The South Asian Times

21 April 2018 20:44 PM

Service, culture highlighted at Chicago NATS meet

By Special to The South Asian Times

New York: The convention organized during the fourth of July weekend by the North America Telugu Society (NATS) in Chicago concluded on a successful note, highlighting the language, culture and service.

The first day of the convention began with the lighting of the traditional lamp in the presence of people who had come from across India, particularly the Telugu states, and North America, according to information provided by the organizers.

The biennial convention was inaugurated at a banquet on June 30 by NATS President Mohan Krishna Mannava, convener Ravi Achanta, Andhra Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad, linguist Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, Telangana Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Working President Revanth Reddy and US-based industrialist Apparao Mukkamala.

Bhaashe Ramyam, Seve Gamyam [“Service is our Destination thru a Beautiful Language”] is the motto of NATS. Elaborating on it, NATS chairman Syam Maddali said NATS serves the Telugus through a helpline, students’ insurance and programs being undertaken in the Telugu land.

Prizes were distributed at the banquet for those who excelled in service and sports. A musical night, mimicry and comedy skits were presented by artists from Hyderabad. Noted actor Sai Kumar, hero Nikhil, music director Vandemaataram Srinivas, Telangana TDP leader E. Peddi Reddy and the film team of Duvvada Jagannatham (DJ) were among the participants. Food was provided by the Bawarchi restaurant group.

On the main stage, Namini Supamanya Naidu spoke about the importance of Telugu. Naidu, who was honored by P.V. Narasimha Rao, when he was prime minister, shared his experiences as a writer. Dr Samala Ramesh Naidu, the editor of Amma Nudi magazine, said that Telugus should speak their language wherever they live. He also urged the governments to make sure the language used in their orders is correct. Poet Jonnavithula Ramalingeswara Rao also spoke. Aakaash Ookoti, who topped in a spelling contest, was honored with the Dhaarana Vaamana title.

On July 1, the second day of the three-day event, the lamp-lighting ceremony was done by Sri Viswayogi Viswamji Maharaj. Veteran journalist J.V. Lakshmana Rao, who last month retired as editor in chief of the local India Tribune newspaper, was among those present. The lamp-lighting was followed by Sudarshana Homam in which the Viswayogi, Chidatmananda and Ishatmananda of the Chinmaya Seva Trust delivered discourses.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) expressed happiness that the massive convention indicates the unity of Telugus in the United States. A.L. Lawrence, mayor of Schaumburg, where the convention was held, said such gatherings strengthen literary and cultural bonds among ethnic groups.

An 80-member local team, trained by a Hyderabad squad, enacted a dance-drama called “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the whole world is one family”), which drew praise from many including Silicon Andhra founder Anand Kuchibhotla and Ramalingeswara Rao.

Kondaveeti Jyotirmayi sang the songs of Annamacharya and Bala Murali Krishna, which attracted the attention of classical music lovers.

Film star Allu Arjun of Duvvada Jagannathanm said he was happy to know that the Telugus were celepating their culture and language through the convention. Director Harish Shankar, producer Dil Raju, heroine of the film Puja Hegde and others were honored.

'Indian Idol' singer Revanth, Sunita and Vandemaataram Srinivas and others sang the "Punyabhoomi Naadesam ..." song as the convention closed. Rao Achanta proposed a vote of thanks. 

The next biennial convention will be held in Seattle and New Jersey will play host to the 2021 gathering, according to the organizers.

Update: 10 July, 2017