October 29, 2023

First of its kind in Telugu literature

We are born with caste and religion. We don't have a choice but they should be as much as they should be in human life. If we always remember the truth that there was once a system without any religion or caste for humans on this earth, we will understand to what extent we should care about religion and caste in life. This is a side. Also, there was a system where people got together and prospered even though there were many religions. That too should always be remembered. This is another side.
At present, there is no time to teach and explain these historical truths to children in schools. Narrowness prevails on all sides. He does not try to understand his own religion in a proper sense, beyond the word of God. Why do you try to understand other religions?
But writers who constantly think to develop humanitarian perspective and increase harmony in the society continue to make that effort through their works. It was in such an attempt that the novel "Vendi Megham" (Silver Cloud) came out from Salim's pen. As the caste system increased, the laborers in some occupations were looked down by the society. Because of this sort of ill-treatment, some people converted to other religions for self-respect.
Salim's Vendi Megham is a novel depicting the lives of the Dudekulas who converted to Islam. I did not know that the Dudekula community people are ironically called Laddhas and Adha Muslims. The novel Vendi Megham depicts the anguish of some people who studied in Dudekula community to call themselves Noor Bashis, and the novel unfolds all the agonies they are going through.

Being themselves Hindu for generations, of course, for self-respect and self-esteem, they accepted Islam, and with the same reason they cannot completely give up some Hindu traditions and live their lives in a wonderful combination of both. When I was a child, Saibulu used to sit in front of the door of the house and sing Tatwas while they were engaging in their work with cotton for mattresses. Why they were singing Tatwas though they were belonging to other fold, I was pondering and clueless then.
Later it came to be known that the Dudekulas were once Hindus. After reading this novel, I came to know that they are Noor Bhashis. I also understand that how they are struggling for their existence and dignity and which made me more clear after reading this novel. Learned about their way of life too.
Salim's Vendi Megham is the first novel in Telugu literature that comprehensively portrays the ways of life of Muslims and the social life of Dudekula community who struggle with poverty. There is a great need for reading such novels and writing more such novels in today's conditions of increasing hatred all over.

--- Rushinarada Subrahmanya Venkateswaran (Original Review in Telugu)
( Ex Branch Manager in The Supreme Court of India)

--- English Translation rendered by Murthy Kvvs

For Copies : Vendi Megham
(Silver Cloud) : A Telugu Novel by : Salim, (Available at Sri Vijayalakshmi Publications, Eluru Road, Vijayawada-2 :
Also available at Navodaya Book House, Kachiguda, Hyderabad) Price Rs. 200/-

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