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72nd Republic Day: Four from Telugu States get Padma Awards

The Government of India, ahead of the 72nd Republic Day, announced the Padma Awards considered the highest civilian awards in the country.  Meanwhile, 7 of them have been honoured with Padma Vibhushan posthumously. Singer S.P. Balasubramaniam and Dr. Monappa Hegde (cardiologist and VC of Manipal University) are among the Padmavibhushan awardees. 
 
Of the 119 awardees, four people from the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have made it to the list. 
 
Rama Swamy Annavarapu, Prakasa Rao Asavadi and Nidumolu Sumathi from Andhra Pradesh while Kanaka Raju from Telangana have been honoured with the awards. While three of the recipients have been named under the Arts category, Prakasa Rao Asavadi has been named under the arts and literature category.
 
Here’s a brief about each of the awardees from Telugu States:
 
Dr. Asavadi Prakasarao - Literature
 

Dr Asavadi Prakasarao, who hails from Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, is a Dalit Hindu author known for his poetry and prose works. He has been bestowed the Padma Shri honour in the Arts and Literature category. He has authored around 50 books in various genres which include prose, poetry, anthologies and commentaries. He has been widely commended and recognised for his contribution to the literary world. He has been honoured with more than 75 state level awards. The author set up a free library which consists of a wide range of books on various subjects, in Penukonda, which is his hometown.
 
Rama Swamy Annavarapu - Music
 
Rama Swamy, who is a famous classical Indian violinist from Andhra Pradesh, has been named as a Padma Shri awardee under the Arts category. Born in 1926 in Eluru’s Somavarappadu, he began learning music at a very early age under music maestros such as Maganti Jagannadham Chowdary and later from Sri Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu of Vijayawada.
 
Being a well-known violinist, Rama Swamy is proficient both as solo performer and accompanist. He has performed widely, and has accompanied most of the eminent artists of his time. He worked as a Staff Artiste with the All India Radio (AIR) for nearly 40 years before retiring in 1986.
 
The 96-year-old first generation musician has trained many students in various music instruments such as violin, flute and the veena. He is believed to have trained several students completely free of cost. He is known to have invented new Ragas and Talas such as Vandana Raga, Sri Durga Raga and Tinetradi Tala and Vedadi Tala. Among other honours, he received the Fellowship of Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Akademi in 1983. 
 
Nidumolu Sumathi - Music
 
Nidumolu Sumathi is known for being the first woman in the country to storm the male-dominated field of professional mridangam players. She is the daughter of Nidumolu Raghavayya, who was an expert at playing the mridangam. Her father had a great fascination for Dadamudi Ramamohan Rao’s style of playing the percussion and admitted Sumathi under his tutelage.
 
Sumathi had a strong passion for the percussion instrument and practiced for hours to master the art. She later went on to marry Dandamudi. Even today, Sumathi recollects him as a treasure house of knowledge and as an expert percussionist. They had performed together at several katcheris. She went on to set up Laya Vedika, now named in memory of her husband Dandamudi Ramamohana Rao.
 
Kanaka Raju - Arts
 
Kanaka Raju, who is honoured with the Padma Shri award in the Arts category, is the only recipient of the Padma awards from the state of Telangana. He belongs to Kumarambheem-Asifabad district. This is not the first time that Kanaka Raju, from Marlavai village, is being nationally recognised for his prowess in the dance form. He had earlier participated in the Republic Day parade and performed Gussadi, when late APJ Abdul Kalam was the President of India.

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