Five personalities from Telangana have been conferred the Padma Shri for their distinguished services in their respective fields of art and literature & education.
Dasari Kondappa has been bestowed with the Padma Shri award for being the guardian of the Burra Veena, an indigenous stringed instrument created using bamboo, gourd shell and metal strings. The 63-year-old hailing from Narayanpet is said to be one of the last Burra Veena players who dedicated his life to the indigenous art.
A third generation Burra Veena player from Damaragidda village in Narayanpet district, he has dedicated his life to preserving the art form for over 50 years.
He sings ‘Tatavalu’ socio-religious moral compositions and spiritual-philosophical renditions in Telugu and Kannada. While the custom of Burra Veena artists is to play within their own community, Dasari went beyond to attract wider audiences.
Eminent Chindu Yakshaganam theatre artist from Jangaon, Gaddam Sammaiah has been nominated for Padma Shri in the category of art (dance - Yakshagana). The 67-year-old has performed this heritage art form for over five decades. He has performed in over 19,000 plays delivering social messages on issues like total literacy and environment protection. He founded the Chindu Yaksha Kalakarula Sangham and Gaddam Sammaiah Yuva Skethram to promote this art.
Hailing from a humble background, he worked as an agriculture labourer. He learnt the art form from his parents who were both Chindu Yakshaganam artists.
The Padma Shri has been conferred upon A Velu Ananda Chari for his distinguished services in the field of art. The 71-year-old is a master Stapathi sculptor who has crafted over 1,000 temples globally.
Kethavath Somlal is another recipient of the Padma Shri from Telangana. He receives the honour for his contribution to literature and education. The 64-year-old is a renowned Lambadi author known for translating 701 Bhagwad Gita slokas into Lambadi.
Kurella Vittalacharya has also been conferred the Padma Shri for literature and education. The 85-year-old is a distinguished Telugu poet and author from Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district. He established libraries across villages and authored 22 books.
Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy and Union Minister for Arts and Culture G Kishan Reddy congratulated all the award winners.