Category Archives: Inspiration / Positive News and Features

Telugu man in top Army post

Appointment Lt Gen YVK Mohan

Lt. Gen. Yenduru Venkata Krishna Mohan, senior most serving Lieutenant General amongst three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) from both Telugu states, has been appointed him as General Officer Commanding 9 Corps.

Presently, he is serving as the Assistant Chief Integrated Defence Staff (Joint Operations) at HQ Integrated Defence Staff, New Delhi.

Conferred with the Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, He is an alumnus of Korukonda Sainik School, Andhra Pradesh National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune and was commissioned into 7th Battalion of 11th Gorkha Rifles in 1981 and had served in varied terrains like Siachen Glacier and Indo-China border at Sikkim, a press release said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – January 10th, 2018

His voice, a capsule of tribal histories

Ramachandraiah is probably the last such singer left in A.P. and Telangana

Sakine Ramachandraiah could easily have been awarded honorary doctorate by any university. An unlettered man from Koonavaram village of Manuguru mandal of Bhadradri Kothagudem district, Ramachandraiah has oral histories of the Koya tribe on the tip of his tongue.

One only has to mention the story to have it cascade effortlessly from his vocal chambers, in Telugu as well as Koya language.

Belonging to the ‘Doli’ sub-division of the Koya tribe, which has been traditionally ordained with the duty of reciting the tribe’s clan histories, Ramachandraiah is probably the last such singer left in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

“Some times, I cross the State border to perform in Chhattisgarh, where people want the songs in Koya language,” Ramachandraiah says.

He sings at marriages, at funerals, and he always sings at the biennial Medaram Jathara also known as the ‘Sammakka Saralamma Jathara’, which is touted as the world’s largest repeat congregation of tribal communities. The Medaram Jathara is to be held from January 31 to February 3 this year, at Eturunagaram of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district.


The Doli community is described as ‘professional beggars’ among Koyas by the Godavari District Gazette of 1896. Though their duties are priest-like and along with ‘Oddis’— the superior priest class — they can be classified as the ‘literate’ in the tribe, their status is still considered ‘inferior’.

Doli men sing oral histories based on the ‘Padige’s or pictorial scrolls inherited by various communities over centuries.

“Earlier, Doli families used to live in a hamlet called ‘Soppala’.

Now, nobody lives there. Few are left who can recite oral histories as accurately as Ramachandraiah,” says Jayadhir Tirumala Rao, academic and researcher of tribal communities.

Prof. Tirumala Rao is spearheading a project to document the oral history of ‘Sammakka-Saralamma’ as told by Ramachandraiah, and he vouches that the story, if fleshed out from the myth it is enmeshed in, could substantially aid historical research.

“Sammakka-Saralamma story is about the war waged against the Kakatiya dynasty by tribal women who challenged king Prataparudra when he had levied tax on them for the tanks he had got constructed in their forests. The Koya tribe had then lived on hunting-gathering, and never cultivated any land.

So, the king sought to send outsiders into the forest for cultivation, which was the last straw on the camel’s back. This story comes out very clearly from the song recited by Ramachandraiah,” Prof. Tirumala Rao says.

Apart from ‘Sammakka-Saralamma’, the balladeer sings the stories of tribal warriors such as Gari Kamaraju, Pagididda Raju, Irama Raju, Gaadi Raju, Bapanamma, Musalamma, Nagulamma, Sadalamma and others. He also knows and recites the stories behind the endogamous tribal sub-divisions and their surnames. “Now, nobody wants to sing the stories. Even my own son refuses to follow the tradition,” Ramachandraiah laments.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Swathi Vadlamudi / January 10th, 2018

MEPMA bazaar opened

MEPMA Mission Director T.K. Sreedevi at a stall at All India Industrial Exhibition at Nampally.

A bazaar exclusively to house the stalls of 55 entrepreneurs of self-help groups was opened on Saturday at the All India Industrial Exhibition by T.K. Sreedevi, Mission Director, Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) which promotes SHGs.

The exhibitors who are drawn from all over the State were given an opportunity free of cost to display and sell their products, a release said.

L. Vandana Kumar, Additional Mission Director-MEPMA, and other officials were present.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – January 08th, 2018

This dessert van in Hyderabad is simply W.O.W.

