BY RAVI R. PONANGI
American Telugu Association (ATA) is all set to celebrate
its 10th biennial conference on a grand scale to show case
the eminence of the Telugu culture, heritage, art,
literature, language and even the taste of food at the
Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, from July 3 to 5.
The reception committee joined by various committees have
made elaborate arrangements make the conference a memorable
one for the attendees.
Bharat Ratna A.P.J Abdul Kalam, the pioneering rocket
scientist and the 11th President of India will be the
keynote speaker at the inaugural ceremony of the conference
on July 3. Due to his unconventional working style, Dr.
Kalam is also popularly known as the People's President.
It is befitting for the organizers to invite Dr. Kalam as
keynote speaker, because he has a long and close association
with Telugus, as he lived in Hyderabad and worked as the
Director-General of the Defense Research and Development
Organization (DRDO) there.
Before his term as India's President, he distinguished
himself as engineering visionary and was awarded India's
highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his work
with DRDO and his role as scientific advisor to the Indian
government. He is popularly known as the Missile Man of
India for his work, and he is considered a progressive
mentor, innovator and visionary in India.
On many occasions he appreciated the contributions of Telugu
people for the benefit of the community and particularly he
mentioned the names of Dr. Soma Raju, Dr. M.R. Raju, Dr. S.V.
Rama Rao and others. He is expected to interact with the
delegates and particularly with youth and children.
Another prominent speaker at the ATA conference will be the
crusader of peace His Holiness China Jeeyar Swamiji. Today
he is reckoned very high among the monks of the India and
abroad as the peace messenger. Viswayogi Viswamji Maharaj of
Guntur, who is relentlessly working for fortifying Indo-US
relations through his spiritual discourses and unity marches
in the US, will also address the gathering. Other guests at
the conference include Purandareswari, Union Minister of
State for Human Resource Development, and daughter of NTR,
acclaimed artist Bapu, delegations of Central and state
ministers and officials, and several prominent social,
spiritual, cultural, literary, art, entertainment, business
and educational personalities. Officials, organizers,
volunteers and the Indian community in the neighborhood of
New York and New Jersey area are sprucing up the prestigious
Prudential Center to replicate it as Telugu land. Several
volunteers and the reception committee headed by its
convener Balaram Pammi are working day and night to make the
conference a memorable one under the guidance of ATA
president Dr. Chandra Reddy Gavva.
The Telugus living in New York and New Jersey neighborhoods
are hosting this enjoyable ATA conference after 10 years.
Various committees constituted for the conference are ready
with several well-planned programs. The three-day conference
promises to offer a complete spectrum of social, spiritual,
cultural, literary, art, entertainment, business and
knowledge-related events. Being the 10th conference, ATA set
the theme of the convention as “Telugu Talliki Haaram
Dasamaavataram Yuvataraaniki Dwaram.” The convention also
helps to promote a better understanding and closeness
between the people of motherland (Indians) and those of
adopted land (Americans). Various sessions that are to be
held simultaneously during the three-day convention, include
business seminars, youth programs, literary, spiritual and
cultural discussions. More than 150 attractive stalls
exhibiting their wares will be setup at the convention
center, where delegates can happily shop around for
exquisite jewelry, fashion garments, rare furniture,
attractive real estate, enriching literature, entertaining
music and video cassettes and DVDs.
Speaking to this reporter over the phone, Dr Chandra Reddy
Gavva, president of ATA, says that due to the overwhelming
response from people to participate in the conference,
arrangements have been made for pre-conference registrations
at four other locations in and around New Jersey and New
York, to avoid inconvenience and disappointment. “We are
still receiving enquiries from people not only from the US,
but also from India and other countries. Already 7000
delegates have so far registered and we expect the
registrations may reach up to 10,000 including on line and
spot registrations,” he adds. The ATA conference is an
opportunity to Telugu people to show case their rich
culture, heritage and language to the main stream Americans,
as India is playing a key role in the world economy.
Dr. Chandra Reddy says that the ATA conference is a perfect
vacation for entire family and an opportunity to meet other
Telugu families and celebrities. It is much better than
Caribbean vacation or Bahamas Cruise.
He appeals to all the Telugus and other communities to
participate in the conference actively as this is a lifetime
opportunity to attend a mega Telugu event. “You may not get
an opportunity to attend a Telugu function of this scale.
You can see and meet many celebrities under one roof. Can
you imagine meeting all these at one location at any other
time? he asks.
The American Telugu Association was formed in 1991, and the
first conference was held in Chicago the same year.