Category Archives: Arts, Culture & Entertainment

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

Hyderabad gets its own ‘Art District’

Children playing in a street painted yellow under the Art District project of St+art India in MS Maqtha of Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

MS Maqtha abutting Necklace Road station gets an aesthetic makeover

It is a colourful makeover for one of the most neglected parts of the city. It is Blue Chowk, Yellow Gully, Pink Gully at the MS Maqtha abutting Necklace Road station. While last year, artists from across the country and world painted the side facing Necklace Road, this year St+Art Foundation took the inner streets of Maqtha for a makeover.

At the entrance of MS Maqtha is the sign in black and white about the Art District. But it doesn’t prepare you for the riot of colour ahead.

A green wall that leads to a yellow lane or a different turn takes you to a blue square. All this in one of the must rundown areas of the city where sewage flows on the street, overhanging wires are the norm and where young boys zip around as if life is a motocross race.

But now, some of the streets have an identity and are easily navigable. It wasn’t all that easy.

One of the persons who initially opposed the project is Muhammad Sadiq Ali, who now proudly shows around the area to visitors. “Even foreigners are coming to see this. I opposed it worried about what they might draw and paint; after all this is my house,” he says pointing to his three-storeyed house. “I relented after speaking to the artists and their coordinator.

They showed me what will be drawn here and how the area will look like once it is finished. Now I am happy that I agreed to get this thing painted,” says Mr. Ali, who has a furniture workshop in the area.

“People of Maqtha, while being sceptical at the beginning, became extremely helpful and supportive. That’s also why we organised several workshops with them and in the public school of Maqtha.

They offered us food, chai and of course, their walls! And it has been a truly participative effort in which murals have been created by the artists thanks to their interaction with the inhabitants. Their stories, their desires came into many of the art pieces. Also, the kids of each gully we painted have been constantly with us. We discovered great young talents who painted with some of the artists,” says Giulia Ambrogi who has been the face of St+Art in Hyderabad.

“Maqtha Art District is the third art district in India after Lodhi Art District in Delhi and Mahim (E) Art District in Mumbai. The vision for the neighbourhood is to become a hub for contemporary art and a new area of interest of the city, while also being regenerated thanks to art interventions,” says the statement by St+Art India Foundation.

“We had a good time while working on the project. We did experimental morphing and it was better than last year’s experience,” says artist Kamesh Bhagatji.

Last year, Kamesh and Avinash had created a mural called reflection on the other side of the road.

“When people walk into the area and look around and click photographs, we feel proud. I want to keep the area clean like this. The place looks so much better,” says Muhammad Nawab, a resident.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Serish Nanisetti / Hyderabad – January 04th, 2018

Around the world in 26 years

Bitten by travel bug Indranil Chowdhuri

Hyderabad-based Indranil Chowdhuri combines his passion for travel and sports and has visited 107 countries so far
North Korea: Check

Greenland: Check

Cuba: Check

No, this isn’t a list of all countries difficult to get a visa but a few places among the 107 nations that Indranil Chowdhuri, 56, visited in the past 26 years. While travelling was integral to his job early on, later it became an all-consuming passion.

Sharing details about his journeys, Indranil says, “My first trip abroad was when I went to Myanmar in 1992 for work. Then I travelled a lot as I was into exports. When I casually counted one day, I realised that I went to 40 countries. That was when I wanted to reach the three figure mark and stepped up on visiting newer countries. The critical mass of my visits has been in the last 12 years, and though after I hit a century, I lost the urge for numbers, I still am passionate about exploring new places.”

As an avid sports fan, Indranil combines travel with sporting events, be it Olympics, football world cups or major tennis events so that he can merge both his great loves. What research is a part of a frequent traveller’s routine? Indranil explains, “I start with Lonely Planet guides. I have a lot of them with me and then I read up extensively about the place. I make notes and do my own ticketing and reservations. I don’t engage the services of an agent or a tour company unless there is no option, as they have a pre-planned programme and I don’t like that at all. Travel should include the freedom to do my own thing my way.”

