Telugu writer gets top literary award

HYDERABAD - Ravuri Bharadwaja, a school drop-out from a poor family who went on to stride the Telugu literary scene like a colossus, has been selected for the Jnanpith award, the highest literary honour in the country.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2013, 1:04 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:58 PM

The 87-year-old literary giant was chosen for the award by a selection board chaired by noted poet Sitakant Mahapatra, according to a statement issued by the Jnanpith Award committee in New Delhi.

Known for his lucid writings without any ideological baggage and austere lifestyle, Bharadwaja has authored over 130 books, including 24 volumes of short stories, nine novels, four plays and five radio plays. He also wrote a number of books for children.

“Paakudu Rallu” (Slippery Stones), a graphic account of the life behind the glamour and gloss of the film industry, is considered his magnum opus. His other masterpiece is “Jeevana Samaram” (Life Struggle) and “Inupa Tera Venuka (Behind the iron curtain).

“I have no words to express my happiness for getting this recognition. I never imagined, even in the wildest of my dreams, that I will get Jnanpith award. Never did I seek or lobby for any awards,” said the frail author. Recalling his long years of struggle for livelihood and insults hurled at him because of his lack of formal education, Bharadwaja said “I am happy that some of my works are now the prescribed text books for post-graduate students.” He is the third Telugu writer to win the prestigious Jnanpith award. Legendary poet late Vishwanatha Satyanarayana and lyricist Dr C Narayana Reddy were the other recepients. The honour came to Telugu literature after a gap of nearly two decades.

Born in 1927 at Mogalturu in the coastal district of West Godavari, Bharadwaja later shifted to Tadikonda in Guntur district. Despite lack of formal education, he took to reading with passion and blossomed into a poet, playwright, novelist and a popular science writer.

His works, including “Kadambari”, “Pakudurallu”, “Jeevana Samaram”, “Inupa Tera Venuka” and “Koumudi” have been translated into major Indian languages and also into English.

He had also received Sahitya Akademi Award, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Balsahitya Parishad Award and Honorary D. Litt from Nagarjuna University. He had worked in All India Radio for several years.

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