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    Several people condole the death of veteran singer

    Born and brought up in Kakinada, Vinjamuri Anasuya Devi used music as a tool to spread the message of social equality in the days when the society considered women coming out of their homes as a taboo. The literary and cultural environment around her made Anasuya Devi learnt classical music along with her elder sister Seetha in the childhood and later the sisters lent their voices to many light music compositions of their maternal uncle the renowned poet Devulapalli Krishnasastry. With Krishnasastry developed a penchant for Brahmo Samaj and penned songs for the organisation that worked for social renaissance, they sang those songs in many public meetings.

    From there, Anasuya Devi left for the then Madras from where she went to Houston in the US and stayed with her daughter Ratna Papa till her last breath there on Sunday morning. “Anasuya Devi was a courageous woman, who broke all the shackles and moved freely on a par with men in those days. Her independent nature made her special among the family and her voice added beauty to many lyrics of Krishnasastry,” recalled Tallavajhula Patanjali Sastry, a close relative of the family and writer and environmentalist from Rajamahendravaram.

    Vinjamuri Anasuya Devi. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

    Vinjamuri Anasuya Devi. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

    Anasuya Devi’s father Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Rao was a theatre artiste and he had influenced the family members including women to learn languages and read literature. “Anasuya Devi brought out her autobiography ‘Asamana Anasuya’ three years ago, in which she gave a detailed description of her journey from Kakinada to Houston,” said Mr. Patanjali Sastry.

    “Seetha and Anasuya popularised folk music in the combined Andhra State. They were the first singers to give concerts with folk songs,” recollected V.A.K. Ranga Rao, renowned historian of music, who shared an association of 65 years with the Vinjamuri family. “The tune of popular song ‘Manasuna mallela.. .’ from the classic ‘Malleeswari’ was based on ‘Chandana charchita..’ a song rendered by Anasuya in 1937.

    Similarly, the one ‘Eruvaka sagaro.. .’ from ‘Rojulu Marayi’ was based on ‘Chukkala Cheerakattukoni’ a private song rendered by Seetha and Anasuya in 1932. I have those gramophone records with me,” he said, while paying homages to the singer.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by K N Murali Sankar / Kakinada – March 25th, 2019

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    Veteran doctors at a reunion in Vijayawada on Saturday.

    Veteran doctors at a reunion in Vijayawada on Saturday.

    The 1958 batch of the Guntur Medical College (GMC) met for a fond reunion at the Haritha Berm Park here on Saturday.

    There were 120 students in the batch, but only 50 of them could make it for the batch reunion. Dr. Janardhana Reddy, a surgeon in the U.S. and Mangaraju, an orthopaedician also settled in the U.S,, flew to India just to attend the gathering. Vijayawada-based ENT surgeon C.V. Ramana Rao and Guntur physician K. Vasudeva Rao welcomed their classmates.

    “Initially, we used to meet every year and then the meetings were held once in two years because some of the batchmates migrated to other countries,” Dr. Ramana Rao said. The batch will meet again in two years, Dr. Ramana Rao said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – February 01st, 2019

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    Sai Hitesh Vavilapalli interacting with patients.

    Sai Hitesh Vavilapalli interacting with patients.

    ‘The I Mission’ Sai Hitesh launched supports free screening camps and cataract surgeries for the poor

    A 12th grader of Indian origin from the US (Portland, Oregon) is striving to make the world a better place for the visually-impaired through a non-profit that he launched while he was all of 14 years old.

    Sai Hitesh Vavilapalli, whose parents migrated from Visakhapatnam to the U.S., flew to India with his parents for the Christmas holidays when he was 14 years old.

    “When we were here, my parents would engage in social work at a blind school in Kakinada. It was then I realised I should also do my best to give something back to society, and do something for the underprivileged,” Sai Hitesh said.

    After flying back to Portland, Sai Hitesh organised a ‘cultural night’ and raised $4,200, which he used to float his non-profit called ‘The I Mission’.

    “Next December, we came back to Visakhapatnam, which is my parents’ hometown. We organised a couple of free eye camps in association with Sankar Foundation Eye Hospital, and performed about 500 free cataract surgeries for the poor,” Sai Hitesh said.

    In the last three years, The I Mission has supported over 5,000 free eye screenings, 1,719 cataract surgeries, and 13 retinal detachment surgeries, besides adopting three blind schools in India.

    “To fund the camps, we not only conduct cultural events but have also tied up with brands like Nike and Intel. We intend to approach some more corporate firms in the coming years,” the 17-year-old said.

    Having started out on his philanthropic journey alone, Sai Hitesh now has a team of 11 like-minded classmates based in Portland.

