ABOUT PROFESSOR YARLAGADDA LAKSHMI PRASAD
Dr. Lakshmi Prasad Yarlagadda was honored with the prestigious “Padma Bhushan” award in the year 2016 and “Padma shri” award in the year 2003 for his widely acknowledged contribution towards enrichment of our literary traditions. Most particularly, for his relentless efforts towards promotion of national integration through creative use of the great tradition of translating acknowledged works in the languages of Hindi and Telugu.
Dr. YLP’s mastery in the two great Indian languages of Hindi and Telugu is only to a small extent testified by his doctoral degrees in both languages and more appropriately amplified by his original works as well as translated works in these two languages. In the process he has emerged as the leading champion of the cause of Hindi in the south of Vindhyas. As a chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Hindi Academy- an acknowledgement provided by the government of Andhra Pradesh as a leading academician, Dr. YLP has also in his capacity served as the Professor and Head of the Department of Hindi at the Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.
Some of Dr. YLP’s literary achievements include: Prestigious Kendra Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for best translation of the famous “Tamas” novel into the Telugu language originally written by Bhism Sahani – This became immensely popular and was serialized in the leading Telugu journals. The National Awards from the Ministry of Human Resources Development in 1988 for his Hindi work on the leading social reformer Tripuraneni Ramaswami Chowdary and the same award for his Hindi book on a leading modern poet of Telugu Aluri Bairagi in 1981 exemplified his achievements in the literary circuit. In 2007, Dr. YLP was honored with the prestigious Pushkin Award by the government of Russia – another great achievement for India.
Dr. YLP’s other notable works include Telugu translation of the famed V.S.Khandekar’s Marathi novel Yayati and Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s biography. He has about 30 original and translation works to his credit. The significance of Dr. YLP’s literary endeavors lies not in pursuing literature for its own sake but in promoting the cause of brotherhood and national integration through popularizing acknowledged literary works through the medium of translation.
Dr. Lakshmi Prasad Yarlagadda was also a member of the Rajya Sabha during 1996-2002, Dr. YLP was also the Deputy Chairman of the prestigious Parliamentary Committee on Official Language as he rendered yeomen service to the cause of implementation of the official language policy of India. A regular attendee at the World Hindi Conferences since 1983, Dr. YLP has spoken in several national and international seminars on literature.
Since being honored with the “Padmasri” Award in 2003, Dr.Lakshmi Prasad Yarlagadda has mounted massive campaigns in promoting and popularizing Telugu literature and its rich legacy by organizing district and state level conferences for poets and writers. Marking a very innovative initiative, Dr. YLP has recently organized “Telugu Sahiti and Sanskriti Jagriti Yatra” an awakening rally to promote and popularize Telugu language and culture passing through the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh marking the birth centenary of the late Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy, former Chief Minister of the state of Andhra and former union minister and an acclaimed men of letters himself. This is revolutionary in the sense it amounted to taking literature out of its ivory towers and sharing it with the masses. This initiative was widely acclaimed and similar awakening rallies are being planned all through the state.
AWARDS / RECOGNITIONS RECEIVED BY PROF.YLP
- Prestigious Central Sahitya Academy Award for “TAMAS” (for Translation) in 1992
- Honored with the prestigious “Padma shri” award in the year 2003 for his widely acknowledged contribution towards enrichment of our literary traditions
- Received Central Sahitya Academy Award for his Telugu Novel “DRAUPADI” – 2009
- Recipient of the National Award from the Ministry of Education, Government of India for the Hindi Book “Telugu Ke Audhunik Kavi Bairagi” in 1981.
- Recipient of National Award from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (Govt. of India for the Hindi book “Vaicharik Kranti Ke Agradoot Kaviraj” Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Chowdary in 1988)
- Career Award U.G.C. New Delhi-1988
- Best Translation Award for “TAMAS” by Telugu University in 1990.
