Sunday, May 22, 2022

Books: Dr Hahnemann and The Guide in Telugu

At a time when the habit of buying and reading printed books is fast waning, it looks audacious on the part of Vemavarapu Bhimeswara Rao to bring out two books, that too in Telugu and in two different fields. But given the tenacity with which he has translated RK Narayan’s The Guide and the life of the Father of Homeopathy, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, from English into Telugu, Bhimeswara Rao has proved once again his mettle in translating books from Englishinto his native language.

It’s not an easy task. RK Narayan is one of the best-known Indian writers in English and Dr Hahnemann, a German by birth, was a physician and the founder of what’s called alternative medical system.

Thus, when we look at the titles and their contents,we wonder how a retired physics lecturer has developed immense interest in an Indian English author and homeopathy.

Though Bhimeswara Rao is a teacher by profession, his literary interest was fired by RK at a young age. Hisunbridled passion for RK and his works has inspired the former lecturer so much that he translated four of Malgudi man’s books in five years between 2016 and 2022. His first translation was Waiting for the Mahatma followed by My Days (RK’s autobiography) and Lawley Road (short stories). And now, The Guide.

It’s one of the best-known works of RK and earned him laurels. Its popularity soared further when a Hindi film was produced based on The Guide in 1965.

Though The Guide was written in English and appeared in print in 1958, this is the first time a Telugu translation has come out, thanks to Bhimeswara Rao’s efforts. To say the book is a true translation of the original is not correct. Often, the tone and tenor of a book is lost in translation when not enough care is taken by the author concerned. In the case of The Guide, Bhimeswara Rao has taken enough pain (like his other translated works of RK) to present readers a Telugu version of the famous book as authentic as the original.

The beauty of the novel is, though it was written more than six decades ago, the main characters Raju and Rosie could be found among us even today. In other words, times have changed, society has changed but not human traits, their frailties and fight-for-survival instincts. That’s the greatness of RK and every aspect of it comes through in the translated version.

Hahnemann’s life and works

The second book is Life and Work of Dr Samuel Hahnemann. Though millions of people take homeopathy medicines – that number is considerable in India – few know about the founder of the holistic nature of this alternative therapy. In fact, allopathic medical practitioners treat homeopathy with derision and pooh-pooh it as sweet-pilled placebo. 

While the issue is best left to the practitioners and followers of homeopathy, it will be interesting to know the basis of homeopathy, its principles, its philosophy and its approach to curing a disease. There are many misgivings about the efficacy of tiny sugar pills in treating human ailments. At the same time, many believe homeopathy could cure even chronic diseases in a miraculous way provided the dose and the potency of the drug is administered as prescribed by Dr Hahnemann in his treatises.

Bhimeswara Rao strongly believes that most of the modern homeopathic practitioners deviate from the fundamental principles of homeopathy as enunciated by its founder hundreds of years ago. He tries to convince the readers that homeopathy could have become more relevant and popular had its practitioners understood Dr Hahnemann and his methodology of treating diseases without making the patient dependent on medicines lifelong.

Homeopathic practitioner for decades

Bhimeswara Rao knows this as he himself has been a homeopathic practitioner for decades. Though he doesn’t have a recognized qualification to put it on his nameplate, a considerable number of people visit him every day for medical treatment and they vouchsafe for him.

Homeopathy may be in his genes. His father, Sita Rama Brahmam, studied homeopathy at Kent Homeopathy College in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1929 and started his practice in Bezwada (now Vijayawada). He had continued treating patients for over four decades following Dr Hahnemann’s diagnostic principles and treatment methods. His influence on the young Bhimeswara Rao is undeniable and his interest in homeopathy is further accentuated by his post-graduate study in physics. Post retirement, his indefatigable passion for homeopathy and deific regard for Dr Hahnemann has inspired Bhimeswara Rao to translate the English version of the life and struggle of Dr Hahnemann into Telugu.

The former lecturer might have realized his dream through this book; but at the same time,he has done a great service to students and practitioners of homeopathy in the two Telugu states by giving them a book in their mother tongue to understand what homeopathy is all about. The book should be able to clear all the false notions that homeopathy is not a mumbo-jumbo medical practice.

The two books were released on March 27 at Platinum Jubilee Function Hall, Osmania University, Hyderabad. While veteran journalist Dr K Ramachandra Murthy released The Guide, another journalist S Madhusudhana Rao released the book on Dr Samuel Hahnemann.

*Author Bhimeswara Rao (Ph 9849778163) or publisher PadmanabhaSarma (Ph 9441107080) can be contacted for more information.

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S. Madhusudhana Rao
The writer has worked in several English newspapers in India and Arabian Gulf. Among these are The Times of India, Hans India, Orissa Post, Khaleej Times and Oman Tribune.

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