My personal connect with Kavayatri Mollamamba started with a ekapatrabhinaya competition in school where I played the role of this immortal poetess. Reading her poems give me the same goosebumps as I get when I read Pothanamatya’s Bhagawatam.
Ramayana has always occupied a special place in the literary sphere of India. Translations and reconstructions happened over millennia with each version throwing a light on contemporary issues from the perspective of the epic.
When one remembers the Telugu versions of Ramayana, two of them one by Gona Budharaja (Reddy) and the one by Atukuri Mollamamba stand out. Mollamamba reminds us of the reach of literature in her era (Vijayanagara period). Another Telugu poetess to receive equivalent acclaim by Western historians is Muddu Palani (author of Radhika Santvanam) who was in the Court of Tanjavur King, Raghunatha Nayaka.
Life and Times
Mollamamba or Molla was the daughter of Kesana Setti who was a potter by profession. The name indicates that they belonged to the Vysya community. Earlier historians placed her as a contemporary of Tikkana Somayaji during the times of Kakatiya empire. But, Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu in his ‘Andhra Kavula…
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