Four Padma Shri recipients hail from Telangana

Dasari Kondappa, Gaddam Sammaiah, Velu Ananda Chari and Kethavath Somlal received the fourth highest civilian award.
Four Padma Shri recipients hail from Telangana
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Four people from Telangana were conferred the Padma Shri awards for their distinguished services in art, literature and education. Burra Veena maestro Dasari Kondappa, Chindu Yakshaganam theatre artist Gaddam Sammaiah, sculptor Velu Ananda Chari and writer Kethavath Somlal are among five recipients of Padma Shri from Telangana.

Dasari Kondappa has been bestowed with the Padma Shri award for being the guardian of Burra Veena, an indigenous stringed instrument created using bamboo, gourd shell and metal strings. The 63-year-old Burra Veena maestro, who hails from Narayanpet district, is one of the last Burra Veena players who dedicated his life to indigenous art.

The third-generation Burra Veena player from Damaragidda village, he 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 is to play within their own community, Dasari went beyond to attract wider audiences.

Eminent Chindu Yakshaganam theatre artist from Jangaon, Gaddam Sammaiah received Padma Shri in the category of art (dance-Yakshagana). The 67-year-old has performed this heritage art for over five decades. He performed in over 19,000 plays delivering social messages on issues like total literacy and environmental protection.

He founded organisations Chindu Yaksha Kalakarula Sangham and Gaddam Sammaiah Yuva Skethram to promote this art. Hailing from a humble background, he worked as an agricultural labourer. 

A Velu Ananda Chari received one of the top honours 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.

A former advisor of the endowment department, he also worked on the renovation of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Yadadri from 2018 to 2022. The ancient temple was renovated by the previous BRS government at a cost of over Rs.1,800 crore.

Kethavath Somlal is another recipient of Padma Shri from Telangana this year. He was conferred the honour for his contribution to literature and education. The 64-year-old is a singer, lyricist, and writer in the Banjara language. He is known for translating 701 Bhagwad Gita slokas into Lambadi.

Kurella Vittalacharya was bestowed with 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. 

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