshi, maintains an ashram at Bheemili,Visakhapatnam.
Maidanam, Sasirekha, Dyvamicchina bharya, Jeevitadarsam, Brahmanikam, Bujjigadu, Tyaagam, Aruna, Anusuya , Premalekhalu
Jealousy, Aa rathri, Prema paryavasanam, Satyam Sivam Sundaram, Vedantam, Doshagunam, maadiga ammayi,maamagari ''maryada, mukkaalupeeta,mukthimaargam,mosamchesindha,yavvanavvanam,rasaputhrulu,raamabakthudu,raavanadarshanam,reddyrangamma,lancham,lakshimdevi,lakshmiuthharam, villytho snejam ela ayyindante?, vaani-a-study,vaallu naluguru, vichitranaleeyam, vithanthuvu, vennelathotalu, vendantham, vontarithanam, shamantakamanitho interview, sheshamma, saraswathee prasannam, cinema saayam, seethathalli, seethayya, sugandhi, susheela, stationpampu, hamko mohabbath, hampeekanyalu,hathya vicharana, harijana vidhyardhi, harijana samasya, hindhumusalmaan, nakshatrakaanthi, kamalaanehru samadhi vadda,anusooya....(many more to be updated reference from vishalandhra book house)
Musings, Papam, Prema Lekhalu, Stree, Biddala Shikshana
Chalam was a strong critic of the fundamental societal architecture of his time. He believed that the barriers created by the society precluded love and mutual understanding from human relationships.
In a society that believed in children being indebted to their parents, he proclaimed caring for and bringing up of children as the fundamental duty as parents.
He was widely shunned during his times especially for his advocacy of women’s rights and his total rejection of the family system.
His Short story Doshagunam was adapted as a Grahanam movie.
- From Brahmanikam: to be verified
Stri oka mata valla,chupu vallaa purushuniki Sandichhindaa....ika atani adhikaraniki,korikalaki,vinnapalaki antam undadu. Asalu paryavasanam akkarleni stri modatininchi vimukhamgane undali......nippu vale undali,kaalanu kudadani chala mandi moorkhula aasa...
స్త్రీ ఒక మాట వల్ల,చూపు వల్లా పురుషునికి సందిచ్చిందా....ఇక అతని అధికారానికి, కోరికలకి, విన్నపాలకి అంతం ఉండదు. అసలు పర్యవసానం అక్కర్లేని స్త్రీ మొదటినించి విముఖంగానే ఉండాలి......నిప్పు వలె ఉండాలి, ...
The novel Maidanam made an indelible mark on the reader for its free and frank way of expression, the relationship between man and woman disregarding caste and creed.