2 August 1944
|Died||17 February 2022 (aged 77)|
|Occupation||Poet, Writer, Sanskrit scholar|
|Awards||Padma Shri, (2021)|
Asavadi Prakasarao (2 August 1944 – 17 February 2022) was an Indian poet, critic, translator and scholar, who is known for his poetry and prose works. He is noted for his significant contribution to Telugu and Sanskrit literature. In January 2021, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award the Padma Shri in the Arts and Literature category. As Ashtavadhani, he has given 170 performances and has written and published 50 books across various genres. His most notable literary contribution is his performance of Avadhanam – a literary performance. He has received an honorary D Litt from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University and a Distinguished Teacher award from the Department of Higher Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Asavadi Prakasarao was born to Kulayamma and Fakeerappa on 2 August 1944 in Korivipalli. His teacher Nanduri Ramakrishnamacharya changed his name to the optimist Prakash Rao. Born into a Dalit family, he spent his childhood in the villages of Beluguppa and Sirpi. He did his primary education in the social welfare schools in those villages. He was educated at Potti Sriramulu Municipal Boys' School and Rajendra Municipal High School in Anantapuram between 1953-1959. He completed PUC at Government Arts College, Anantapur between 1960-61. He also completed B. A. in 1962-65 from the same college. Special Telugu reader.
He later worked for a few days in Eluru as a Lower Divisional Clerk after passing in the APPSC Group-4 examination. He left that job as an obstacle to his progress and worked as a Telugu scholar in Venkatadripalle, Y. Rampuram, Kanekal, Kurli Zilla Parishad schools between 1965-68. He did M. A.Telugu Linguistics from Anantapur PG Center (affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati) between 1968-70. Since 1970 he has worked as an Andhra lecturer in Government Junior College, Rayadurgam, Government Degree Colleges in Anantapur, Guntakallu, Nagari, Punganur and Penukonda. He served as the Principal of Penukonda Government Degree College and retired in 2002.
Prakasarao was accepted as a teacher in Avadhanam Education. He made his first Avadhanam in 1963 at the age of 19. He was regarded as the only Dalit Avadhāni in Andhra literature. He performed 171 Avadhanams, a double octave, not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in other parts of India such as Taruttani, Arakkonam, Pallipattu, Hosur, Bengaluru, Bellary, Donimalai, Delhi etc. His observations were also broadcast on television and radio. He also gave some Impromptu performances.
Prakasarao died from cardiac arrest at his home in Penukonda, on 17 February 2022, at the age of 77.
He was honored by Babu Jagjivan Ram, Bejwada Gopalareddy, Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy, N. T. Rama Rao, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Konijeti Rosaiah, Nedurumalli Janardhanareddy, Mandali Buddhaprasad, PVRK Prasad, Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, Gollapudi Maruti Rao etc.