padma: “The People’s Padma” pays tribute to grassroots heroes | Visakhapatnam News

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Visakhapatnam: Over the past few years, the Padma Awards have been given to several ordinary people who have made extraordinary contributions to society. Recognizing the work done by these champions, the highest civilian honors have found several true heroes working at the grassroots level.
TOI has looked at some of the inspirational people from Andhra Pradesh who have received Padma awards in recent years.
Yadla Gopala Rao — Theater Artist — Padma Shri (2020)
Born in Santhakaviti in Srikakulam in 1950, Gopala Rao has devoted more than 50 years to theatre. A household name in Srikakulam, Rao is known for his acting prowess and recitals of classic poems.
Rao is popular for his mythological roles such as Lord Rama, Lord Krishna fd and Sage Narada. The role of ‘Nakshatraka’ in ‘Satya Harishchandra’ brought immense name and fame to Rao. He has over 5,600 theatrical appearances.
Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan – Exponent of Nadaswaram – Padma Shri (2022)
The award was announced posthumously to Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan, a freedom fighter as well as a representative of Nadaswaram. He dedicated his life to the historic temple of Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy at Bhadrachalam. As ‘Ashthana vidwamsa’ he performed Nadaswaram as Suprabahtham to Lord Shri Rama everyday for almost five decades.
With performances spanning almost seven decades, he proved that age is just a number for artists.
Dalavai Chalapathi Rao — leather puppeteer — Padma Shri (2020)
Dalavai Chalapathi Rao has been providing yeomen services in the shadow of leather puppets (tholubommalata) for seven decades. Currently on the verge of extinction, tholubommalata is Andhra Pradesh’s richest theatrical tradition. Chalapathi Rao attempted to save this art form, which originated in China 4,000 years ago. He received the National Award for Excellence in Leather Puppetmaking in 1988, in addition to other awards and citations.
Chalapathi Rao united artisans in the region to form a mutual aid cooperative society.
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