Sweet truck Aishwarya and Priyanka at their truck parked in Sainikpuri, some of their adorable looking desserts | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

W.O.W is the first food cart run and managed by two young girls

Aishwarya Balasubramanian and Priyanka Natesh are cousins in their early 20s. Yet it was not until boredom with their regular jobs and the wish to pursue their individual dreams brought them to a common discussion platform, that they realised they might have something common and concrete on their minds.

Aishwarya wanted to do something that allowed her some time to pursue higher studies and Priyanka wanted to try out her bakes and goodies outside the closed circle she was catering to. Also the fact that one loves to eat and the other loves to bake made the partnership a good one for a food business. Without spending much time on their idea they discussed their ‘business plan’ with their parents.

Food business was fine. But the girls wanted to run a food truck and name it ‘Women on wheels’ (W.O.W) “That was a concern for our parents; mostly about our safety. So when we started, one of our parents would be there with us for safety and to understand the crowd that came to buy our food stuff,” says Aishwarya.

W.O.W’s happy glowsign can be spotted from a distance among the line of food trucks which stand on the popular food spots of Secunderabad. W.O.W is also the first and the only food truck managed and owned by women in the twin cities.

“After we decided on the plan we approached experts who design food trucks in Hyderabad. We knew what we wanted for the exterior look but were unaware of the technicalities so we let the experts deal with that. We also gave him the happy bubble gum colour theme for the colour palette.
Our food truck is based on the Mom&Pop food truck culture in the West. We wanted to do something in the food truck business that would make us stand out from the rest. Since Priyanka bakes and is very popular for her eggless desserts, we were confident of our time-tested products,” says Aishwarya.

W.O.W can be spotted at different stops in Secunderabad on different days from 7.30 pm to 10 pm. They have a new menu everyday; apart from home-made desserts, cakes in a jar, they also sell gelatos and fruit flavoured sorbets. “I used to bake because it was something I enjoyed doing. I started experimenting with eggless bakes and they became popular. Then by word of mouth I started getting orders and within no time, my hobby baking turned me into a home baker,” says Priyanka.

While the girls haven’t faced any trouble from their clients, it was the other food cart businesses that showed them some resistance in the beginning. “We weren’t welcome for sure. They would try to make us lose our spot. We stayed put and without jostling for space, made our way into the business in Habsiguda,” says Aishwarya.

Since W.O.W sells only desserts and cakes, their food truck sometime turns into an impromptu place for birthday celebration for friends. “Sometimes some regular diners come and place orders with us for a surprise birthday treat. That’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s nice to make us feel a part of such a celebration,” adds Priyanka.

Aishwarya who is pursuing her PGDMA in Human resources says she is a people’s person and loves to talk to the crowd to understand their taste, likes and dislikes. “The food cart business has been a learning experience. It is doing good and we are still innovating but the fact that ‘there is a rule, yet there is no rule’ makes it uncertain.”

How would she explain ‘there is a rule, yet there is no rule’? “Sometimes we are asked to move our cart saying it’s against the law and when I seek written permission to park the food cart, I am told I can park it anywhere except in a ‘no parking’ zone and we shouldn’t obstruct traffic.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Prabalika M.Borah / January 08th, 2018

Doctor makes a mark in literary field

Dr. Parcha Anjani Devi, who is enriching Telugu short story genre, during an interview with The Hindu in Warangal on Sunday.

Dr. Parcha Anjani Devi’s short stories are winning wide appreciation from readers

“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you” says American writer George Saunders.

Of all the genres, writing a short story is most difficult one, which many acclaimed writers say.

However, here is septuagenarian medical professional who won a ccolades from her readers by penning beautiful short pieces.

Meet Dr. Parcha Anjani Devi, a reputed doctor in Hanamkonda, who not only earned a name as doctor but also as a short story writer in Telugu literature. Her stories won wide appreciation from readers and were featured in literary magazines and in number of anthologies brought out by various literary organizations in the state.

Telugu magazines – Andhra Jyothi Sunday magazine, Rachana, Navya, Anveshana and others published Dr Anjani Devi’s stories while the All India Radio airs her stories every month.

Empathy, understanding, family, inter-personal relations and adjustments form themes of her writing. Much acclaimed story, Thanbhi, a Urdu word, meaning almirah, features how a Andhra girl married to a Telangana boy finds difficulty in adjusting. Finding from the diary of her mother-in-law how much she loved her daughter-in-law, the Andhra girl gives up her inhibitions and falls in total love with her new family.

