Monday, August 10, 2009

Perepa P.C. Joshi

People in my age group are falling one by one and it may be time to pay some tribute to my old friend Perepa Joshi, named after Puran Chand Joshi. It was a friendship formed accidentally in Hyderabad. I was rebellious about university courses, was in and out of college, finally decided to complete a degree and landed in Hyderabad with very little money. Joshi's father Perepa Mrityumjayudu was shot dead in 48-49 in Telangana struggle ans some of his colleagues like Pucchalapalli Sundarayya, Chandra Rajeswara Rao who felt grateful that he did not reveal their whereabouts took interest in Joshi's welfare and started helping with his education. We ended up in the same college and rented a triangular room which we shared with a fellow student. We duly completed our degrees and went our separate ways. Once in a while I would try to look him up in Hyderabad. On one such occasion I found that he was already married and living with his children in a small room made under a stair case. Later I heard that he became manager of the Visalandhra Publishing House and visited him a few times in Vijayawada. He always seemed poor (but is reasonably comfortable now), did not have his own house but was always cheerful, talking of books, publishing and editing Gurajada and others. I kept running him in to various places, in Mumbai, Delhi, Chicago and once on a flight to UK. At some stage, he seemed to quit the hurly burly of publishing for others. A contractor friend forced him to buy a small house with deferred payments. Meanwhile children completed their studies. Joshi decided to start his own publishing house and publish old telugu books for which copy rights have expired.
I have not really kept in touch with him in early days. It is a friendship which grew over years. I still do not know what sort of communist denomination he belongs to. But over years, there have been many conversations, particularly about Telugu literaray figures many of whom he knew personally from Visvanatha Satyanarayana, Arudra to Kutumba Rao others. He had some guesses about the change in Visvanatha possibly due to the ill-treatment in in the Christian college he taught and many stories about publishing, how Gurajada's manuscripts were put in two trunks and carted around when communists were umderground for fear that they may be burnt when some houses were set on fire by the police. Recently he had a stroke. I hope that somebody in Hyderabad will find out more about these stories which may be lost.
He is a man with strong beliefs and integrity and who with his wife Lalita( another admirable person who has spent a lot of her life in social work. On the last trip she was telling me of the lot of poor muslims in Hyderabad; how a mother and her daughter had only one proper set of clothes and only one of them could go out at a time)contributed to the welfare of people around them in various places. I hope that he will recover soon and spread his cheerfulness around for a long time.

1 comment:

readerswords said...

Prof Swarup: We spent a day with PPC and his wife at their house the other day and despite the severe health problems, it was very reassuring to see both of them in a cheerful mood.