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'Dr YSR was a very devoted Christian'

September 07, 2009 14:36 IST
Pulivendula, in south central Andhra Pradesh, where Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy grew up, falls in the Nandyal diocese.

The Reddys were prominent Christians in this district. YSR's family converted to Christianity when his grandfather was influenced by British missionaries; the late chief minister was a third generation Christian.

Reverend Dr P J Lawrence, the bishop of the Church of South India's Nandyal diocese, remembers Dr Reddy:

Dr YSR, as he was affectionately known, was a member of the Protestant Church of South India. He was a committed Christian. His father Raja Reddy was also a Christian. They worshipped at the CSI church in their hometown, Pulivendula.

Dr YSR was a very devoted Christian, always attending church whenever they were in their hometown.

Incidentally, Dr Reddy and I studied at the Veerasaiva College in Bellary (eastern Karnataka bordering Andhra Pradesh). We were contemporaries in college.

I had the privilege of attending their (YSR's family's) last Christmas function. There were many family members there and also preachers. It is a very big family of more than 500 close relatives.

Dr YSR read the Bible and prayed every day with Christian discipline. His mother was a very devout lady. She prayed for his success in the first election. Dr YSR always acknowledged his mother's prayers for his success.

There is no doubt he is with the Lord in heaven. He loved people and people poured their love on him.

It was the people's love that got him elected (as chief minister) for a second term. He had implemented many good programmes for the people in the state.

Dr YSR was a very charismatic leader. Not only a great leader, but a legend and an icon.

We had very cordial and friendly meetings whenever I met with him. I met him recently to invite him to my diocese in October and we were expecting him to come as the chief guest for the 125th anniversary of the SPG high school, Nandyal.

He has helped a lot of Christians, especially Dalit Christians. He recently gave a gift to all Dalit Christians by passing a legislative order giving them the same benefits (as Dalits).

He leaves behind his son Jaganmohan Reddy, the MP from Kadapa, recently elected. He also has a daughter married to Anil Kumar, a well known young evangelist.

Dr Lawrence spoke to Vaihayasi P Daniel

From the Rediff Archives: In Cuddapah, YSR is king