Another story, Naku Nachina Gadhi, which means — the room which I love the most — features the memory that haunts her time and again.

When people share their joy of having a new home and room, they love much in it, she ponders over herself and realises that it is the labour room, which she frequented the most, is what she loves the most.

In the story, Antique Piece, Dr. Anjani Devi portrays how people attach more value to the items they collected, including the antique pieces, the value which they do not give to their aged parents. The parents continue to be neglected and are treated less worth.

“I write once in a while. Unless I am moved, and I have confidence that my story moves my reader, I do not take pen. I am happy that most of my stories are widely appreciated,” she says speaking to The Hindu.

Despite enriching the Telugu short story with her unique stories, this doctor remains unsung and unnoticed by literary organisations and yet she says that she is contented.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao / Warangal Urban District – December 11th, 2017

Innovative teacher devises a new script

Srikanth Rangachari who invented a new language script using symbols of the world currencies. | Photo Credit: K_V_RAMANA

Srikanth Rangachari uses symbols of different currencies to denote each letter.

Much before the alphabet evolved and scripts were developed for the languages spoken around the world, symbols were used to denote letters in the rudimentary scripts of the ancient times and the Egyptian Hieroglyphic writing is the best example.

Perhaps taking inspiration from the past, Srikanth Rangachari, a teacher in a private school at Tanur mandal headquarters in Nirmal district, has devised a new script using the symbols of different currencies, which, he claims can be utilised for the tribal languages that have no scripts.

Interestingly, Mr. Rangachari has transliterated all the 702 stanzas in 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita and the national anthem into his new script, that has 51 letters. Working day and night for three months, he improvised the script which he has named the ‘Currency Script’.

Hailing from Sunket village of Morthad mandal in the district, the 24-year-old always wanted to be different since childhood and try new things. He had already etched his name in the Telugu Book of Records and Limca Book of Records — breaking the world record of Geetha Smith and Mathew Jackson — by reciting the English alphabet 37 times in a record low time of 1.420 seconds.

Mr. Rangachari used the symbol of US dollar for ‘Da’ in Telugu; the UK pound for ‘A’ and Nigerian nirasigin for ‘Na’ and so on. Slash [/], @ and * denoted ‘Aa’, ‘E’ and ‘Ee’ in Telugu respectively. “ People who do not have a script for their mother tongue can use it for writing their language,” he says.

The young teacher has also incorporated zero, diamond, laokip and symbols of Indian rupee, Japanese Yen and Korean wonsign and Judaism and Swastik of Hindusim. For his endeavour, he secured the recognition of Amazing Book of Indian World Records last month, winning the admiration of his colleagues and friends.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by P. Ram Mohan / Nizamabad – December 25th, 2017

First Mahatma Gandhi digital store opened

Ela Gandhi and Jayesh Ranjan inaugurating the store. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Information Technology secretary Jayesh Ranjan on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first Mahatma Gandhi Mobile Digital Museum Store at Bapu Ghat in the city.

A joint venture of the Visual Quest India and Aditya Birla Group’s corporate social responsibility initiative Eternal Gandhi, the digital store is aimed at spreading Gandhi’s ideology and teachings. Souvenirs inspired by the ‘Father of the Nation’, crafted to reflect various facets of his life reflecting values of peace, truth and non-violence, would be put on sale. The income generated through the sale would be used for the mobile digital museum.

Gandhi’s granddaughter and former member of South African Parliament, Ela Gandhi, was present on the occasion. She recalled how Gandhi always believed that education was not all about learning, but a way of living. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” she said, quoting her famous grandfather while addressing youths at the function.

Representatives of Aditya Birla Group and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts were also present.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – December 20th, 2017

A mission to read

Manmohan Jain of India Literacy Project | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

With courage and conviction by your side, take a chance, exults Manmohan Jain of India Literacy Project (Hyderabad)

Three years ago when Manmohan Jain of India Literacy Project (Hyderabad) had to travel to Bengaluru for a meeting, he wondered how to book tickets! “I knew how to book tickets but till then my travel plans and hotel bookings were taken care by my secretary. Later, I figured it on my own,” he recalls with a smile.

