World Telugu Meet exalts cultural and social heritage

Festival and Conference in Hyderabad from December 15 to 19, 2017

Ratna Venkat

The South Indian State of Telangana will receive international limelight and acclaim as it prepares to host a Festival incorporating cultural programmes and a Conference, bringing glory to Telugu-speaking people all over the world.

Welcome to Hyderabad

‘Prapancha Telugu Mahasabhalu’ or ‘World Telugu Conference’ (WTC 2017) will be held in Hyderabad City in the new South Indian State showcasing and celebrating the beauty of Telugu literature, culture, society as well as the historical contributions of scholars and poets who originated from the Telangana region.

WTC will be the first of its kind under the leadership of Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao, after the State formed in 2014.

It will be held from December 15 to December 19 and like ‘Harmony 2017’ (held in the State of Haryana in October 2017), it will comprise various seminars, literary discussions known as ‘Avadhanam’, poetry recitations, cultural programmes comprising music, dance, folk arts, theatre and cinema.

In addition, Mr Rao has assured that food courts, a book exhibition, a handicraft sales emporium and exhibitions by the Archaeological Department will be a part of WTC to enable national and international visitors to have an all-rounded and enlightening experience during this five-day Mela.

India and Beyond

Organised by the Government of Telangana, Telangana Sahitya Academy, its Chairman Nandini Sidda Reddy and other members of the Organising Committee, have worked tirelessly to promote this event to potential delegates who are fans of Telugu language, history and culture from across India and the world.

Mahesh Bigala, the NRI Coordinator for WTC 2017, has been responsible for promoting this event internationally. He has invited Non-Resident Indians, the Telugu Diaspora, community groups and associations to participate in this prestigious event.

About 6000 delegates have already registered to attend WTC, with representatives from 12 Indian States and 30 countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States of America.

The New Zealand Delegation

Among the members of the New Zealand delegation to Hyderabad are Telugu Rashtra Samithi New Zealand President Vijay Reddy Kosna, Telangana Association President Kalyan Rao Kasuganti, Director of Sangeeta Bharathi School of Music Govardhan Mallela and Telangana Jagruthi President Aruna Jyothi Reddy.

This writer has been accorded the privilege of being the ‘Telugu Cultural Ambassador,’ performing traditional Kuchipudi dance, indigenous to Telangana and its neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

A Living Language

It has long been assumed that Sanskrit (from the Indo-European family) and Tamil (from the Dravidian family) are the only two languages from India granted true ‘Classical’ status, both being distinct from each other in terms of script, letters and pronunciation.

However, Telugu, with its long history, was finally accepted to be of ‘Classical’ status in 2016 after evidence such as the ‘Kurikyala Stone Edict’ in Jagital district that had inscriptions of ‘Kanda Padhyalyu’ in Telugu, was presented by the Telangana government to the Madras High Court, with proof that the language has been in existence for over 1000 years.

Moreover, as a Kuchipudi artiste performing for Telugu Classical and Non-Classical music, I am aware that Telugu has always been a natural choice for ancient and modern music composers as a ‘Musical Language.’

A New Telugu State

Formerly a part of Andhra Pradesh, it was believed that the Telangana region and its language were not given proper recognition, with certain scholars and poets not being credited and major literary styles such as ‘Dwi Pada’ and ‘Prabandham’ not getting their well-deserved honour and status.

However, I believe that Telangana, fighting to prove its identity happened during sombre times, both during the linguistic reorganisation of States between the 1940s and 1950s and during the separate State movement prior to its formation in 2014.

The forthcoming WTC will therefore be a step in the right direction for modern India and the world to take notice of Telangana, the new Telugu State with its own history, culture, traditions and way of life.

“While the literary and cultural greatness of Telangana was highlighted quite a bit during the Telangana movement, it is time we took it to the global level,” says Cultural Affairs Director Mamidi Harikrishna.

Festival Venues

Lal Bahadur Stadium is the main venue where WTC 2017 will be held, while the prestigious National Theatre ‘Ravindra Bharathi’ will be the location for programmes of music, dance, drama and cinema.

Other venues include the ‘NTR Auditorium’ in Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, where literary discussions, seminars and debates will take place, while the ‘Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium’ at Nampally will be used for women-oriented activities and children’s festivals and ‘Lalitha Kala Thoranam’ will be the hub for performing arts.

Stalls on Telugu literature will be set up and a Mini-Secretariat will be provided to monitor and attend to the queries of the delegates.

Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate WTC 2017, while President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been invited as Chief Guests. Eminent and Award-winning writers in Telugu and other Indian languages, politicians and media personalities are expected to be present at various events.

New-born Identity

As Telangana celebrates three years of being the newest state formed in India, constant efforts are being made by its Chief Minister, government officials and citizens to segregate ‘Telangana Culture’ from ‘Andhra Pradesh Culture’ across India and around the world.

“The intention is not to cast asperations on anyone but to celebrate the Telugu language, literature and contribution of poets and writers from this region,” Culture and Tourism Department officials have said.

Hence, performances such as ‘Kolattam,’ ‘Perini,’ ‘Kalupu,’ ‘Naatu,’ ‘Bathukamma’ and folk songs from the rural region will be an integral part of WTC 2017 that will display the best of Telangana culture to national and international delegates.

Other traditional acts comprise ‘The relationship between Tanishah and Ramadasu,’ ‘Ramadasu Padakeerthanalu,’ ‘Thandanana Ramayanam,’ ‘Saradakars’ and ‘Harikatha Recital.’

My participation in ‘Harmony 2017’ (Indian Newslink, November 15, 2017) enabled me to witness the cultures and peoples from almost all Indian States, with Telangana particularly capturing my attention with its rich culture and tradition.

I now look forward to participating at ‘Prapancha Telugu Mahasabhalu’ to learn more and immerse myself into the Telangana World.

About Ratna Venkat

Ratna Venkat, who received the Title of ‘Kuchipudi Princess’ from former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key on November 28, 2016, is an Award winning Indian Classical Dancer, Choreographer and Assistant Editor of Indian Newslink. She is a member of the New Zealand Delegation to ‘World Telugu Conference 2017,’ an International event sponsored by the Government of Telangana, Telangana Sahitya Academy and its Chairman Mr Nandini Sidda Reddy, being held in Hyderabad in the South Indian State of Telangana. Ratna will post experiences of her trip via her Facebook and Instagram pages and will provide a detailed report post the event in our January 15, 2018 issue. Like her on facebook.com/ratnarangnz and Follow her on instagram.com/ratnarang to stay updated.

 

Photo :

  1. Telangana Chief Minister K C Rao has invited the Diaspora to visit the WTC 2017 being held from December 15 to 19, 2017.
  2. Ratna Venkat will perform traditional Kuchipudi dances in traditional attire and jewellery which was specially designed and produced for her in Telangana last year. The Jewellery exhibits the tradition and heritage of a great State of great People. (Picture by Santhosh Tukkapuram).

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