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For the love of Telugu

Jyothirmayi Malla, the name that is creating waves in the Telugu music world since the last six years as the first Telugu singer and writer, was born and brought up in the suburban Visakhapatnam (Kottavalasa). Jyothi learnt Carnatic classical music from the famous Maharajah's Government College of Music and Dance, Vizianagaram for three and a half years from a very young age of 11. She later completed her certificate course in music from Chennai. She earned popularity by singing in the concerts of the Kosana Cultural Academy in Vizag.

One day, when she had been to the Ghazal concert of Pinaz Masani in Mumbai, she was extremely inspired by her. The first thing that attracted her was that a woman singing ghazals and the form of ghazal inspired her so much that she wanted to translate them into Telugu, and her post-graduation in Hindi helped her. Then it dawned on her that she could as well write a Telugu ghazal. Although a ghazal is a beautiful form in Urdu and it doesn't much suit the lingo of Telugu, Jyothi took C Narayanareddi, the doyen of Telugu literature and one of the first Telugu ghazal writers, as her inspiration and started singing ghazals written by Dasaradhi, CINARE and made them popular. Her passion for Telugu ghazal had made her establish Jyothirmayi Telugu Ghazal Academy and now her pursuit in this field continues earning a lot of appreciation for her. She has given more than forty solo performances and has awarded to her credit. She has also given performances in South Africa, which made her popular beyond our nation.

Along with the Telugu, Urdu scholar Abdul Wahed, she had made an experiment 'Ghazal Fusion' in Hyderabad. This is singing a 'mathla' or 'sher' (couplet) from Urdu and immediately the Telugu translation of it. This earned her much popularity. Recently JYOTGA, (her academy), has successfully conducted a two-day workshop on ghazals supported by the AP State Cultural Directorate.

She is not only the first woman Ghazal singer and writer but a very good artist. Her talent won much applause when she made the sketches of the woman characters of Gurajada's drama 'Kanyasulkam' for the celebration of the 125 years of the classic play in Visakhapatnam. She is also a short story writer and her stories have been published in popular magazines like Prajasakthi, Vipula, Telugu Velugu, and some weekly magazines and popular dailies. She pens poetry too.

Her book on the Telugu alphabet is a unique attempt she has made. Each letter carries a picture drawn by her, along with a small verse to memorise. The child will remember the alphabet associating with the picture and the poem. This book is yet to be published.

Recently, she had been conferred the title 'Ghazal Jyothi' by the Bollimuntha Siva Ramakrishna Trust, Tenali. In the 150th year of Gandhi, Jyothi has given a concert in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada, where she translated and sang the Telugu version of the 'Vaishnava Janatho' bhajan. She also penned a few more ghazals in Telugu based on Bapu's teachings and won praises all through.

She encourages young writers by publishing their ghazals in a book 'Ghazal Guldasta' sponsored by the AP State Cultural Department. She maintains a group in the social media and encourages many and is successful in giving a platform to more than sixty to seventy writers to write Telugu ghazals. She is also passionate about Telugu language and strives hard to see that it is passed to the next generations.

When asked what her future mission is, she says, "My pursuit is to see the Telugu language must be spoken by Telugu people, especially children should learn their mother language first with love and respect. For this, I will do my best by writing songs and poetry and singing Telugu songs and conducting some programmes, where Telugu can be spread." She also hopes to popularise Telugu ghazal throughout the world. For this, she is designing some concerts where she will be singing ghazals written by the writers belonging to different places, where she will go to perform.

'We are Telugu people let us speak in Telugu' is the slogan she carries along during her endeavours.


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