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Nannaya – Translated A Part Of Mahabharata Into Telugu

Nannaya (1023 -1063 CE) stands as a pivotal figure in the literary history of Telugu. Born during the 11th century CE, he served as the court poet and priest to King Rajaraja Narendra of the Eastern Chalukya dynasty. His patronage and position afforded him the opportunity to undertake a monumental task: translating a portion of the Mahabharata into Telugu.

Commissioned by King Rajaraja Narendra himself, Nannaya embarked on the translation of the epic, beginning with the Adi Parva, Sabha Parva, and a portion of the Aranya Parva. However, the project remained unfinished during his lifetime, yet it laid a significant foundation for future literary endeavors in Telugu. The translation was later continued by Tikkana in the 13th century CE and Errapragada (Errana) in the 14th century CE. Telugu Translation of Mahabharata is known as Kavitraya Bharatamu.

While Nannaya's work was intended as a translation, he skillfully interwove his own narrative touches and stylistic nuances, effectively transforming it into more of a creative retelling rather than a strict rendering of the original text. This artistic license not only showcased Nannaya's literary prowess but also contributed to the richness and depth of Telugu literature.

Beyond his translation of the Mahabharata, Nannaya made indelible contributions to the development of the Telugu language itself. He authored the Andhra-shabda-chintamani, recognized as the first grammar text dedicated to Telugu, which provided a systematic framework for understanding and utilizing the language. Additionally, he is attributed with several other works such as Chamundika-vilas, Indra-vijayam, and Lakshmana-saram, although there is some scholarly debate regarding their authorship.

Nannaya's legacy endures not only through his literary achievements but also through his profound influence on subsequent generations of Telugu writers and scholars. His fusion of prose and poetry, coupled with his innovative storytelling techniques, laid the groundwork for the flourishing of Telugu literature and cemented his place as one of its foremost luminaries.