Maitri’s award named for the late Dr. P. V. Rao
Dr. Saleena Dakin, younger daughter of Dr. Rao, flew in from Virginia.
The Maitri club paid a fitting tribute to Dr. P. V. (Pemmaraju Venugopala) Rao, a legendary figure of the American-Indian community in the US, by organizing a cultural evening on Saturday, September 21, 2013. In remembrance of Dr. Rao, Maitri has initiated the ‘Dr. P. Venugupala Rao-Maitri Award for Excellence in Arts and Literature,’ an annual award in association with IACA, TAMA, and GATA. This award carries a gold medal and a plaque presented to Indian-American artists or writers living in the US. This year’s award was presented to Dr. Sivananda Nyayapathi, a well-known Profile Painter in Atlanta. Dr. Sivananda, a highly talented artist and winner of more than three dozen awards, was very close to Dr. Rao, and one of his highly acclaimed works is a painting of Dr. Rao.
Maitri is a club catering to visiting parents and seniors. Started in late 2009, Maitri meets twice a month at the TAMA office in Alpharetta. Activities of Maitri include group discussions, visits to temples, special sessions on yoga, preventive health care, etc. Maitri recently published a book, Janani, a collection of stories and poems written by the members.
The cultural show, held at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, showcased several Indian classical dances and music. Kuchipudi dances “Garudadhwani Tillana” and “Parama Prushudu Gopala Baaludainaadu” were presented by students of noted dancers Sasikala Penumarthi and Revathi Komaduri, and a Bharanatyam dance, “Pushpanjali” by Srinidhi Vangala. A group led by Ram Durvasula and Srinivas Durgam sang melodious Telugu songs. A dance by Vishwadha Gunda to the song “Om Namo Siva Rudraya” was a highlight.
The event was inspired by Lakshmi Vedala, who had visited India Home, a center for senior citizens in New York City and felt that Atlanta deserves such a home for seniors. This show was held as a fundraiser to help both India Home and Shantiniketan, a rehabilitation center for handicapped children in Adilabad District in Andhra Pradesh, India. Ticket sales and donations were equally divided between the two organizations. Janardhan Pannela, coordinator for Shantiniketan said, “I am overwhelmed by the support our people have shown to the kids back home.” He plans to buy a van for the kids. Aditya Patel flew from New York City to attend the program and said he was very proud and happy to be part of the program. He gave a presentation about India Home and organization activities.
The program was attended by community leaders such as Dr. Ravi Sarma, Narender Reddy, Dr. B.K. Mohan, Dr. Sreenivas Gangasani. Drs. Sarma and Mohan spoke of Dr. Rao’s services to various community organizations. Dr. Saleena Dakin, younger daughter of Dr. Rao, who flew from Virginia, remembered her father saying, “My dad was a true guiding spirit to the next two generations and several more to come. Dr. Rao always loved and encouraged people in following Indian arts and literature in the US.”
Mrs. Lakshmi Rao, wife of Dr. P.V. Rao, presented the award to Dr. Nyayapathi Sivananda. Ravi Ponangi, Atlanta Contributing Editor of India Tribune, recalled the good deeds of Dr. Rao. Ravi was one those interacting with Dr. Rao in the past decade, and he produced a short video film on his life.
Viju Chiluveru, coordinator of Maitri, said that he is very proud to have been associated with Dr. Rao who attended the club regularly. He also appreciated the Atlanta Indian-American community for always coming forward to help noble causes such as this.
Earlier, Narasimha Rao Oleti, Mrs. and Mr. Satyanarayana Murthy, and Rathnakar Elugunti received awards for their contribution to Maitri Club. Dr. Tangirala Satyanarayana Reddy, co-founder of both Maitri and GATA, proposed the vote of thanks.
Website Bonus Feature
Emory & Community Felcitates DR P V Rao, 11/4/2012.
Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao- (PV Rao) - Bharat Desi, with Ravi Ponangi, 11/27/2012.
India Home, New York City:
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