World Telugu Conference! The very mention of the three words is music to the ears. The romance of the word Telugu is so magnetic that the heart of every Telugu person is instantly filled with unbridled joy. It is soul-stirring and akin to the nirvana one achieves when listening to a mellifluous classical rendition.
World Telugu Conference
Unfortunately, we are still talking about whether people like Nannaya and Bommera Pothanaa belong to Telangana or Andhra. The present-day politicians and officials forget that when Pothana wrote Mahabhagavatam, he did not think along these narrow regional lines.
As one reminiscences the ever-rising Telugu language and its culture, what comes to mind instantly is celebrity highs in song, poems, dance, drama, folk, traditions, culture and what not. Suffice to state that everything associated with 'Telugu' is purity personified.
It is time to recall Sri Krishna Devaraya's eminent quote "Desa Bhashalandu Telugu Lessa" (among the nations all languages, Telugu is the best).
In keeping with the exuberance, the 'World Telugu Conference" began at Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad with gaiety and grandeur. This prestigious event is being organised by the Government of Telangana.
There is no denying that the conference is expected to be a festival that is celebrated by the entire Telugu community, irrespective of the place of domicile. Every Telugu household will celebrate and rejoice because it is an occasion to showcase the oneness that binds them all together.
Eminent personalities, distinguished guests, poets, writers, intellectuals, artists will come together at one place to share, engage and interact with each other and give a new dimension and vision to the rich history, heritage of Telugu language at the historic conference.
The event promises to unravel new dimensions to the stories and literature that have been lost in the lap of time, region and politics.
It’s an opportunity to cherish the variety within the language, the stress on ‘yaasa’ and its exclusivity in a few stories besides reminding one of C Narayana Reddy’s words “yaasaluverugaunna, mana bhasha Telugu bhaashanna.” It’s an event that promises to be a right bridge to connect the past and future, the Telugu ‘vaibhavam’ and ‘vartamanam’.
The sheer variety of storytelling, the wide range of poetry-from ‘geyakavitavam to tatvakavitvam to vachanakavitvam,’ the capacity of the language to absorb nuances of the others and influence their thought are integral to this great language whose beauty has been its ability to stand up to its submerging threats by rulers of many origins.
In more than one way, the five-day World Telugu Conference has special significance, much unlike the earlier ones. It is taking place at a time when the interest in Telugu language is on the wane.The Telangana government has taken the conference as a prestige issue so as to infuse new freshness into the language.
The state is spending Rs 50 crore and delegates in droves are in town from about 40 countries in addition to the 8000 from all over India. There will be special cultural shows at Lalita Kala Thoranam with 3,000 youth, who played a vital role in Telangana movement, lending the conference a carnival-like look.
A few resolutions will be passed on the concluding day of the World Telugu Conference (WTC), on December 19. Among these will be a resolution seeking that Telugu be made a compulsory subject till class XII at all schools in Telangana.
Another resolution will seek that it be made mandatory for all government and private institutions to put up signboards in Telugu, along with other languages. The WTC will also pass a resolution urging that all government correspondence be done in Telugu and seeking that the Official Language Commission be strengthened.
The Official Language Commission is toothless at present. The resolution will seek that the Commission be given the authority to initiate action against institutions and individuals violating the norms of Telugu promotion.
So far so good, as they say! But all such functions should be beyond regional considerations and politics. Unfortunately, something seems to be amiss this time. The government is undoubtedly making all-out efforts to make it a grand success.
The Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao, who is himself a lover of Telugu literature and a poet in his own right, has shown keen interest in the preparations. But then there seems to be some lapse in planning at the level of bureaucracy.
The intentions of the Chief Minister could not be reflected as a regional divide seems to have creeped in.
It is difficult to believe, though some people claim, that it is the decision of the top bosses of the government not to invite anyone from Andhra Pradesh, not even its Chief Minister.
I don’t think such a decision was taken at the level of the Chief Minister since KCR is known to have proved that post-bifurcation, there was no place for any kind of regional divide. He proved this during the GHMC elections where TRS party got a good number of votes even in areas where Andhra voters are in majority.
But then the million-dollar question is how is it that the authorities have decided not to invite any litterateur, poet or artiste from Andhra Pradesh? What’s more, the authorities also seem to have created a divide between Telugu and English newspapers. They seem to have felt that English papers have no role to play in popularising the event. None of them has got any kind of advertisements.
It appears that the bureaucrats feel that the readers of English newspapers are not Telugus. It is hard to believe that it could have been the idea of the government, or to be precise the Chief Minister.
I have seen how a fantastic display of unity is demonstrated when Tamilians or Kannadigas or Marathas organise such events. In Tamil Nadu during normal times, the political divide is perhaps the worst of its kind.
But when it comes to language, Tamilians of the world unite. So is the case with Kannadigas. Sadly, here we have failed to display our unity to the world. It is this lack of unity, which has resulted in loss of Telugu schools in Tamil Nadu.
Till sometime back there used to be 140 Telugu teaching schools in Tamil Nadu but today most of them have been closed down and only 40 such schools are functioning and they too are on ventilator.
Unfortunately, we are still talking about whether people like Nannaya and Bommera Pothanaa belong to Telangana or Andhra. The present-day politicians and officials forget that when Pothana wrote Mahabhagavatam, he did not think along these narrow regional lines. In fact, his magnum opus is known as ‘Andhra Mahabhagavatam.’
It is just not enough to recall the glory of past history, great scholars and the invaluable Telugu literature, which inspired the world in many ways but what is required is a sincere effort to preserve, protect and promote the language that is recognised as Italian of the East.
The kind of regional chauvinism that has been exhibited during the first World Telugu Conference in the 29th State has set a bad precedent. Are we not mature enough to rise above such petty considerations? The answer lies within the heart of each of us.