VIJAYAWADA: Noted lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, chess player Harika Dronavalli and agriculturist Yadlapalli Venkateswara Rao bagged the coveted Padma Shri awards. The Centre announced the Padma awards on Friday on the occasion of Republic Day. While Harika and Venkateswara Rao were selected from Andhra Pradesh, Seetharama Sastry was chosen for the award from the neighbouring Telangana.
Chembolu Seetharama Sastry, famous as Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, made his debut in legendary director K Viswanath’s movie ‘Janani Janmabhoomi’ in 1984.He became popular for the songs he penned for Viswanath’s ‘Sirivennela’, which was a musical hit. ‘Aadhi Bikshuvu’, one of the songs of the movie, won Nandi award for him. Seetharama Sastry has won 11 Nandi, four Filmfare and several other prestigious awards for his lyrics.
Seetharama Sastry is Viswanath’s first choice for his films mostly revolving around music and arts like ‘Sruthilayalu’, ‘Swarna Kamalam’, ‘Swati Kiranam’, ‘Subha Sankalpam’ and others.
Padma honour for 3 from AP, TS
His lyrics in commercial flicks too earned him name and fame. ‘Jagamanta Kutumbam Naadi’ from ‘Chakram, ‘ Ardha Satabdapu Agnananni Swatantram Andhama’ from ‘Sindhuram’, a film revolving around Naxalism, also won him accolades. Born at Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam district, Seetharama Sastry graduated from PR College in Kakinada.
Harika, who is the second Indian woman to win the Grandmaster title, is another Padma Shri awardee from AP. She started playing chess at the age of eight and made it as her career. Harika’s father is her first guru. She won the U14 World Youth Chess Championship at the age of 13, the U18 at 15, the U20 World Junior title at 17 and figured among the world top 10 when she was just 19. She represented India at Olympiad at the age of 13 in 2004. In the Women’s World Chess Championship in 2010, Harika made it to the quarterfinals.
Harika was born on January 12, 1991 in Guntur. She won three bronze medals in the Women’s World Chess Championship in 2012, 2015 and 2017. She was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2007–08.
In 2016, she won the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix at Chengdu, China, and rose to world No 5 in FIDE women’s ranking from No 11.
Another Padma Shri awardee, Yadlapalli Venkateswara Rao, hails from an agricultural family from Guntur district. With interest in agriculture, he started cultivation of their lands at a very young age.He also launched a popular magazine ‘Rythunestham’ in 2005, ‘Pasunestham’ in 2012 and ‘Prakruthi Nestham’ with focus on organic and natural farming in 2014. He also unveiled mobile apps on farming.
Venkateswara Rao also instituted Rythunestham Puraskaram annual awards for farmers and people who contribute to the development of agriculture, horticulture and allied fields.He set up Rythu Nestham Foundation in 2016, which focuses on educating farmers in organic and natural farming methods. Speaking to TNIE over phone, Venkateswara Rao expressed happiness over getting the coveted Padma Shri award.
“This award is not just for me alone but for the entire farming community and for all those who are working in agriculture and allied sectors. My family which supported me in my every step for the welfare of farmers, does deserve this award.”
CM Naidu congratulated the Padma awardees from the State and also hailed former President Pranab Mukherjee for getting Bharat Ratna.