Dr. Ravuri Bharadwaja

Our Biography
Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja
Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja is the third Telugu literary giant to win the nation's highest literary award, Jnanpith, for the year 2012. The first to win was Dr Viswanatha Satyanarayana for his magnum opus poetic work, Ramayana Kalpavriksham, and later Dr C Narayana Reddy won it for Viswambhara. Interestingly, Bharadwaja has been selected last month for the award not for any particular work but for his total contribution to the enrichment of Telugu literature. The media, however, put out stories that Bharadwaja's outstanding novel, Pakudurallu, fetched him the award.
Early Life
Bharadwaja was born to Ravuri Kotaiah and Mallikamba in a humble family at Moguluru, a Krishna district village in the then Paritala jagir of the Hyderabad state ruled by the Nizams. He studied up to 8th class at Tadikonda in Guntur district and could not study further due to his family's abject poverty. As a responsible eldest son, he decided to take up a job to help his parents run the show.

At a tender age of 15 years, he understood the dignity of labour and did odd jobs to support the family. He worked as a technician during the Second World War period, and later worked on the fields, in factories, printing presses and even orphanages. While he worked he read voraciously, His odd jobs gave him opportunities to observe different people and different situations from close quarters. His self-education, coupled with this practical observation of life, laid a strong foundation for his future accomplishments and paved the way for the emergence of a versatile writer.
His Career
In 1946 Bharadwaja went to Nellore to undergo training at a youth camp. There he got an opportunity to join the editorial staff of Zameen Rytu, a popular local Telugu weekly. His joy found no bounds as he joined a profession dear to his heart. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and proved himself a successful writer and journalist. His brilliance and devotion to duty took him to Dina Bandhu, another weekly in Nellore, where he was entrusted with total editorial responsibilities. There too he came out with flying colours. With his fame spreading wide, he was invited to Tenali in 1949 to work for Jyoti, Rerani, Abhisarika and Chitraseema monthlies being published from Madras, and for Yuva being published from Hyderabad. He later worked for Sameeksha, a monthly published from Tenali.

A decade later, 1959 to be precise, he joined the All India Radio at Hyderabad as a Junior Script Writer at the instance of famous writer Gopichand. In 1975 he was elevated to the post of Producer of Spoken Word programmes. He held that post till his retirement in 1987.
His Works
Ravuri Bharadwaja took to writing as duck takes to water at a very young age of 17 years and he chose short story to begin with. His first published story was titled, Vimala. It was published in Praja Mitra in the last week of August, 1946.

His first book, Ragini, was published in 1950. The fact that legendary writer Gudipati Venkata Chalam wrote the foreword for it placed the young and fledgling writer among the pantheon of leading Telugu litterateurs of the time. The insatiable urge of the writer in him made him come out soon with his second book, Kotta Chigullu, a collection of stories, which he promptly dedicated to Chalam.

There has been no looking back for Bharadwaja ever since and 172 masterpieces _ short stories, novels, plays, essays, scientific tales, biographies, etc _ flowed fluently from his pen during his long and illustrious literary journey. He also dabbled in poetry and wrote several poems. But it was his flair for story-telling, lucid style, the mosaic of social setting and simple, yet effective, language that stood him as the tallest writer in the post-Tripuraneni Gopichand era.

Though he had initially been seen in the mould of Chalam and reckoned as his successor, Bharadwaja came out of Chalam's influence and made his own mark with his distinctive and inimitable diction, etching of characters and narration of story. His novels _ Kadambari, Pakudurallu and Jeevana Samaram _ have been acclaimed as his most outstanding works. The most popular of them, of course, is Pakudurallu which has the film industry as its background. His portrayal of the murky and shady things in the tinsel world was a sensation and eye-opener as well.

Bharadwaja developed the habit of writing diary as early as 1956. When his wife left him and this world for her heavenly abode on August 1,1986, Bharadwaja was a shattered man. The separation of his dear one, with whom he shared the joys and sorrows in life and who stood by him throughout his life especially during the initial days of struggle for subsistence, gave him pangs. This made the natural writer pen memoirs in his diary. In the later years, two of his close friends chanced upon the diary and brought his memoirs out in five published volumes which are considered his Pancha Maha Kavyas that gave him the label as the century's greatest writer of memoirs.

