Renowned Telugu poet, Kendra Sahitya Academy award winner Devi Priya dies at 69

Renowned Telugu poet, journalist, scriptwriter and Kendra Sahitya Academy award winner Sheik Khaja Hussain, popularly known as Devi Priya, died of brief illness in Hyderabad on Saturday, his family members said.

He was 69 and is survived by two sons. The veteran poet was suffering from severe diabetes and had undergone amputation of his left leg on November 9 because of gangrene.

Later, he developed sepsis and had been on a ventilator for the last two days. He breathed his last at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences at around 7.10 am.

Born on August 15, 1951, at Tadikonda of Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, Devi Priya worked as journalist with popular Telugu dailies like Udayam, Andhra Prabha and Hyderabad Mirror, besides English daily The Hans India.

He had also run a poetic cartoon strip in the name of “Running Commentary” in Udayam and Andhra Jyothy Telugu dailies which was a big hit because of their punch and satire at the contemporary politics.

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He also penned lyrics for several Telugu films like award-winning “Rangula Kala”, “Ragulutunna Bharatam”, and “Pallaki.”

Devi Priya had been associated with Telugu literary movements since the early ‘70s and penned several compilations of poems, including Amma Chettu (mother tree), Neeti Putta (the watery pit), Chepa Chiluka (fish parrot), Tuphanu Tummeda (stormy petrel), Gareebu Geetaalu (poor man’s songs), Samajananda Svaami, among others.

He received Kendra Sahitya Akademy award for his book “Gaali Rangu” (colour of wind) in 2017. He named his residence at Alwal in Hyderabad after his first compilation of poems ‘Amma Chettu’.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao mourned the death of Devi Priya. He said Priya had created an awareness in the society about social issues through his writings, poetry and columns.

The chief minister said among the works of Devi Priya, ‘Gali Rangu’ stands apart as a representative work of his calibre as a writer. He conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.

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