In their office near Kothaguda post office, a small room houses the books and kits for school children. Manmohan looks cheerful as the office boy walks in with a tray and states, ‘Please have water and tea.’ A smile adorns Manmohan’s face; The office boy speaking English is a boost to his ‘literacy for all’ mission.

Software stint

A student of electrical engineering, Manmohan switched to software when he was introduced to programming language in his third year. After graduation, he went to the US to do his masters. “I found programming very interesting and challenging and changed my academic interests into software,” he shares. He spent 18 years in the software industry which included a 10-year and 8-year stint in the US and India.

He joined it as a software engineer/trainee and reached the level of vice president in CA Technologies. “I enjoyed my job. In fact I was in one company for 18 years which was unheard of in the software industry,” he states and defines growth, “I believed that growth is constant when one is learning. One need not look at growth as some promotion. For me, growth happened in two aspects — both vertical in terms of promotion or lateral in terms of handling a new team or domain.”

His comfy life and workplace perks was the dream job for many. “It was interesting and challenging and I kept myself motivated by being in domain or shifting to a new team or changing cities from California to New York to Chennai and then Hyderabad. I would joke that I was able to change jobs while being in the same company. I was able to do different things,”

While continuing his job, he started the Hyderabad chapter of India Literacy Project and was volunteering his time in it. “But software being hectic I could only give limited time and felt if I wanted to scale this and make a significant impact I had to give it dedicated time,” he states and affirms his decision to quit job was not based on a trigger moment. “For me, it was more of a process of things building up to when the inevitable had to happen. Stagnation on career front and the impact being so limited, is what finally made it happen.”

He plunged into it full time in 2014 and broaden the base of ILP. With 20 core volunteers and 40-50 floating volunteers, ILP works in 33 government schools with its focus to improve the quality of education in those schools. The volunteers could teach or read books to the children. “We have a flexible system where volunteers can offer their time; either it could be an hour a week or even two hours a month. All we ask is treat this also professionally and be committed to it.” Speaking about the rising number of volunteers, he shares, “It’s encouraging and heartening to see how the youth is also interested in giving back. Earlier, volunteering was something which was done after retirement. There were various factors to it but now they look at these stints as varied experiences.”

As a parting note, Manmohan affirms positive energy will help one deal with challenges. “If anyone has an inkling, take the plunge and do not be afraid. Even if you fail, re do it. If you are doing this for a good reason, my conviction is things will work out. When people see that you took a chance, they will appreciate it and value that you had the courage and conviction. For someone who is not afraid of trying, failing is a valuable asset.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style / by Neeraja Murthy / December 14th, 2017

District Collector sets an example

Gets hair cut done at a road-side kiosk in a village

He has done it again. For Jayashanker – Bhoopalpalli Collector A. Murali, ditching protocols and security is not new. He has freely travelled on his bike, wearing a helmet, in the middle of the night in remote tribal villages of the district. He stayed overnight in tiny hamlets where there were not even school buildings. All this for what? To gain first-hand information about problems of people. Last week, he did one more. He stayed overnight at a village in Mangapet mandal and went on a tour of the nearby villages the next day. Mr. Murali stopped at Chintakunta village on seeing a tribal youth donning the role of a barber and cutting the hair of his customers by the roadside. Mr. Murali lost no time and engaged the professional services of the youth himself. The latter promptly spread out the towel that he used for any other customer on the VIP’s person and got paid ₹100 for the job done. Months ago, the Collector admitted his daughter for delivery at the Government hospital at Mulug.

Deputy Chief Minister turns Santa

Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali was in a generous mood recently. On two separate, yet consecutive occasions, he announced benefits for the weaker sections. In the first instance, Mr. Ali told a huge gathering of physically challenged people that the State Government would consider increasing reservation percentage for people with disabilities from four to six. He followed the encouraging news with more such sops as he added, the State might extend free power and water to the disabled and also give them priority in allotment of double bedroom houses. The very next day, Mr. Ali was heard announcing a sub-plan for minorities like the ones for SCs and STs and 16 other new schemes for them. A good, hopeful year ender for the weaker sections?

Telugu thalli or Telangana thalli?

