Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja, popular Telugu writer and Jnanpith awardee for 2012, died here on Friday. He was 87.
There were hundreds of novelists in Telugu literature but Ravuri stood out as he was the only novelist to get the prestigious Jnanpith award for a novel, Pakudu Rallu. The two other Jnanpith awards for Telugu were given, one for classical poetry and the other for modern poetry.
Last Friday, on October 11, Ravuri was presented the Jnanpith at a simple function in Delhi. Soon after his return, he fell ill due to multiple health problems. He was admitted to a private hospital here for treatment for diabetes, BP, kidney trouble, infection in stomach and other problems.
Bharadwaja born on July 5, 1927 at Moguluru in Krishna district, which part of the then Hyderabad State. Later, he migrated to Guntur district. The greatness of Ravuri was that though he was a school dropout (he studied only up to eighth class), his books were prescribed as textbooks. He had experienced abject poverty and it was one of the reasons for him to discontinue his studies.
One day when his school teacher wanted him to come in a neat uniform as there was an inspection of the class, Ravuri went in a casual dress. When the teacher scolded him, Ravuri said he was poor and could not afford expensive clothes. Saying so, he threw his books on the face of the teacher and went away never to return to the school.
But, later, the entire universe became Ravuri’s classroom. He studied the society in depth and understood poverty and other problems. The surroundings awakened a great writer in Ravuri at an early age. He worked as a technician, agricultural labourer and did other menial jobs to fend his family as an elder son. He observed people from close quarters and started writing on the conditions prevailing in the society of the day.
Ravuri began his career as a sub-editor with Zameen Rytu and joined All India Radio in 1959. He also worked for various periodicals.
Ravuri started penning short stories at a tender age of 17 years. His first published story was Vimala and his first book Ragini (1950). Initially, Ravuri was under the influence of Chalam. But, slowly he developed his own style and carved a niche in Telugu literature.
He received Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi award twice, first in 1968 and again in 1983. He also got the prestigious Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award in 1983. He was the first recipient of the Gopichand award in 1968, Telugu University award in 1981 and Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad of Kolkata award in 1993.
MS Reddy produced the film, O Prema Katha, in 1987 based on Bharadwaja’s story Karimingina Velagapandu. His Jeevana Samaram, a sketch on different caste professions, was a marvellous work. Ravuri had to his credit more than 37 volumes of short stories and 17 novels.
When he was selected for Jnanpith in Apirl, Ravuri reacted in a humble manner: “I feel like having been blessed with a healthy son after remaining childless for a decade. I am at a loss for words.
I struggled for food and clothing. I never craved for awards. Of course, I am happy to get this award.”
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, N Chandrababu Naidu, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy mourned Ravuri.