Much much earlier, in the 50s, his first radio feature, Nikasham, had been broadcast on the All India Radio by the Vijayawada station.
Awards and Honours
The eminent Telugu writer, who made a modest foray into literary world at the prime age of 17 years, reached the pinnacle of glory at the ripe age of 86 years when he was selected last month for the most-coveted and nation's highest literary award, Jnanpith, for 2012. It is a rare honour in the sense that he becomes the first ever literary giant to receive the award for a work other than poetry.

The awards and honours that were bestowed on Bharadwaja are too many to make a count. He received the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi award twice, first in 1968 and again in 1983. He also received the prestigious Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award in 1983. He was the first recipient of the Gopichand award in 1968. Some of the other notable awards he received were the Yuva Sahiti Samiti award in 1970, Soviet Land Nehru award and the maiden award presented by the Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, both in 1987. These were followed by the Telugu University award in 1981, and the award of the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad of Kolkata in 1993.

The string of awards also contains the Babul Reddy award (1995), Andhra Pradesh government's Atma Gaurava Puraskar and Telugu University's Visishta Puraskar. The Andhra Pradesh State Cultural Council honoured him with Kala Ratna title in 2007. His writings fetched him such recognition that three major universities conferred honorary doctorates on him _ Andhra University in 1980, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in 1987 and the Acharya Nagarjuna University in 1991. Awards and honours continued to rain on him in the new century too. He was presented the Vanguri Foundation of America award in 2011, the Gopichand National Sahitya award in the same year, and the Bala Sahitya Parishad and Boyi Bheemanna Sahiti Nidhi awards in 2012. Bharadwaja's writings are recognized as standard works so much so that students are doing research on his works at seven universities for their M.Phil and Ph.D theses.

The fame and reputation of the humble and unassuming Bharadwaja transcended even the country's frontiers and he was invited to the Soviet Union which he visited twice, first in 1984 and again in 1987.
Philanthropic Activities
Ravuri Bharadwaja, who came up the hard way of life, is not only a prolific writer but is also kind-hearted. A philanthropist within his means, he spends a considerable part of his meagre earnings on service activities. He provided money to five universities to institute and present medals to meritorious students and to organise functions in memory of his wife. He set up a charitable trust, Srimati Ravuri Kantamma Bharadwaja Trust, to honour and encourage women who make significant contribution in their respective fields.
What Other Great Writers Think of Him
What a fascinating assortment of characters he depicts! Crooks, criminals, cranks, sycophants, flatterers, capitalists, clerks, convicts, village school teachers, doctors, lawyers, drunkards, prostitutes, artists, students are all portrayed on his wide canvas with telling effect. Bharadwaja deftly sketches the social and psychological backgrounds around those characters. _ KA Abbas

His characters are drawn from life as Bharadwaja has seen it. He has placed them in the social setting of Andhra, the land he knows best. The writer not only reveals the physical features of his characters but also lets us have a glimpse of how their minds work, of what lies in their souls. Thus, they are lifted out of the local context but are given universal dimensions. _ KA Abbas

Mr Bharadwaja is one of the most original writers I have read in any language. His works have depth and penetration, and are easy to read. His plots are original and, sometimes, breath-taking. His characterization is subtle. He has known life in the raw and presents it like large chunks of pulsating flesh and blood. _ M Chalapati Rau, Editor, National Herald

Bharadwaja is never far from life. He is immersed in it. He breathes it. He is sometimes suffocated by it but emerges breathing again. He could not have written novels, novelettes and short stories without living them. His labour is prodigious and imagination gigantic like that of a master of manmac. He reminds me of Balzan, hewing characters like Radin in sculpture. Some of his short stories can go in any anthology of world short stories. They are sincerely conceived, silfully written. If there is amessage, it is the message of the Upanishads, about oneness of life. _ M Chalapati Rau, Editor, National Herald

Samaram is an His Jeevana encyclopaedia. Bharadwaja exhibited his talent from the title to the end in the unparalleled work. It has a new fling at the very outset and a dazzling drizzle of flashes of of myth, epic, history, science, medicine and learning. _ Dr C Narayana Reddy, Jananpith awardee
What He Says About Himself
``I have learnt many things from the society around me and the world, and I am still learning. Life has taught me many bitter truths and is still teaching me. One can learn anything, however difficult, if one has an inquisitive mind and has the passion to learn. I have learnt what to do from good people and what not to do from bad characters."

``I know hunger. I know non-education and unemployment. I also know insult, humiliation, injustice and adharma. I have experienced them all in great measure. I long for a society rid of all these." _ Ravuri Bharadwaja

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