A section of Telugu language lovers have their fingers crossed over the inaugural event of the World Telugu Conference in Hyderabad from December 15. They are clueless whether it would be Telugu ‘thalli’ (Mother Telugu), portrayed as the symbol of Telugu people till the movement for statehood to Telangana gained momentum post-2009, or Telangana thalli that would be paid respects at the event. The reason for the anxiety stems from the remarks by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in his capacity as president of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) during the Telangana movement stating that Telugu thalli was a myth and that it was a demon for the people of Telangana. The issue has already gone viral on social media questioning the propriety of Telangana on Telugu after demeaning Telugu thalli, the representative idol of the language, during the Statehood movement. BJP leader N. Indrasena Reddy is in the bandwagon that has been demanding apology from KCR before the commencement of the event being organised to celebrate Telugu.

Where are the teachers?

While the Government has been stressing on the need for improving research and promote science in a big way, the recent decision of the Government to fill up vacancies in the universities have baffled academics and students. The reason being out of the 1,061 posts that the Government has given clearance in the universities, a lot of vacancies are in the departments that hardly find students. At the same time vacant posts in the sought-after subjects are comparatively less, senior academics argue. The need now is to create new science departments to promote research and recruit teachers there rather than offer courses considered non-serious by the students themselves and opted only for a stay in the hostel, academics feel. Of course, they are also clear that social sciences should not be neglected but sciences need more importance.

(N. Rahul, Nikhila Henry, B. Chandrashekhar, R. Ravikanth Reddy)

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / December 11th, 2017

A movement that created groundwork for Telugu renaissance

Safety first: Bomb squad inspecting World Telugu Conference 2017 venue, L.B. Stadium, in the city with a sniffer dog on Monday. | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Daasarathi made his entry as well as mark as a 19-year-old in 1944

In a world before WiFi, the Telangana Saraswatha Parishath in Boggulkunta, was the first free open public space for prose, poetry and literature in Hyderabad.

“Telugu poet Sri Sri used to come and speak here. Other well known Telugu littérateurs used it to perfect their craft and share their stories. This has been a training ground for legions of Telugu teachers. More than that the Parishath has held aloft the torch of Telugu literature,” says J. Chennaiah, secretary of the TSP in Boggulkunta area.

As Hyderabad gets ready to host the World Telugu Conference between December 15 and 19, the shaded alcove in front of the L-shaped building is deserted but inside it thrums with classrooms where a new generation of Telugu teachers are being created.

Born as a rebel movement out of the grand Andhra Mahasabha on May 26, 1943 , it was first called Nizam Rashtra Andhra Saraswatha Parishath (NRASP).

The NRASP was born in the small library hall of Reddy Hostel building. Sankaranarayana Rao, Boorgula Ranganadha Rao and B. Krishna Rao, who were the founding members of the Parishad, set the tone and tenor of the movement. The choice of location was ironical as the Nizam’s King Kothi was just yards away.

“The word Nizam was used because the Parishath wanted to limit its activities to the Telugu-speaking areas of the Nizam’s dominion. The Nizam was wary of groupings. He suspected that the language groups would be used to subvert his rule. The NRASP’s sole goal was literary as many of the founders discovered that the Andhra Mahasabha was more interested in political activities,” informs Mr. Chennaih.

What the Parishad was against became apparent when the next meeting was organised inside the Warangal Fort on December 29 and December 30, 1944. But before the meeting could get underway, the whole tented arrangement was burnt in the night.

“The next day, Kaloji Narayana Rao, Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao decided to conduct the meeting as if nothing happened. The Police Commissioner Raja Bahadur Venkatarama Reddy was the chief guest. It was also the first meeting, where Daasarathi made his entry as well as a mark as a 19-year-old,” says Mr. Chennaiah.

The annual event did not take place in 1948 as the Nizam launched a crackdown and then there was the Police Action.

The 1949 meeting in Toopran in February saw the name of the organisation changed to Andhra Saraswatha Parishath (ASP) and it created groundwork for Telugu renaissance. “It was at that meeting that a demand was made for compulsory Telugu up to Matric which the government agreed to. All the students who were studying Telugu at the ASP got jobs as teachers,” informs Mr. Chennaih.

The effort to turn Osmania University into a Central University with Hindi as a principal medium of instruction was again thwarted as the ASP created Citizens’ Committee and lobbied against the move.

“It is on record that the then Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad shot down the idea of a Hindi University only after hearing out members of the ASP,” says Mr. Chenniah.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Serish Nanisetti / Hyderabad – December 12th, 2017