Thursday, December 3, 2020

Poet-Journalist Devipriya no more

  • Breathes his last at NIMS
  • Unwell for four months
  • Leg had to be amputated

Hyderabad: Devipriya, a popular poet in Telugu and English, is no more. He breathed his last at NIMS the early hours of Saturday, 21st November. A few days ago he had his leg amputated below the knee. A diabetic, he had developed problems with blood circulation. He is survived by his son Eva and daughter Samata.

The operation was performed by noted surgeon Dr. Tanduri Gangadhar who is professor and head of the department in NIMS.

Sheik Khaja Hussain, popularly known as Devipriya, was born in Guntur on 15 August 1949, exactly two years after India attained independence. His wife, Rajya Lakshmi, passed away four years ago. Devipriya came to Hyderabad in early 1970s after working in Chennai for some years. He lived in Hyderabad till his end. He had named his flat in Alwal  ‘Amma Chettu’ after the title of an anthology of some of his poems, mostly reflections of his childhood.

Devipriya no more

A poet who wrote in Telugu and English with equal felicity and flourish, Devipriya was a professional journalist, script writer and lyricist.The Kendriya Sahitya Akademi honoured him with an award in 2017 for his anthology Gaali Rangu (Colour of air). He had to his credit a number of anthologies of poems such as ‘Amma Chettu (Mother Tree)’, ‘Neeti Putta (The watery pit),’‘Cheepa Chiluka (The fish parrot),’ ‘Tupanu Tummeda (Stormy Petrel),’ ‘GareebuGeetaalu (Poor man’s songs)’ and Samajananda Swamy, a social satire published in his first magazine ‘Prajatantra.’ The autobiography of famous poet SriSri was published as a serial in ‘Prajatantra’ with the title ‘Anantham’ because of Devipriya’s relentless efforts to persuade the poet to write regularly.

Devipriya no more

Devipriya’s choice of words, often measured, advocate a firm political opinion.  He wrote a book on K.J. Rao, advisor to the Election Commission of India know for his strict adherence to rules,  in English. He belongs to the league of A.K. Ramanujan, Sachchitanandan and Shiva Kumar. ‘Lovely Liars’ was one of his highly appreciated poems in English. He wrote political commentary in verse published in Udayam, Andhra Prabha, Andhra Jyothy under the caption ‘Running Commentary.’ It was famous for its punch in ‘Udayam’ daily accompanied by cartoons by famous cartoonist T. Mohan. Both of them started this column in ‘Andhra Prabha’ from where they shifted to ‘Udayam.’  He was in charge of Sunday supplements in Udayam as well as Andhra Jyothy. He launched and edited Prajatantra and Hyderabad Mirror.


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