    Cyclone relief

    Apart from organising free eye camps, The I Mission also supports victims of natural calamities such as hurricanes.

    Recently, the team visited Mara and Mandasa villages in Srikakulam, which were ravaged by cyclone Titli, and provided succour to victims by giving one bag of rice, two garments and cooking utensils to each affected family. “We reached out to over 200 families in both the villages,” he said.

    Future plans

    Sai Hitesh, who aspires to become a doctor, said he is working with a professor as a research intern at Oregon Health Science University to find out a remedy for cataract and eye problems among the tribals in the Eastern Ghats of India.

    Sai Hitesh says The I Mission team intends to take the non-profit to the next level by tying up with corporate brands and spreading its wings across the world.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Sumit Bhattarcharjee / Visakhapatnam – January 05th, 2019

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    Srinubabu Gedela, NRI, addresses farmers’ awareness programme at Rajam in Srikakulam district.

    Srinubabu Gedela, NRI, addresses farmers’ awareness programme at Rajam in Srikakulam district.

    Huge demand for material in paper and textile industries too, he says

    A U.S.-returned NRI and PULSES CEO Srinubabu Gadela wages a war against plastic saying it is ruining the health of the people and the wealth of the farmers with the huge drop in jute production in the backward Srikakulam district. He has been organising meetings for the last few months to make farmers to go back to jute. He says sufficient availability of raw jute would lead to revival of all the closed industries.

    Dr. Srinubabu, who hails from Allena village of Burja mandal, completed his post doctorate from the Stanford University and started Omics Interantional Private Limited to facilitate free access of journals for researchers. Later, he established the Pulses Group, a health informatics and health care services in Hyderabad. Dr. Srinubabu, who is not content with his achievements, is keen on enhancing the income sources of farmers by guiding them in the usage of the latest technology and information in agriculture. He has been conducting training programmes for youngsters to become entrepreneurs.

    “Thousands of farmers and labourers have fallen victims with little demand for jute cultivation and closure of many industries in Rajam, Bobbili, Vizianagaram and other places. The revival of jute production and processing would certainly minimise the usage of plastic covers and bags. There is huge demand for jute material in paper and textile industries too. That is why I am suggesting the farmers to go back to jute cultivation which is sure to generate more income and employment.”

    Ambedkar University Vice-Chancellor Kuna Ramjee said the University would sign an agreement with the Pulses Group in training PG students in a systematic way. “Youngsters from poor families and Telugu medium can also do wonders if they work hard and develop new ideas. That is why we requested its chairman to take up special training programmes and help the PG students to get jobs in reputed firms and start their own industries,” said Dr. Ramjee.


    Minister for Human Resources Ganta Srinivasa Rao felicitated Dr. Srinubabu for coming forward to serve the native district. “We should do something for our native places. It will certainly make other well-settled NRIs to utilise their knowledge and wealth to benefit the backward areas,” he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / K. Srinivasa Rao / Srikakulam – December 11th, 2018

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    TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadhav receiving the donation of ₹13.50 crore from the NRI devotees on Saturday | Photo Credit: Arrangement

    TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadhav receiving the donation of ₹13.50 crore from the NRI devotees on Saturday | Photo Credit: Arrangement

    Minister lauds their gesture

    In a single major donation, an NRI devotee settled at U.S. Mr. Ravi Aika on Saturday contributed ₹10 Crore to the TTD.

    Likewise, another NRI devotee Mr. Srinivas, also from U.S., donated ₹3.50 crore to various trusts being floated by the TTD.

    Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav received the donation on behalf of the TTD in the presence of Minister N. Amaranatha Reddy.

    Later speaking to the media, the Minister appreciated both Mr. Ravi Aika, a leading businessman in the field of pharmaceuticals, and Mr. Srinivas for their charitable gesture.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> State> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Tirumala – July 15th, 2018

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    N. Balakrishna with Speaker K. Siva Prasada Rao at the inauguration of BIACH’s clinic on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

    N. Balakrishna with Speaker K. Siva Prasada Rao at the inauguration of BIACH’s clinic on Sunday. | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

    ‘Hospital will come up in Amaravati in three phases’

    Hindupur MLA and Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (BIACH & RI) Chairman Nandamuri Balakrishna inaugurated the hospital’s information centre and clinic at Governorpet here on Sunday.

    Mr. Balakrishna said that the institute would construct a cancer hospital at Amaravati in three phases. The State government has allotted 15 acres land at Amaravati for the hospital, which is being run on no-profit, no-loss basis. The hospital was offering concessions and free medical care depending upon the financial capabilities of the patients. The institute, doctors and staff work with a motto that the patients should be treated as guests, and instil confidence among them, he said.

