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Melbourne’s Telanganites celebrate the second anniversary of statehood
Jai Telangana! Jai Telangana! Cheers celebrating Telangana, the youngest of India’s 29 states, reverberated through Melbourne recently.
The second anniversary of the formation of Telangana was celebrated in Melbourne’s outer suburbs last month.
The event also marked the launch of Telangana Jagruthi Australia, the Australian chapter of Telangana Jagruthi in India which was formed in 2008 to preserve and celebrate Telangana’s cultural heritage.
Speaking at the event, the chief guest Kalvakuntla Kavitha, the founder of Telangana Jagruthi, talked about the similarities between Australia and India, with both being diverse and multicultural countries.
An elected member of the Lok Sabha, Ms Kavitha reinforced that the purpose of Telangana Jagruthi is not only to preserve and promote Telangana culture, but also to serve the community at large, whether it be Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, other Indian communities or the Australian community.
“The Indian diaspora sometimes get too ‘involved’ in community,” she quipped, obviously referring to the sometimes insular and inward-looking attitudes that exist in community organisations. “Existing Telugu associations, Telangana associations and Indian associations should work together. At no cost should we counter each others’ efforts. Live and let live should be the spirit.”
Ms Kavitha also emphasised the responsibility that Telangana Jagruthi has towards the Australian community.
“Australia has given us so much. We should stand together for the needy of Australia.”
She referenced access to health care in rural communities and said that the organisation, headed by Nishidhar Reddy Borra, will work towards developing better programs. Ms Kavitha also vowed to learn from Australia and make Hyderabad as liveable as Melbourne. She implored the audience to use the revolutionary spirit that had helped their fight for statehood, and re-purpose it to bring about development.
The event was attended by several members of the Victorian Parliament including Hong Lim, Liberal Member for Clarinda, and Sonia Kilkenny, Labor Member for Carrum, who congratulated the audience on the anniversary and acknowledged the contributions Indians make to Australia. Victoria’s Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Inga Peulich spoke of her bond with the Indian community, and joked that she may very well call herself Shadow Minister for Indian Affairs, judging by the number of Indian events she attends!
She spoke of the strengths in diversity – citing her own personal example, not only as one in a mixed marriage but also the product of one – and of the advantages such diversity can offer to the nation.
“Australian-Indians (can bring in) cultural insights, talent, education and links to advance this (diversity).”
The Indian Consul in Melbourne, Rakesh Malhotra struck a positive note saying that the Consulate would help in promoting Telangana language and culture, and work towards strengthening the ties between Telangana and Victoria. Interestingly, though the main purpose of the organisation is to celebrate and preserve Telangana culture, the entertainment program at the launch was very light on culture. Most of the performances, except a Kuchupudi performance, were ‘popular culture’ and movie-inspired. Though the famous Bathukamma celebration, a uniquely Telangana festival was mentioned several times, the performances themselves had little to do with Telangana or Telangana culture, or indeed Indian culture.
Telangana, previously a part of Andhra Pradesh, came into being by an act of the Indian Parliament on 2 June, 2014. The fifty year struggle for statehood was based on a historical lack of development for Telangana regions, exploitation of its mineral and water resources and discrimination against Telangana people and culture.