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TAMA celebrates 30th anniversary

By Ravi R. Ponangi
August 2011
TAMA celebrates 30th anniversary The Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) celebrated its 30th anniversary, “TAMA@30 Maha Sambaralu,” with gusto. Attendees lined up early in the morning at the Georgia International Convention Center on Saturday, July 9, for a Kids Fest, cultural programs, seminars, souvenirs, booths, food and Tollywood presentation that lasted till midnight for an audience of 3000. The grand finale showcased the Telugu language, literature, folk songs, village dances, culture and heritage.

Dr. Daggubati Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India, was the chief guest. A host of other dignitaries from India also attended, including Modugula Venugopala Reddy, member of Lok Sabha; three MLAs, Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, and Yarapatineni Srinivasa Rao; B.V. Raghavulu, State Secretary of CPI (M); and a host of representatives from different political parties. All these political leaders participated in a “political forum” to explain the happenings in Andhra Pradesh to a packed audience. They also answered questions from the audience.

More than 15 seminars/workshops were held simultaneously on a variety of subjects. Other programs included the rare and extraordinary Telugu literary multitasking feat of ashtavadhanam by guest artist Medasani Mohan, yoga sessions by Dr. Srikrishna Chandaka, cultural activities, dance, drama, and more. Attendees commented that arrangements were at the level of those of national associations. More than 60 vendor booths put up their stalls.

The musical night by movie singers Sri Krishna, Simha, Revant, Geeta, Madhuri, Soumya and Malavika; the comedy show by film stars Goutam Raju, Kota Sankara Rao, and Delhi Rajeswari; and Tollywood dances by Madhu Salini and Kamana Jetmalani were highlights of the celebrations.

The banquet held the evening before at Forsyth Conference Center was well attended by more than 500 community members. A host of VIPs from Andhra Pradesh were also present, as well as Dr. Purandeswari, GOI minister, and Balakrishna, popular Telugu cine hero (both are children of NTR—Nandamuri Taraka RamaRao). The Atlanta community raised a donation of more than $20,000 for Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute in Hyderabad, which had been established in memory of NTR’s first wife. The amount was presented to Balakrishna, president of the hospital named for his late mother.

TAMA presented a lifetime achievement award to community leader and cardiologist Dr. B. K. Mohan. Awards were also conferred on 12 awardees for excellence in their fields and for commitment to the community; a brief profile of each awardee was shown on screens as the plaque and shawl were presented. In the Over 21 category, awardees were Dr. Rama Rao Amara, Science & Research; Ravi R. Ponangi, Media & Journalism; Shyam K Reddy, Politics; Viju Chiluveru, Community Service; Madhav Durbha, Literature; Kumar Annavarapu, Telugu Literature; Aruna Kailasa, Best Teacher; and Anand Tummala, Sports. In the Under 21 category: Saitej Guthikonda, Science; Akhil Turaga, Fine Arts; Vooha Vellanki, Sports; Sarika Koneru, Academics; and Harsha Tambareni, Science. TAMA also released a souvenir of the 30th anniversary.

The inaugural ceremony of the festival began with an invocation. Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell; Social entrepreneur Bob Pattillo; Honorable GOI minister Purandeswari; popular Telugu cine hero Nandamuri Balakrishna; and Lok Sabha member from Narasaraopet, Modugula Venugopala Reddy declared the celebrations open. Dr. Purandeswari in her keynote address commended the services of NRIs to their mother land as well to America, their adopted land. She also appreciated the efforts of 30-year-old TAMA in keeping alive their language, culture and heritage in Atlanta, a home away from home. Georgia State Governor Nathan Deal sent a congratulatory message.


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