Hyderabad: Renowned Telugu poet, journalist, scriptwriter and Central Sahitya Akademi 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.
He was suffering from severe diabetes and had undergone amputation of his left leg on November 9 because of gangrene early this month. He later developed sepsis and had been on 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, Devi Priya worked as a journalist with popular Telugu dailies like Udayam, Andhra Prabha and Hyderabad Mirror, besides English daily The Hans India. His cartoon strip titled ‘Running Commentary’ in Udayam and Andhra Jyothy Telugu dailies was a big hit because of their punch and satire of contemporary politics.
Devi Priya is credited with introducing a new genre of writings in Telugu called ‘Paigambara Kavulu’ in contrast to the Digambara movement of the 1960s. He was associated with Telugu literary movements since the early ‘70s and penned several compilations of poems, including Amma Chettu, Neeti Putta, Chepa Chiluka, Tuphanu Tummeda, Gareebu Geetaalu and Samajananda Svaami, among others.
He also penned lyrics for several Telugu films like award-winning “Rangula Kala,” “Ragulutunna Bharatam,” and “Pallaki.”
He received the Kendra Sahitya Akademi 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 Devi Priya, a well-known poet, writer, journalist and Central Sahitya Academy award winner, had created 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 caliber as a writer. He conveyed his condolences to members of the bereaved family.