    According to a rough estimate, of the 10 lakh people diagnosed with cancer every year in India, 7 lakh people die. People tend lose hope as soon as they come to know about their condition. The patients would have to fight for their right to live.

    ‘Treatment within the reach of the poor’

    A wrong impression had gained ground that the poor cannot afford cancer treatment as it was a costly affair. Many philanthropists were supporting the institute in providing medical care to the needy patients. Recently, the Telangana government also waived off the fee collected by GHMC from the institute, he added.

    AP Assembly Speaker and former chairman of the institute Kodela Siva Prasada Rao said the hospital set up 18 years ago, has become one of the biggest institutes. The cancer hospital would come up at Amaravati in the next two years, he said.

    Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani), Vijayawada (Central) MLA Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, BIACH & RI Board Trustee J.S.R. Prasad, Medical Director Subrahmanyeswara Rao, and CEO Prabhakar Rao spoke.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Staff Reporter / Vijayawada – July 02nd, 2018

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    “The contribution of DVS Prasad and his wife to our village is massive. The couple funded construction of roads, community halls and setting up of drinking water facilities,” said Dr Prakasa Rao of Medical and Cultural Association of Repalle.

    As a youth, DVS Prasad dreamt of making millions. Meritorious in studies, Prasad went to America to further his career after completing graduation in engineering. He worked with top multinational companies, including Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    By his own admission, Prasad felt uncomfortable with his growing bank balance. He realised that the solution for him was paying back to society. Prasad, who spent over two-decades in US, gained peace after returning to India and serving society. His wife Sunitha, a dental professional, backed him throughout and helped him start a trust in the memory of Prasad’s parents.

    Prasad initially adopted Jillepalli village and wanted to expand activities to the neighbouring areas in a phased manner. The locals were overwhelmed with the initiatives of Prasad and his wife. The trust took up a number of activities, including developmental activities and welfare programmes.

    DVS Prasad is keen on sponsoring students of underprivileged sections to pursue higher-education. “Education will help them beat poverty and help society. We need to help every child,” Prasad told TOI.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Vijayawada News / TNN / May 28th, 2018

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    A strong Indian flavour and potent political undertones. How Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu made his brand of stand-up mainstream

    When Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu steps on stage at the Neptune Theater in Seattle, where his Netflix special Warn Your Relatives is being filmed, he looks at the packed audience in amazement and says, “We’ve got 800 people here. It’s important that I know that because my father will ask me after the show.” His father it turns out, is always disappointed at how low the number is. “And then I remember that my parents are from India,” Kondabolu explains, going on to imitate his father, “Oh 800 people, were you performing in a single Indian train car?”

    Warn Your Relatives, Kondabolu’s first Netfllix special which released on May 8, shows the comedian regaling his audience with narratives about his South Asian heritage, along with sharp, incisive commentary about contemporary issues like racial profiling, terrorism, and mass shootings in America.

    Born to Telugu parents in Flushing, the ethnically diverse neighbourhood of Queens, New York, 35-year-old Kondabolu has made his brand of stand-up — unabashed about his Indian roots, and with strong political undertones — mainstream.

    Trump and more

    The title, Warn Your Relatives, reflects his refusal to tone down his ideology and beliefs. A paraphrase from an earlier joke, it highlights that it is “about a changing country and a changing world, and the adjustments we need to start making,” Kondabolu says, adding, “Because we’re in the Trump era, [people] use words like opposition and revolution, but what does that really mean? I’d like to look at the climate we’re in right now.”


    Kondabolu’s watchlist
    • W Kamau Bell has a CNN show called United Shades of America and I love the fact that he’s educating so many people about their own country
    • Stewart Lee taught me that comedy has no limit and that even a joke that fails can be useful later
    • Aparna Nancherla is so quick, stinging and weird. You’re just not expecting any of those punchlines. She’s going to be extremely influential as a comedian for a long time
    • Lindy West speaks her truth, is blunt, fearless and is extremely funny
    • Ashok Kondabolu, and I am not just saying it because he’s my brother. But in terms of influences, I’ve become more open and willing to share about my life because of him. He doesn’t hold back



    If he had not become a full-time stand-up comedian, he would have continued to work as an immigrant rights organiser, he confides. With a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, his comedy reflects his activist bent. His 2017 documentary, TheProblem with Apu, speaks about the problematic representation of South Asians in The Simpsons, the animated sitcom featuring Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the wily convenience store owner with a thick Indian accent. With inputs from South Asian entertainers like Kal Penn, Aziz Ansari and Aasif Mandvi, Kondabolu, a fan of The Simpsons himself, discusses the problem of minority representation in mainstream American entertainment. In the aftermath of the documentary, Hank Azaria, the white American actor who voices Apu, stated late last month on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show that he is willing to step aside from the role to allow for more representative inclusion.

