HYDERABAD: Telangana and Andhra Pradesh once again made their mark on the national stage with 14 individuals from the two Telugu speaking states bagging the Padma awards.
Between them, the two states shared two Padma Vibhushan awards, five Padma Bhushans and seven Padma Shris for the year 2016. The awards were announced in New Delhi on the eve of the Republic Day on Tuesday.
Last year, the two states had to settle for four Padma Shri awards while the year before in 2014, unified AP had the honour of receiving two Padma Bhushans and seven Padma Shri awards.
Leading the winners this year are Ch Ramoji Rao of the Eenadu Group, who was chosen for the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country, for his contribution to education, literature and journalism. The danseuse Yamini Krishnamurthy is the other winner of the award.
Chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed happiness at the Ramoji Group chairman being chosen for the prestigious award. Naidu said Ramoji Rao had taken print and television journalism to great heights. He had launched ‘Eenadu’ in Visakhapatnam in 1974.
The 79-year-old Ramoji Rao, who was born in Pedaparupudi of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, is also a film producer with 87 films to his credit, has a chit fund business and owns a group of hotels. His Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad is a filmmaking destination for producers even from Hollywood, apart from being a tourist attraction.
Among the Padma Bhushan winners are the popular sports stars Sania Mirza (tennis) and Saina Nehwal (badminton). With the Rio de Janeiro Olympics round the corner, the awards are expected to come as a great boost to both of them. Mirza had won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award last year.
SS Rajamouli, who made waves with his blockbuster film ‘Bahubali’ has been awarded the Padma Shri. Rajamouli, officially listed as hailing from Karnataka by the government in its release announcing the awards, is currently shooting in Kerala for ‘Bahubali-2’.
His father, K Vijayendra Prasad, told TOI that he was happy that his son has been given the award. “First of all, it is God’s grace. And secondly, he is sincere, hardworking and humble. He deserves the award,” he said.
Two other well-known personalities from the city, social worker Sunita Krishnan won the Padma Shri while gastroenterologist Dr D Nageshwar Reddy has been awarded the Padma Bhushan. Well-known artist K Laxma Goud, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Mannam Gopi Chand and cardiac surgeon Dr Alla Gopalakrishna Gokhale were also awarded the Padma Shri.
This award is not just mine, but belongs to all Telugu people who have been with me in this journey in journalism
First of all, it is God’s grace. And secondly, he is sincere, hardworking and humble. He deserves the award
– K Vijayendra Prasad, father of director SS Rajamouli
Yamini Krishnamurthy Art classical dance
Ch Ramoji Rao Literature, education & journalism
Dr Alla Venkata ama Rao Science and engineering
Yarlagadda Laxmi Prasad Literature and education
Dr D nageshwar Reddy Medicine, gastroenterology
Saina Nehwal Sports – Badminton
Sania Mirza Sports Tennis Padma
Dr Nayudamma Yarlagadda Medicine, pediatric surgery
Sunita Krishnan social work
Dr TV Narayana social work
SS Rajamouli Art Film direction & production (Officially listed as from Karnataka)