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A 'little Andhra' comes alive in US

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A 'little Andhra' comes alive in US

Jyotirmoy Datta (IANS)
Chicago, July 10

A tiny corner of the US was transformed into a "little Andhra" as over 8,000 guests from all over North America, India and other countries descended for a Telugu convention.

The arts and culture of Andhra Pradesh came to an opulent bloom at the Rosemont Convention Centre on the outskirts of Chicago where the Eighth ATA (American Telugu Association) Telugu Conference and Youth Convention was held.

"The huge convention facility turned into a 'Little Andhra', with many guests attending in traditional Andhra dresses," Ramana Murthy Yedavalli, a former chief engineer of the City of Chicago and local coordinator of the convention, told IANS.

The main auditorium reverberated with the sounds of Andhra music and the rhythms of its dances, the seminar rooms echoed the rolling syllables of the Telugu language, and the dining halls were redolent of the smells of Andhra cuisine.

It was an affair to remember for children as well as adults, with art contests for kids, dance competitions for teens, discussion groups for the second generation, and reunions of the alumni of renowned Andhra schools.

But it was not just entertainment and pleasure: a programme-titled "Lend a Hand to the Motherland" was launched at the convention to help the drought-stricken farmers of Andhra Pradesh, with the Telugus of America donating one day's earnings.

Among the dignitaries from India attending the meet were Andhra Pradesh Minister for Industries Bothsa Satyanarayana, Indian Minister of State for Coal and Mines Dasari Narayan Rao, film producer and director Ramanaidu, and Jnanpeeth awardee and Telugu literary giant C. Narayana Reddy.

Among the dignitaries from the US was New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula, who has been on Franklin Township Council since 1997 and was mayor of the township in 2000.

The convention opened with the Awards Banquet, at which ATA recognised outstanding individuals of Telugu origin were honoured.

Murthy Chimata, ATA convenor, said the theme of the convention was "Arrive, Assimilate and Excel".

Noted playback singer P. Susheela, who is popularly known as the Lata Mangeshkar of the Telugu film industry, entertained the audience with her melodious voice. She was given a Lifetime Achievements Award.

The ATA awardees included those from India as well.
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