    “When you watch television in the West, [South Asians] don’t exist. You see a stark difference,” says Kondabolu. “It’s really strange, especially when contrasted with seeing Bollywood [and Telugu] films where we are seen as being in love, having conflict and with full personalities.”

    Battling stereotypes

    After years of touring across the country with his stand-up, and with three comedy albums under his belt, Kondabolu joins the ranks of America’s rising South Asian comedians with Netflix appearances, an influential group that includes the likes of Aziz Ansari, Aparna Nancherla, and Hasan Minhaj. When he started out, the first battle he faced was not making the audience laugh, but dealing with their surprise that he was even there. “They were expecting an Indian voice,” says Kondabolu, who, even when portraying his parents on stage, stays away from caricatured Indian accents, labelled ‘patanking’.

    Even though The New York Times referred to him as ‘one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today’, he does not believe that the nature of his work is political. In fact, he has “always hated being called political, because it separates the things that I’m talking about from everyday things,” he insists.

    Not backing down

    With light-hearted captions, Kondabolu retweets the hate mail that he continues to receive for his political statements, especially, The Problem with Apu. One woman labelled him ‘a disgrace to his religion,’ while another man claimed that ‘racism exists because of dumb people like you seeing it everywhere’.

    “It breaks my heart a little bit, of course,” he says, adding, “What hurt the most was that people hadn’t seen the film and were making judgements based on my appearance and what they had heard.”

    Yet, he does not keep things simple. He finds humour in complexity, and has never shied from talking about race, sometimes in ways that might make some members of his audience uncomfortable. “I know things have gotten a little better in this country, because fewer white people walk out of my shows.” When an older man in Seattle asks him where he is from, Kondabolu responds by saying that he is South Asian. When the man says, “I thought you were Indian,” Konbadolu reminds the audience that, “You can’t ask me where I’m from and not know geography,” going on to encourage them to “talk to your white relatives about racism.”

    The family podcast

    Family plays an important role in Kondabolu’s life and work. Like most comedians, he uses his relationship with his parents as fodder, but there is always an underlying tone of respect which extends to the artiste’s younger brother, Ashok, whom he describes as “brilliant” and a “very unique voice”.


    Member of the now defunct rap group Das Racist, Ashok, along with his brother, headlines the newly-launched live-recorded Kondabolu Brothers podcast, produced by Earwolf. “It was as simple as wanting to spend time together,” he tells me about the inspiration for the show. With sections where they discuss how underrated certain things like therapy (for Kondabolu) might be and episodes from their childhood visits to India, the podcast is a free-wheeling tête-à-tête between the two brothers.

    Excited to bring his special to 180 countries, Kondabolu is humbled by how his comedy is travelling beyond America. “I don’t think I’ve ever had something so global. It means a lot that it’s playing in South Asia and in India,” he concludes.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment / by Sindhuri Nandhakumar / May 11th, 2018

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    Godavari US- Taking South Indian food global

    Godavari US- Taking South Indian food global

    When Kaushik Koganti and Teja Chekuri began the first branch of the now renowned chain of restaurants, Godavari, in the US, little did they imagine that just like the river Godavari, their growth would be a full flow, moving ahead making massive strides cutting across various places. What else could be said about such a humongous growth for a food chain started by two Indians with the only dream to give South Indian food a global identity?

    Having started off in May 2015, when they setup their first restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, little did the duo think they’d move to such a strength so soon and would establish 25 in total, in a period of fewer than three years. In a major development and milestone of sorts, they are celebrating the opening of their 25th story at Houston.

    Kaushik, 31, recalls how it all began.

    “When I had come to the US to pursue my masters degree in 2008, I obviously craved Indian food. However, I realized that there was a limitation in terms of flavours and that everyone compromised on spices in a bid to westernize the food. I always was keen on the dining business and I thought there was no better way than this,”

    he shares. Interestingly, he also realized how the food of Andhra (and now Telangana too) was majorly limited to “Hyderabadi biryani”. “It sure is amazing food. But there’s a lot more to the flavours here and we wanted to bring that to the fore,” he tells us. In fact, the reason they chose the name Godavari was to Stay away from traditional names which are found at several places in the US.

