Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is organising a five-day World Telugu Conference in Hyderabad from Friday, 15 December to 19 December, to highlight the contribution of Telangana in making Telugu, one of the ancient languages of India, flourish. The exercise is being seen as his attempt to heal the wounds of people who resisted the bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
KCR, who is an MA in Telugu from Osmania University, and also a lyricist in Telugu, has taken up the responsibility of conducting the world Telugu meet. Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu will be the chief guest at the inaugural function, while President Ram Nath Kovind will grace the valedictory function.
What surprised all is KCR’s decision to invite his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu to the inaugural ceremony, which will be held at the L.B. Stadium in the heart of Hyderabad on Friday evening.
KCR has announced Rs 50 crore for conducting the world meet which will be attended by around 200 delegates from 60 countries and 7,800 delegates from within India including scholars of different languages such as Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam.
Telangana Cultural Department secretary Burra Venkatesham told The Sunday Guardian that the conference will be remembered not only for its grandeur and scale, but also for its role in promoting the Telugu language and unearthing hidden angles of its rich literature and heritage. “We want to cater to the needs of around 15 crore Telugu speaking people all over the world,” he said.
This is not the first time the world Telugu conference is being held. The first one was held in Hyderabad in 1975 when the J. Vengal Rao led Congress government was in power in Andhra Pradesh and the second time it was held in 2012 at Tirupati when the N. Kiran Kumar Reddy led Congress government was struggling to keep AP united. The first one was a big success, but the second one went unnoticed.
The Telangana government is not treating the previous meets as precedents. “The first one was held to conceal the excesses of Emergency by the Vengal Rao government and to cover the wounds of separate Telangana movement in 1969 and Jai Andhra movement in 1971. The 2012 meet was a poor show to hide the latest Telangana agitation,” Telangana government adviser K.V. Ramanachary told this newspaper.
Ramanachary contended that the earlier world Telugu conferences were entirely dominated and dictated by linguists and litterateurs from the Andhra region. “Suppression of Telangana poets, writers and linguists’ contribution to Telugu language and literature is one of the reasons for separate statehood demand,” said Ramanachary in an interview to this newspaper.
As far as Telangana is concerned, this is the first WTC and it would entirely focus on the role and contribution of poets, writers and critics of Telangana to Telugu language and literature. Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University (PSRTU) in Hyderabad has been commissioned to publish 100 books on Telangana’s poets, writers and linguists.
KCR has directed his ministers and officials to conduct pre-event meetings in all 31 districts of Telangana and to ensure a large number of school and college students attended the WTC. Around 6,000 Telugu teachers and lecturers are being given paid holiday to attend the event.
A large number of Andhra people, estimated to be around 40 lakh, stay in Hyderabad and another 25 lakh people in the districts. They command control over a majority of businesses and industries in Telangana.
Interestingly, most of Andhra settlers in Hyderabad and the districts have turned supporters of KCR and the ruling TRS after the division of Andhra Pradesh. They overwhelmingly backed TRS in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections last year, which the party won.
KCR has sent a delegation of WTC to Vijayawada last week to invite Telugu writers and scholars to the WTC. PSRTU Vice-Chancellor Prof S.V. Satyanarayan told this newspaper that there was a tremendous response from the people of Andhra to the event. “We were surprised to see such warmth and affection from Andhra people,” he said. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Writers’ Association has given a call to boycott the WTC. It attacked KCR for rolling out a red carpet to those who opposed the creation of Telangana.