Dr. Gurram Joshua's Gabbilam: The Gift To God

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Dr.Gurram Joshua (1885-1971), a self-made poet of high order, produced monumental poetry, a source of inspiration for the oppressed and suppressed people to strive to ascertain their inalienable human rights. Joshua rose from the gutter to great literary heights to become a venerable messiah of the downtrodden people. He will be ever-remembered and his poetry celebrated by the freedom loving and justice –seeking people. His “Gabbilam” (Bat) is a modern epic. Joshua’s selection of the bird bat as his messenger to Lord Siva is highly symbolic. Joshua’s petition to God, sent through the bat was on behalf of the entire Dalit people. Joshua’s bird- messenger travelled from Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, progressing through several towns and places in Andhra Pradesh (including Guntur), Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to the abode of Lord Siva in the Himalayas. Thus Gabbilam acquires a more national and even a universal character. ….The translator, Sri.K.Madhava Rao rightly guages, “What hurt Joshua the most all throughout his life were religious discrimination and the inhuman practice of untouchability. It is this anguish and pain that fired his imagination to write Gabbilam. Joshua has spoken for the entire lot of dispossessed people. Is there a place where religious congregations preach tolerance? Hailing from a similar social background as that of the poet, Madhava Rao could convey the spirit of the original poetry in English.

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