    In fact, even though the fathers of both Kaushik and Teja (35), who hail from Vijayawada, are friends, the duo didn’t quite know each other well at all till they landed in the US. “I liked his enterprising nature and discussed with him soon after the idea cropped up in my head. We had no second thoughts and had to jump in soon after,” shares Kaushik, adding, “I left my IT job overnight to pursue this dream, and today, I cannot be happier about that decision because the biggest pleasure comes every day when we hear of how over 10,000 people have dined at our restaurants almost on an everyday basis. There’s nothing more beautiful than giving the pleasure of good food to someone.” Today, Teja has moved back to India, while Kaushik handles the operations in the US. However, he tells us that Teja is at the helm and handles most financial matters. “He has been in the business for long (he owns the well-known brewery Prost that has branches in Bangalore and Hyderabad,North face real estate, Iron Hill brewery amongst other enterprises) and has massive experience which is a boon,” Kaushik says.

    Though they are at a very important brink at the moment, when they started off, they didn’t expect such a massive growth. “Yes, we always wanted to go global. Godavari isn’t just for people in the US. In fact, our next branch is going to open in Muscat. We want to take authentic South Indian flavours global. We have realized that when there’s talk of food from the south of India, the menu is quite limited but we wanted to go far and beyond. But we didn’t think the growth would happen so quick,” he states.

    But the journey here, though rosy at the outset, wasn’t quite easy. “The major challenge was finding skilled labour. It’s not easy to find people who can make this kind of food in the US. It has been quite a task that way. However, we were clear about one thing, we bring our customers the best of local food, something they’d get on the bandis on streets in India but with high quality. Flavours of the underdog and quality of the five-star hotels was our aim,” shares Kaushik.


    However, when franchises come into the picture, it can get tough to maintain quality. “I agree. And that’s why when we decided to start off with franchises, the first thing we did was make things more structured. The chefs are trained in Boston beforehand and we want a uniformity in the way food tastes at every place. We take criticism seriously, and any feedback is discussed with the branch. Owners of our franchises have been very supportive in this journey,” he avers, elaborating that their aim was to always appeal to the westerner as much as the Indians.

    “Indians would eat the food, no doubt. But we wanted others to taste our food in its authentic tastes. Indian food is spicy, and we do not want to subtle down flavours, just to suit them. Authenticity is our USP,” he says.

    Meanwhile, the team of Godavari pride themselves on being “youngsters with a vision”. Kaushik elaborates, “We understand the importance of marketing and have gone all out in that area because that’s how we’d be able to reach out to people. Being savvy has helped us come up with innovative ways to tell people what we do. Jaswanth Reddy, Varun Madisetty, Sivam Shankar and Uday Gummakonda have all been major players in our growth and what we have managed to do today wouldn’t be possible today without their support.”

    source: http://www.telugu360.c0m / / Home> NRI Life> Diaspora / by Pranita Jonnalagedda / April 27th, 2018

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    Surgeons of Healing Little Hearts, UK, who are in the team that completed 300 free operations, in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: ARRANGED

    Surgeons of Healing Little Hearts, UK, who are in the team that completed 300 free operations, in Vijayawada. | Photo Credit: ARRANGED

    Initiative by Healing Little Hearts in association with Andhra Hospitals

    Healing Little Hearts, UK, in association with the Andhra Hospitals, has completed free heart surgeries on 300 children with various complex heart ailments including transposition of great arteries, Tetralogy of Fallot, absent pulmonary valve, double outlet right ventricle, Tricuspid Atresia, Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC) and Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD).

    Andhra Hospitals Children’s Services chief P.V. Rama Rao told media that the number touched the 300 mark with the completion of 14 heart surgeries performed by a 10-member expert team from from different hospitals in the UK and Italy this week.

    Dr. Rama Rao said that the success rate of the Healing Little Hearts teams that have been performing surgeries was “nearly” 100%. He said that teams from UK had come to perform surgeries at the Andhra Hospitals 14 times.

    He said that cardiac surgeons, specialist nurses from the Great Ormond Street Hospital, (London), Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, of the UK, S.Orsola-Malpighi Hospital and Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli Ospendale Mondaldi of Italy performed the surgeries free of cost.

    Andhra Hospital surgeons Dilip, Sreemannarayana and Ramesh performed the surgeries along with doctors from UK and Italy, Dr Rama Rao said.

    Film star Mahesh Babu who was extending support to Andhra Hospitals visited the children who underwent surgery and at the earlier camps in the Heart and Brain Institute and interacted with them and their parents. Mr. Mahesh Babu was in the city to promote his new film on Friday.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – April 28th, 2018

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