The five-day World Telugu Conference beginning in Hyderabad on December 15 is unique in more than one way. Unlike in the past, the present conference has a special significance – it is taking place at a time when the interest in Telugu language is on the wane.

Except for day-to-day communication, there is little effort that is going into either popularising the language or kindling interest in the young minds for learning the language, which was known as Italian of the East for its richness, depth and for the spell that its phonetics could cast. The Telangana government has taken the conference as a prestigious issue to breathe a new life into the language which is in the throes of death.

The state is spending Rs 50 crore and delegates in droves are expected from about 40 countries in addition to about 8,000 delegates from all over India. There will be special cultural shows at Lalitha Kala Thoranam with 3,000 youths who played a vital role in Telangana movement, lending the conference a carnival-like look.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who is a master’s degree holder in Telugu literature and has even composed poems, is lending his shoulder for recognition and promotion of the Telangana dialect.

He has an unusually deep interest in the language. In fact, he used Telangana dialect to unite the people of the state for creation of a separate Telangana state. Using the dialect, Rao has brought about an emotional integration among the people. Telangana culture and tradition together formed other formidable constituents of the brew which secured the success of the Telangana movement.  If it were not for him and his daughter Kavitha, Bathukamma festival which used to be confined to villages in remote Telangana villages would not have become so visible as to attract attention from abroad.

Interestingly, the conference is being held for the first time after the Telangana state has been created which left bruised feelings and frayed tempers on Andhra side of the divide. This conference, where Telugus of both the states would be playing an important role, would hopefully lessen the rancour that had remained the undesirable hallmark of the division.

Though KCR and Chandrababu Naidu, on many issues, do not see eye to eye, they would be sharing dais at the conference which is considered a good augury for ensuring an atmosphere of camaraderie between the two states. Now that delegates are being invited from not only both the Telugu speaking states, but also from all the states in India and from abroad, one could foresee a significant contribution to the language which has long been neglected.

Till now, except constituting Adhikara Bhasha Sangham, no serious effort has really gone into the enrichment of the language. The TS government has appropriately decided that all name boards in the state shall be written in Telugu, apart from the languages of one’s choice.  Then another heartening step is to introduce Telugu as a compulsory subject in all educational institutions – whether state or central or aided.Unfortunately, the x-generation does not even know properly the alphabets of Telugu language. This needs to be addressed forthwith.