Many Indian-Christians have contributed to the Christian faith and witness. However, they remain unknown even to the Indian Church. Babu John Choudhary’s book, Purushottam Choudhary – Monarch of Telugu Christian Literature offers a glimpse of a humble servant who was the Emperor of Telugu Christian Literature (Andhra Kraistava Kavi Sarvabhoumudu)
Babu John uniquely draws our attention to the Father of Telugu Christian Poetry (Andhra Kraistava Kavita Pitamahudu) who has penned more than 100 literary works in Telugu.
Despite facing intense persecution and opposition from his family, Purushottam Chowdhary faithfully served Christ. The poet’s significance lies in his creative exploration of Christian life, thought and witness.
Purushottam’s Telugu Christian hymns and poems have contributed immensely to spirituality and charmed many. The poet has brilliantly summarized the Deity of Christ through his poems and his hymns provide insights into the peerless perfection and infinite love of Christ.
The concept of the humanity and divinity of Christ is explained for everyone – academics as well as ordinary believers. The poems and hymns have a devotional and literary quality and a rhythm that has appealed to successive generations.
Purushottam’s Christian experience and spirit-filled enthusiasm enlivens and uplifts many a drooping heart. Interestingly, his poetry is even likened to the famous writers like Pothana and his hymns to the great Thyagaraju.
Purushottam Choudhary was not an ordinary ‘run-of-the-mill’ Christian. His hymns continue to be a favourite in Telugu congregations across India. Moreover, Rev V S Azariah, former Bishop in Dornakal contends, “Christians and non-Christians alike appreciate the style and content of Purushottam Choudhary’s literary works”.
Babu John’s book is worth reading because it clearly demonstrates how Purushottam overcame challenges and achieved his life’s purpose. Perhaps, we can draw inspiration from Purushottam’s literary contribution and non-sectarian Christian spirit as we strive forward in our Christian life and service.
True, we are inheritors of a grand legacy of intense devotion and faithful witness. It is time we revisit the pages of history and consider the amazing lives and testimonies of many native Christians like Purushottam Choudhary.
Hanak Sahoo works at Barnabas Today and is based in Bangalore.