THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “Y S Rajasekhara Reddy will become the pillar stone of Andhra politics,” wrote Vrindavanam Venugopalan 17 years ago. His prophetic words turned out to be true after a few years. But, nobody could forsee that pillar would collapse so soon.
Venugopalan had penned the biography of Y S Raja Reddy, father of Rajasekhara Reddy and an eminent industrialist of Kadappa.
The biography titled ‘Y S Raja Reddy’, published in 1992, told the world the story of the rise of Raja Reddy who had been hailed as the ‘Tiger of Kadappa’.
“In fact, it was hard to dissociate the story of Raja Reddy from that of Rajasekhara Reddy. Rajasekhara was the most favourite son of Raja Reddy who had pinned high hopes on him,’’ Venugopalan told ‘Express’ over phone from his residence at Ayathil, Kollam.
An interesting anecdote in the book is the story behind the birth of YSRR hospital at Pulivendula where free treatment is offered to villagers. The YSRR hospital was established by Raja Reddy so that his son Rajasekhara Reddy can stay back in their ancestral village without compromising his medical career. Being an ethical businessman, Raja Reddy didn’t want to make any profit out of the hospital. There were a school, poly technique and junior college as well at Pulivendula managed by Raja Reddy. They offered free education to the children of villagers.
Venugopalan had been working as a teacher of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Yerraguntala when he first met Raja Reddy.
“When my eldest son Sanjayan fell ill, I took him to YSRR hospital. I was surprised to know that the treatment was absolutely free. I wanted to meet the great man who founded that hospital,’’ said Venugopalan. The meeting developed into a long-lasting friendship.
Penning a biography was the idea of Venugopalan. Raja Reddy became curious when he knew that Venugopalan had penned the biography of the then Kerala Chief Minister K.Karunakaran. Karunakaran’s son Muraleedharan and Raja Reddy’s son Rajasekhara Reddy were first time MPs and colleagues in Parliament.
“I had met Raja Reddy and almost all his family members, including sons George Reddy, Rajasekhara Reddy and Vivekananda Reddy, in connection with the work. Raja Reddy was very kind towards me and used to send us new clothes on the birthdays of my sons every year,’’ recalled Venugopalan.
The book ‘Y.S.Raja Reddy’ was released by the then MP and the present Minister of State for Steel A.Sai Prathap in 1992. Recently, the family of YSR contacted Venu with a proposal to translate the book to Telugu.
After retirement, Venugopalan came back to Kerala and settled in Kollam where he had worked as a government servant and as a journalist prior to his empolyment in KV. Venugopal had worked in Kaumudi and Kerala Kaumudi before managing and editing ‘Viswakeralam’ daily.