6500 turnout for pomp and gaiety of national Telugu convention in Atlanta
D. Sridharbabu, Education Minister; MM Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defense; DK Aruna, AP Information Minister; and Dr. Rajender Junna, ATA president, at the American Telugu Association Conference in Atlanta. (Photo: Ravi Ponangi)
Pomp and gaiety added to the extraordinary show of strength, solidarity, and pride of the Telugu speaking community at the 12th American Telugu Association (ATA) Conference and Youth Convention that was held here from July 6-8. The three day conference saw a record turnout of 6,500 delegates not only from different cities across America but also from India, Canada, Britain, and Dubai.
The grand celebrations attracted the august presence of M. M. Pallam Raju, India’s Minister of State for Defense; Smt. D. K. Aruna, Information Minster; D. Sridhar Babu, Education minister; and two parliament members, Madhu Yaskhi Gowd and Md. Azharuddin, besides a host of politicians, personalities of the Telugu film industry, literary scholars, and artists from Andhra Pradesh. Attending were Ajit Kumar, Consul General of India in Atlanta, Sobha Naidu, Padmaja Reddy, Goreti Venkanna, Garikipati Narasimha Rao, Nandamuri Lakshmi Parvathy, Dil Raju, Ileana, Telugu movie actress, past presidents of ATA, and many more.
Winners with Trophy in ATA sports. (Photo: Ravi Ponangi)
At the banquet on Friday, an awards ceremony honored Vempati China Satyam for Lifetime Achievement for Performing Arts, Dr. Rao S. Rapaka for Biomedical Research, Dr. Lakkireddy Hanimi Reddy for Philanthropist of the Decade award. Award winners from Atlanta included Dr. Sivananda Nyayapati for Arts, Dr. P. Ravi Sarma for Community Service, Narender G. Reddy for Political Leadership, and Ravi Ponangi for Journalism.
Day two festivities included messages by TAMA, GATA, ATA Convener Karunakar Asireddy, Youth Forum Chair Prashanth Paripati, ATA President Dr. Rajender Jinna, ATA Board, Standing committee Chairs and regional coordinators, and a spiritual message by Swami Chidatmananda. Chief Guest was Union Minister of State Pallam Raju, who addressed the gathering after release of the Inaugural CD. He spoke of India’s achievements and problems and stated his opinion that the state should remain united, without the Telengana split.
(Photo: ByteGraph Creations)
Ravi Prakash, CEO of TV9, delivered the keynote address appealing to NRIs to improve sanitation and education in villages and help stop suicides in the agricultural sector. He said Andhra Pradesh is plagued with corruption, family rule in politics, criminals in every field, fluoride problem in 3 districts, and the caste system.
Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly said, “Our people are successful in business, IT, and various fields, but in political field there is a dearth. ...We have to participate and produce more elected officials at various levels, because without political power, money power is not ... effective. .... You have to go and exercise your right to vote.” He noted that the U.S. Congress has 435 members but not one Indian-American, and the last time one was elected was in 1956 and 2005. He is now running for Congress and invited everyone to see his website.
Besides cultural shows, workshops, and seminars, ATA delegates benefitted from a variety of programs—social, spiritual, cultural, literary, art, entertainment, business, and medicine. Vendors also put up booths.
Cultural programs included classical, semi-classical, folk dance, music, and plays. There was Kuchipudi dance, Fashion Show, Fusion dance, a romantic thriller, Tollywood Dhamaka, Telugu Pandugalu, ATA Honors and recognitions, comedy skit “Americallo Manoorollu,” “Gaeya Ruupa Kavitvam” by Gorati Venkanna, and a comedy show by Tollywood actors.
(Photo: ByteGraph Creations)
Sunday had semi classical melodies by Dr. Jayaprada Ramamurthy and Ashtavashanam by Garikipati Narasimha Rao. Sunanda Vinodini II continued with the finals of Jhummandi Naadam and ATA 2012 Solo Dance Talent Search. Winners of various contests, “I want to be American President”, Jhummandi Naadam, Sayyandi Paadam and Star dancer were announced. There was Dazzling Dhamaka by Detroit Sizzlers, Namasthe India by Dr. Padmaja Reddy and group, honoring Nritya Choodamani Padmasree Dr. Sobha Naidu and Kuchipudi performance by her students, mimicry by Jitendranath, and a raffle. The night ended with “Taaralu Digvacchina Vela,” a musical performance by Thaman and party.
Thaman performed to a packed audience. (Photo: ByteGraph Creations)
Other interesting programs were a Lake Lanier cruise, Singles Mingle, Meet and Greet Tollywood Stars, and alumni meet ups for about 13 universities. Sports had carrom, chess, and jodinchu tournaments. Medical Issues in Asian Indians and more were topics at the CME Medical, and Geriatric Health and more at the health forum. Topics such as Medical Tourism, Real estate Opportunities, Emerging Trends, Investment, Careers in Film Making, were at the business forum. A general forum included “Encounter with Ravi Prakash TV 9,” Shubayogam, Graha shastram. There was a women’s forum, literary programs, and senior citizens programs. An NRI forum covered taxes and investments, Jan Lokpal Bill, burglaries/home invasions in USA, etc. The spiritual forum included Focus on Breathing, Essence of Vedas, Art of Living, Meditation, etc. Fraud investigation of IT company owners and employees was at the immigration forum, and political debate by Indian politicians with Rajanikanth from TV9 and Venkata Krishna from TV 5 educated and entertained the audience at the conference.
Hundreds of volunteers worked for the last 12 months for this huge program.
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ATA American Telugu Association.
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