Bujjai, the eminent cartoonist, writer, son of legendary Telugu poet Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, breathed his last much to the dismay of his admirers, many of them taking to internet to share their memories. He was part of the childhood for many through his cartoons and comics.
Our writer ARUNA RAVIKUMAR shares a memoir as a tiny tribute to one of the last of the legends
My earliest memories of him date back to my childhood when we visited his family in Madras along with my grandfather, a cousin of his father, the eminent poet Devulapalli Krishna Sastri. They lived in the same premises in Pithapuram and were close knit. We children sat on the floor and answered questions that the poet wrote out for us since he had lost his voice and could not speak. Devulapalli Subbaraya Sastri, his son who was better known by the name Bujjai, his pen name, was a quiet, reticent, soft -spoken man, very much in the shadows of his father although he was an illustrious cartoonist and writer himself.
The only son, he was home schooled and drew inspiration in sketching, learning the fine nuances of art from greats like Adavi Bapiraju, Mokkapati, Pilaka and Gokhale before charting his own course and introducing cartoon-based comics in India. His cartoons and stories were featured in eminent magazines in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English. His 80 -page pictorial book “Banisa Pilla” (slave girl) at the age of 17 became hugely popular launching him as an eminent cartoonist and story teller. Bujjai’s “Panchatantara” strip in the illustrated weekly went on uninterrupted for 5 years in the early 60’s making him a household name. However, it was “Dumbu” that was his most endearing creation with many households in the Telugu states including mine (an uncle of mine has the name) using this as a pet name for their children.
Outlining his relationship with his father to whom he was very devoted, was his book “Naanna-Nenu. Recipient of many central awards, Bujjai was conferred the “Bala Bandhu’ award when my mother Sharada Ashokavardhan was the Director of Jawahar Bal Bhavan. In his demise, we have lost another legendary figure who like other great personalities lives on through his work.