Gurram Jashuva's Gabbilam: A Poetic Masterpiece in Telugu Literature
Gurram Jashuva (1895-1971) was a renowned Telugu poet who wrote about social issues, caste discrimination, and human values. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modern Telugu poetry and a major influence on many contemporary writers. One of his most famous works is Gabbilam (The Bat), a long narrative poem that depicts his journey to Sabarimala, a Hindu pilgrimage site in Kerala.
Gabbilam was first published in two parts, in 1948 and 1954, and later collected in a single volume. The poem is divided into 24 chapters, each representing a stage of Jashuva's spiritual quest. The bat, which is considered an impure and cursed creature in Hindu mythology, serves as both a symbol and a companion for the poet, who also faces social ostracism and rejection because of his low caste. The bat also represents the poet's critical voice, questioning the hypocrisy and injustice of the society and religion.
The poem is rich in imagery, metaphors, and allegories, drawing from various sources such as folklore, history, mythology, and philosophy. Jashuva uses a variety of poetic forms and meters, ranging from classical to folk, to convey his emotions and thoughts. The poem also showcases his mastery of Telugu language, using different dialects and registers to suit the context and characters. The poem is widely praised for its lyrical beauty, philosophical depth, and social relevance.
Gabbilam is considered a masterpiece of Telugu literature and a landmark in modern Indian poetry. It has been translated into several languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Urdu. It has also inspired many adaptations and interpretations in various media such as drama, film, music, and art.
If you are interested in reading Gabbilam, you can download the pdf version from the following sources:
Gabbilam (Part 2) by Gurram Jashuva (Source: Internet Archive)
Jashuva Rachanalu Modati Sampatam-Gabbilam by Gurram Jashuva (Source: Internet Archive)
Gurram Jashuva Gabbilam Pdf Download (Source: Sway Office)
In this article, we will explore some of the major themes and motifs of Gabbilam, and how they reflect Jashuva's vision and message.
The Bat as a Symbol of Oppression and Resistance
One of the most striking features of Gabbilam is the use of the bat as a central symbol and character. The bat is traditionally associated with darkness, evil, and impurity in Hindu culture. It is also considered a lowly and despised creature, unfit for worship or respect. Jashuva, who belonged to the Madiga caste, one of the lowest and most oppressed castes in the Hindu hierarchy, identifies with the bat and makes it his companion and guide. He also challenges the negative stereotypes and prejudices attached to the bat, and shows its positive and noble qualities.
The bat represents Jashuva's sense of alienation and isolation from the mainstream society and religion, which discriminate against him and his community on the basis of caste. The bat also symbolizes his courage and defiance, as he refuses to accept the unjust social order and seeks to change it. The bat is also a source of wisdom and insight, as it questions the irrational and illogical aspects of Hinduism, such as idolatry, ritualism, superstition, and casteism. The bat also exposes the corruption and hypocrisy of the priests, rulers, and elites, who exploit and oppress the masses in the name of religion.
The bat also serves as a contrast and a foil to other animals and birds that appear in the poem, such as the cow, the elephant, the peacock, the swan, and the eagle. These animals are revered and respected in Hindu culture, but they are also shown to be selfish, arrogant, ignorant, or violent. Jashuva uses irony and satire to criticize the blind faith and false pride that people have in these animals, while ignoring or despising the bat.
The Journey as a Metaphor for Spiritual Quest
Another major theme of Gabbilam is the journey that Jashuva undertakes to Sabarimala, a sacred hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in Kerala. The journey is not only a physical one, but also a metaphor for Jashuva's spiritual quest. He seeks to find God and truth beyond the conventional and orthodox forms of Hinduism that he finds unsatisfying and oppressive. He also seeks to find his own identity and dignity as a human being beyond the labels and limitations imposed by caste.
The journey is full of challenges and obstacles, both external and internal. Jashuva faces hostility and rejection from various people and places that he encounters on his way. He also faces doubts and fears within himself about his purpose and destiny. He also faces temptations and distractions that try to divert him from his path. However, he also finds support and encouragement from some unexpected sources, such as nature, art, music, literature, history, philosophy, and other religions. He also finds solace and joy in his friendship with the bat.
The journey is also a process of learning and transformation for Jashuva. He learns from his experiences and observations about various aspects of life, society, culture, religion, morality, politics, etc. He also learns from his dialogues and debates with the bat about various issues and questions that trouble him. He also learns from his own introspection and reflection about his feelings and thoughts. He also changes his views and attitudes on some matters as he progresses on his journey. He also grows in his faith and devotion to God as he approaches Sabarimala.
The Poem as a Critique of Hinduism
A third major theme of Gabbilam is the critique of Hinduism that Jashuva offers through his poem. Jashuva was born into a Hindu family but he was dissatisfied with many aspects of Hinduism that he found irrational or unjust. He was especially critical of casteism which denied him basic human rights such as education access equality dignity etc. He was also critical of idolatry which reduced God to mere stone or metal objects that could be manipulated or corrupted by human beings. He was also critical of ritualism which made religion a mechanical or commercial affair devoid of true spirituality or morality.
Jashuva expresses his critique of Hinduism through various means in his poem such as irony satire sarcasm allegory parody etc. He mocks ridicules exposes or denounces various practices beliefs customs myths legends etc that he finds absurd or harmful in Hinduism. He also compares contrasts or 0efd9a6b88