The celebrated Telugu poet, writer, and journalist Sheik Khaja Hussain, popularly known as Devi Priya, passed away on Saturday morning. The 69-year-old 2017 Sahitya Akademi award winner died after a brief illness at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) hospital in Hyderabad. He was known for his politically satirical cartoons and poems. Devi Priya was suffering from severe diabetes, and had undergone an amputation of his leg on November 9 after a gangrene infection.
Devi Priya won a Sahitya Akademi award in 2017 for his book Gaali Rangu, which is an anthology of poems. He was most known for his work on "Running Commentary", a contemporary take on politics in the form of a satirical comic strip, which used to appear in the Telugu daily Udayam. These were later compiled into a book of the same name, and also briefly ran as a show for a couple of vernacular broadcast news channels.
The poet was known for his work as a journalist with Telugu publications like Udayam, Andhra Prabha and Hyderabad Mirror, as well as the English daily The Hans India. Devi Priya was also associated with the Telugu movie industry, penning lyrics for movies like Maa Bhoomi, Ragulutunna Bharatam and Pallaki. He had, over the years, published several books whose titles include Gareebi Geetaalu, Amma Chettu and Chepa Chiluka, among others.
The Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao mourned the death of the poet. The CM said that Devi Priya, through his writings, poetry and columns, tried to enhance social awareness. He added that among the works of Devi Priya, Gali Rangu stands apart as a representative work of his calibre as a writer. The CM conveyed his condolences to members of the bereaved family.
Devi Priya was a native of Tadikonda of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. His last rites will be held on Saturday evening at the Tirumalgherry burial ground. He is survived by his son and daughter.