- TANA AWARD for rich contribution to Telugu Literature, 1995
- Tripuraneni Gopichand Gold Medal by Andhra University for “Aluri Bairagi Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh Kavitvala
- Tulanatmaka Pariseelana” as it was adjudged as best thesis in the year 1993.
- Prestigious “PUSHKIN AWARD” From ‘BHARATA MITRA SAMAJ’ Moscow (Russia) – 2007
According to Mr. Lakshmi Prasad, the seeds of literature, especially of Hindi and Telugu, were sown in his mind in childhood itself. “Both my parents were teachers in the village school. And my father being a nationalist, Hindi literature was part of the culture at home. Moreover, the grooming at home was nourished at the village temple, where in the evenings the regular discourse of puranas and performace of harikathas used to take place. The rhythmic chanting of slokas in the temple and the recitation of verses from the books of Hindi poets like Harivanshrai Bachchan and Premchand by my father at home inspired me to take up Hindi literature later in my academic career. At every point of my academic career I was motivated by my professors to write something worthwhile and from my PG days I started to write and since then had never looked back.”
So far Mr. Lakshmi Prasad has written over 30+ books in Telugu and Hindi and over 100 articles in various newspapers. In Hindi his books comprise biographies of noted poets like Bhairagi, C.Narayana Reddy and Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Chowdary and translation of works of Bezwada Gopala Reddy and C.Narasimha Rao. In Telugu he penned the biography of Jayaprakash Narayan and translated the biography of Harivanshrai Bachchan and works of many other authors. But the highlight was the Telugu translation of Bisham Sahani’s novel ‘Tamas’ – and he did it in 22 days!
A recipient of Padmasri and Central Sahitya Akademi award, Mr. Lakshmi Prasad says that the appreciation he got from people like Amitabh Bachchan and P.V. Narasimha Rao is much more than the awards. “I could see tears welling up the eyes of Mr. Bachchan when I presented him a copy of his father’s biography, and Narasimha Rao wrote a preface comprising 29 pages appreciating my Telugu book on Hindi Sahitya Charitra. What else could one ask for?”
His entry on the political arena dates back to the Mulki agitation days. “Being the union leader of my college I took active part in the agitation along with M. Venkaiah Naidu and K. Haribabu. I was also arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during Emergency.”
He later took active part in JP’s movement for purity in public life and was the district unit president of the Chhatra Sangarsh Committee.
“Immediately after the Emergency I found myself at the crossroads. I had to decide whether to continue my academic goals or plunge into full-time politics. Being the eldest son of a large middle class family I decided to put politics in the backseat and joined as lecturer in Nandigama. The political phase resurfaced when I came in touch with the Telugu Desam Party founder, N.T. Rama Rao. I became his Hindi instructor, and NTR’s eldest son Harikrishna catapulted me to the Rajya Sabha in 1996.”
It was Hindi that got him a job and, it was Hindi that put him in close contact with NTR and it was again that language that earned him a good name in Parliament. He earned the appreciation of scholarly political leaders like Narashimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Karan Singh and L.K. Advani for his command over the language.
As a parliamentarian Mr. Lakshmi Prasad not only introduced a number of bills but also earned the sobriquet, the ‘Hindi man from South’. Basing on his language prowess he was made the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language. During his six-year tenure he introduced a number of private bills like Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill to benefit women affected with epilepsy; Bill for Establishment of Permanent High Court Bench at Visakhapatnam to speed up justice to commoners; Marketing and other Facilities Bill to benefit farmers, especially mango growers in the districts of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram; and Prohibition of Extravagant Expenditure in Marriages Bill.
On many an occasion, he raised the issues related to Hindustan Shipyard, Alamatti, cotton growers’ plight and capital restructuring for Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. He received accolades from all quarters when he brought to light the plight of the family members of Defence personnel, especially the womenfolk who were being harassed by goondas in New Delhi, as their husbands were busy serving on the borders.