Life in Anatharam
Devulapalli Krishnamurthi’s autobiography, Life in Anantharam, is translated from Telugu where it was widely read and appreciated. It is an important work which offers an unvarnished account of life in a Telangana village, specifically Anantharam near Suryapet and between Penpadu and Dosapadu villages. The period he covers is the nineteen forties – an important period for Telangana when the Telangana peasant movement changed the face of this land. The author captures the nuances of rural life with the eyes of a child, recreating the everyday idiom of this region through proverbs and
songs, so many of them strung through the text, as in a traditional katha with the storyteller moving smoothly between prose and verse. There is a strong oral quality to the book, as if he were speaking aloud and in intimate dialogue with the reader.
The book ranges freely and widely over objects, people (groups and individuals), festivals and entertainment, poverty and politics, education, songs, stray encounters and it is one person’s sensibility (though an unobtrusive one) and his extraordinarily vivid memory that holds it all together. Lovers of autobiographies, scholars of rural lives and local histories and general readers will find this fascinating reading.
The world Krishnamurthy entered was one of hard labor, poverty, dirt, disease, and frequent early death. Yet, peoples' closeness with nature gave them great joy. Gossip, intrigue and conflict make up the several stories he tells in his book. Where the bigger picture is concerned, the book is a richly textured account of the life of a village child and his community caught up in the inexorable march of historical events.