"I have learnt many lessons from this world and am still learning. Life has taught me several bitter truths and is still teaching me those. One should have the passion to learn. If one has it, one can learn anything from anyone. I have learnt what to do from good people and what not to do from others," says Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja.
The life of the top-notch Telugu writer and Jnanpith awardee for 2012 is an example to future generations
Dr Bharadwaja was born to Kotaiah and Mallikamba at Mogulur village in Paritala Jagir in the erstwhile Hyderabad state on July 5, 1927. He grew up and had early education at Tadikonda village in Guntur district. While in 8th class a humiliating incident took place. Unable to bear it, he threw the books at the headmaster and left the school never to return to it.
He learnt dignity of labour very early in life and worked in diverse fields as an agricultural labourer, cowherd, sawer, paperboy, activist of a youth organisation, compositor in a press and also as a manager of a press.
He started writing short stories at the age of 17 and worked for several periodicals and journals such as Zameen Rythu, Deenabandhu, Jyoti, Rerani, Abhisarika, Chitraseema, Cinema and Yuva.
Bharadwaja's first published story was Vimala. It was published in Prajamitra in the last week of August 1946. His first book, Ragini, was published in 1950. Legendary writer Chalam wrote the introduction fot it. His second published work was Kotta Chigullu, a collection of stories, which he dedicated to Chalam.
So far, 172 books of Bharadwaja have been published, and several of them have been translated into various languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarati. He wrote more than 40 books on simple science.
Bharadwaja has won the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi awards in 1968 and 1983. He also won the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award in 1983. He won the Soviet Land Nehru award in 1987, Raja Lakshmi Foundation award in the same year, New Delhi Telugu Akademi award in 1993, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishat of Kolkata award and the Telugu University awards also in the same year, and the Babul Reddy award in 1995.
Among the many honours he received were the Atma Gaurava Puraskaram of the Andhra Pradesg government and the Visishta Puraskaram from the Telugu University. In 2007 he was houred with the Kala Ratna puraskaram by the Andhra Pradesh State Cultural Council. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Andhra University in 1980, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in 1987 and Nagarjuna University in 1991. Scores of students have done and several more are doing research on Bharadwaja's works for their M.Phil and Ph.D theses at seven universities.
The eminent Telugu writer, who could just identify English Alphabets before 1948, mastered the language with determination all by himself in later years.
His better half, Kantamma garu, passed away on August 1, 1986. Whoever mentions that date, Bharadwaja would say, "It was the unfortunate day on which I lost my life partner and torch-bearer." He believes that her death has changed the very course of his life. Bharadwaja, who began writing his diary since 1956, wrote how much agony he suffred at his wife's passing away and the vicissitudes of life he experienced thereafter. Two of his close friends compiled his musings over his departed wife and brought them out in book form in five volumes which are considered five Maha Kavyas and which fetched him the praise as the greatest writer of memoirs of this century.
Dr Bharadwaja joined the All India Radio in 1959 and retired in 1987. The first radio feature broadcast by the Vijayawada radio station was Nikasham in the 1950s.
Short story, novel and simple science stories are close to his heart.
Dr Bharadwaja provided money to five universities for conducting Kantamma Gari Memorial lectures and award of medals to meritorious students. He also set up Srimati Ravuri Kantamma Bharadwaja Trust to felicitate outstanding women who make significant contribution in different fields.
"I know hunger. I know non-education. I also know insult, injustice, irregularities, adharma and unemployment. I have experienced all such things in ample measure. Therefore, I fervently long for a society without all these ills,'' says the writer, a legend of our times.