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Suravaram's Portrayal Of Women in Stories

Suravaram Pratap Reddy was a pioneering modern Telugu writer who encouraged others to write as well. He used pseudonyms like ‘Chitragupta’, ‘Bhavakavi Ramamurthy’, ‘Yugapati’, and ‘Simha’ for his works, which were widely published in magazines like "Golconda" and "Sujatha". His collection of 24 stories includes 11 under the title "Moghalai Kathalu", first published in 1940.

Suravaram's stories are notable for their realistic portrayal of society, especially the condition of women. In stories like ‘Hussain Bee’, ‘Mehdi Begum’, ‘Khismaat’, and ‘Vinta Vidhakulu’, he highlights the struggles and exploitation of women in a male-dominated society.

In "Gyara Kaddu Bara Kotwal", a poor farmer tries to sell eleven gourds, but various officials take them away without payment. Eventually, the farmer exploits the system to his advantage, becoming a respected figure. This story depicts how even the most innocent can become cunning due to circumstances.

"Hussain Bee" tells the story of Kamakshi, who is deceived by a swami and later rejected by her parents. She marries a Muslim and becomes Hussain Bee, showing how destitute women often convert to other religions for survival.

"Mehdi Begum" narrates the plight of a wealthy woman who elopes with a servant, only to be abandoned and forced into prostitution. It highlights the helplessness of women who fall into such traps.

In "Khismaat", a young girl lost in childhood is forced into prostitution in Lahore. Despite her talent as an artist, she is exploited for profit. The story ends with her willing her property to an orphan girl, emphasizing her compassion despite her circumstances.

"Vinta Vidhakulu" showcases a Hindu woman, Kamalamma, who converts to Islam to obtain a divorce, as there were no divorce laws for Hindus at that time. The story interweaves the emotions of Nambi Narasimhulu and the thoughts of Husainappa and Mallamma.

Suravaram's stories are not only realistic but also progressive, especially in their portrayal of women. They criticize societal norms that restrict women's freedom and emphasize the need for their education and empowerment. He believed that women should have the same rights as men, including the right to divorce and remarry.

His use of Telangana dialect and regional idioms adds authenticity to his stories. Words like "wapasu", "jama", "khajana", "khali", "naukari", "jumma", and regional phrases like "erkali", "manum", "paikam", "urukane", enrich the narrative.

Suravaram's modern perspective is evident in his advocacy for women's rights and his critique of traditional and superstitious practices. His stories remain relevant and impactful, providing a voice for the marginalized and highlighting the need for social reform.


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