Rare honour to a Telugu writer

Rare honour to a Telugu writer

“It is a rare experience and a real honour,” said young writer Vempalli Gangadhar, who has been at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, from September 8 as a part of the ‘In-Residence’ programme.

Kadapa born Vempalli Gangadhar shares his experiences of being part of the ‘In-Residence’ programme and dubs it as a rare experience. The young writer penned six short stories during his stay and plans to chronicle his experience during his stay in a book

“It is a rare experience and a real honour,” said young writer Vempalli Gangadhar, who has been at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, from September 8 as a part of the ‘In-Residence’ programme. The Kadapa born writer, who was recently honoured with Ravuri Bharadwaja Memorial Literary Award at Ravindra Bharathi, said that the invitation was completely unexpected and he was chuffed to bits upon learning that he was the first Telugu writer to be selected for such an honour.

“At times when literature, particularly in local languages, is waning, programmes like this are required. It has given me a new impetus to continue writing,” added Gangadhar. He along with writer Yishey Doma Bhutia of Sikkim and Rahool Saksena and Pratap Sudhir Morey were the invitees for the ‘In-Residence’ programme, which was started on September 8.

Gangadhar believes that his works, which revolve around the plight of farmers in Rayalaseema region and his activism along with UNICEF in chronicling the travails of girls in tribal villages, who are being sold, brought him to the notice of the President.

The young writer, who was awarded doctorate for his thesis on ‘Factionism in Rayalaseema’, presented his works: Molakala Punnami, Devarasila and Greeshma Bhoomi (compilations of short stories), Pune Prayanam (on tribal women pushed into flesh trade) , Hiranya Rajyam (consequences of factionalism in Rayalaseema), Nela Digina Vaana (a novel) and Tholi Telugu Sasanam (First Telugu Inscription) – to President Pranab Mukherjee. The President congratulated Gangadhar for his literary efforts to portray the conditions in Rayalaseema.

“Meeting the president on Monday (September 22) was a great experience. He lauded my efforts of portraying the conditions in Rayalaseema and hoped that the stay has ignited a spark to write further,” added Gangadhar.

Gangadhar stated that he relished every moment of his stay. “We were treated as an extended family of the President. Guards saluting, the change of guards every week and the morning parade, these are the experiences I will savour throughout my life. I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, former president APJ Abdul Kalam and other ministers, and interacting with them was a great experience,” he informed.

Gangadhar stated that more than the gardens, the children museum (which was started by APJ Abdul Kalam) Ashoka and Darbar Halls, he was smitten by the library at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “The library at Rashtrapati Bhavan has a vast collection of books on law and politics. Even more thrilling is that Satya Prakash, a Telugu man, is in charge of it and has been so for the past three decades. The museum which displays the collection of gifts that were given to previous presidents is an interesting watch,” he added.

The young writer informed that seeing the original draft of the constitution was the best take away from the programme. “I requested the authorities that I wanted to see the original draft of Constitution, which is at the Parliament. We were taken to the Parliament building, where the Constitution was housed in a separate temperature regulated room. The original draft is hand written and it is in both English and Hindi,” added Gangadhar.

Although he had penned six stories during his stay the author admits that he zeroed in on most of the plots before the programme. “I am planning on a short book, which will chronicle my experiences and takeaways in my style,” signed off Gangadhar.

In-Residence programme

The 'In-Residence' programme was launched by the President on December 11, 2013 to encourage artistes by facilitating them habitation close to nature in the picturesque and serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan to provide an environment which will inspire creative thinking.

Open to all Indian nationals, the programme provides artists and writers an opportunity to stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan for a month and be a part of its life. The programme intends to encourage writers, artists and innovative scholars by facilitating them to stay close to nature in the serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The In-Residence programme would help provide an atmosphere for creative minds to reflect and think. It would help upcoming writers and artists to expand their creative talents. The programme would help contribute to the aesthetic as well as social benefit, through art and culture,” stated Pranab Mukherjee at the launch of the programme.

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