Here is the speech delivered by Prof. Devaraju Maharaju in Kalkota on 31 July 2022 on the occasion of accepting Bal Sahitya Puraskar awarded by Sahitya Academy:
This question remains in the human brain for ages. The definition of that question is changing with the advancement in the path of progress. There is a difference in defining it by the barbarians of the past and the civilized. There is a difference in definition of the sages and the modern man. The sages wander in the world of souls by closing their eyes and nose! But these things do not give satisfaction to the 21st century modern man. He also feels those are unreasonable and incomplete. However, here few modern people carry those oldest definitions. They do not care about the definition that the present scientist gives with the knowledge of this age in accordance with this period. Apart from utilizing all the modern facilities they still want to uphold the very old, outdated definitions in the name of culture and traditions. This book, “Wenu Ante Evaru?” (Who am I?) is an attempt to open the eyes of such backward looking people. The people, who cannot digest the facts, are better not to read this book. Because the book “Nenu Ante Evaru?” (Who am I?), attempts to understand who actually the ‘Man’ (human being) is and his position in the infinite Universe. This information may also need an updation in the future. We have to prepare for that too.
What is the concept of ‘I’ in us? “Aham’ means what? How is it? Is it someone else hidden within us? Or is it we ourselves? This has been troubling man for a long time, and constantly searching for it. How far he discovered himself? How far he could get answers? This should be assessed from time to time. Answer to be searched biologically for ‘I’. A new definition is to be designed. Similarly we have to find out how ‘I’ originated from the different classes, creeds, races, nations of the human society. In the same way my life processes depend on what I eat. My behavior and mindset are shaped by those life processes. Correspondingly, a personality is formed in the society. An attempt is made in this book to analyze the “I” from different key perspectives. The subject is seriously discussed through funny conversations of a family. This book clearly rules out the dead preaches of spiritual leaders that soul should join super soul (athma merging into paramathma). And it emphasizes Human centric approach, self respect and self consciousness.
Also read: LET’S SANITIZE THE NATION(Poem)
‘Man’ that is ‘I’ originated from a long evolutionary process, from the single celled organisms to the Homo sapiens maintaining existence apart from many complexities, constant conflicts. He needs no imaginary God or a fictional devil. Man should continue his journey with dignity that he is the valuable living being in the nature, a living creature to uphold values, fully capable of leading his life with utmost self confidence. He need not stand with the help of faith as sticks to the crippled. Man should become a complete independent to accept happiness as happiness, sorrow as sorrow, and death as death. Man is an intellectual, a visionary; a philosopher who can control his life. To know oneself is not escapism as in spirituality. It is to understar facts based on Biological, Sociological, Economical and Environmental aspects. A few steps forward were taken by some legendary people in that endeavor. We all have to follow them.
Also read: What are the origins of Vedic culture?
The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru dreamed that the people of this country to leave superstitions and march forward scientifically. Creative Writings are great but the writings, that directly useful to enhance scientific temperament are more greater. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the National Academy of Letters (Sahitya Akademi) for recognizing my creative scientific work, “Nenu Ante Evaru?”(Who am I?)
Sahitya Academy citation for Prof. Devaraju Maharaju
Award in Telugu to
(Born in 1951)
DevarajuMaharaju, eminent Telugu writer and poet, was born on 21 February 1951 in Kodur village of Warangal district in Telangana. He holds an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. and knows English, Hindi and Urdu besides Telugu. Having retired as a Biology Professor and working as an academician and researcher for 30 years, he has numerous published works to his credit which include poetry, short stories, children’s literature, novels, criticism, plays. film scripts and popular science besides edited works. Some of his prominent books are Gudise Gunde, GayapaddaUdayam, Kavitha Bharati (all poetry); Kadupu Kota, DevarajuMaharajuKathalu, AaruBayataAakaashamKosam (all stories); Manchi Muthyam (novel); Budungu, Nenu Ante Evaru, Balavanthudinayam (all children’s literature), Smriti Sugandham, Folklore Literature in the Modern Age (both literary criticism), among others. A golden Jubilee issue Avaranam was brought out on his literary works. He is the recipient of Dasarathi Krishnamacharya Sahitya Puraskaram, VuppalaLaxmana Rao Literary Lifetime Achievement Award and other awards and honours.
Nenu Ante Evaru? is a collection of plays analyzing frequently asked questions and giving scientific answers to children thereby instilling scientific spirit among them. The book while discussing topics on biology deals with living cells, genes, generations, development of human personality and ultimately establishes that all human beings are one. The author besides appropriately applying reasoning and logic to answer the questions, also compels children to think originally and scientifically. The book with its suitable settings, befitting characters and apt dialogues makes children get easily identified with it. As such, Sahitya Akademi is happy to confer its Bal Sahitya Puraskar in Telugu on DevarajuMaharaju for his collection of plays Nenu Ante Evaru?
Prof. Devaraju Maharaju
G-1, Aastha Heights,
Opp. Lane to Aparna Sarovar
Nallagandla, Gopanapally Road,
P.O. Hyderabad Central University,
Hyderabad- 500046, Telangana