Confessing that travelling excites him as it gives him a chance to explore different countries, cultures and cuisines, Indranil says the challenge is to converse with local people in their language. He explains, “I do basic research and try to speak their language. When they see me try, they always speak English which makes it easy to blend in.

The intrepid traveller also has a thing for souvenirs and points out to rooms filled with trinkets in his apartment. Shot glasses, magnets, swords and daggers (exquisitely carved), busts of famous personalities, tees and baseball caps — there is no shortage of reminders for trips he has undertaken. Indranil says, “I never wanted a big collection, but somehow when you travel you pick up things. I have 3000 plus shot glasses of cities, celebrity houses and football games I’ve been to.”

For someone who has been to Peru and stayed with an Inca family, spent time with a nomadic tribe in a desert in Mongolia and swam in the rivers of Amazon (where he narrowly escaped an alligator), Indranil recounts his most unforgettable experience which nearly got him killed, “I ran into former President of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, at a cemetery in Russia and raised my hand to greet him. He was surrounded with KGB agents who pounced on me as they thought I was about to shoot. Luckily they realised I was a tourist and since this was before the concept of selfie was introduced, I took a picture of myself with Gorbachev in the background surrounded by his guards.”

On his to-do list is Bahamas which he couldn’t visit so far due to visa issues and a trip to Russia next year during FIFA World cup.

Ask him about his plans for travel in India and he signs off saying that’s a post-retirement trip.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Mallik Thattipalli / January 04th, 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

Hyderabad man engineers a new spin on Ravana, scripts his story

Hyderabad :

Ravana is not the villain that he is made out to be. There is his side of the story too. A city engineer has given Sri Lanka just the kind of account they would like to read about Ravana. Bala Sankuratri, who has authored the book ‘My Name is Ravana’, gets Ravana to tell his story from his perspective. Next on agenda is a translation of the entire Ramayana in a way that Ravana is understood in context.

To unveil the book, Isura Devapriya, chief minister of Western Province, Sri Lanka, flew down to Hyderabad on November 25.

It will soon be released in Sri Lanka. Telugu version is also in the pipeline.

“My name is Ravana. Yes, I am the Ravana. I was the one who abducted Sita. I was the one who set fire to Anjaneya’s tail and I was the one who fought with Rama. You may think I am mad. I don’t care. You may think, being me is bad. I still don’t care…Fact is, I am The Great and being me is next to impossible,” book begins with Ravana introducing himself.

“Every action of Ravana is justified. He has a reason for his behaviour. He allowed himself to be misunderstood and even for this there was a reason,” Sankuratri told TOI. To understand Ravana, Sankuratri read Valmiki’s Ramayana and other versions also.

He also got to understand the legends surrounding Ravana in Sri Lanka, of which he was the king. “I made three trips to Sri Lanka and found out from the people there what understanding they had of Ravana. The research took five years,” he said.

So why did Ravana detain Sita? Wasn’t that what brought him a bad name? “There cannot be any suspicion about the character of Ravana. He had no evil thoughts about Sita,” Sankuratri said.

source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Hyderabad News / by Ch. Sushil Rao / TNN / December 29th, 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

This Telangana weaver weaves profits overseas

The tie and dye ikat designs of Kolanupaka Bixapathi were also exhibited at Lakme Fashion Show in Paris which was conducted three weeks back.

Kolanupaka Bixapathi with his designs


A sixty-year-old weaver Kolanupaka Bixapathi, who has created more than 1,000 designs for tie and dye ikat handlooms, is setting an example for other weavers by receiving higher prices for his products than his counterparts’. Innovative designing and dying methods have helped in fetching a good price for his clothes, nearly 30 per cent more than the price other weavers could get in the market.

Tie and dye ikat curtains prepared by Laxmipathi were used as door and window curtains at White House in US for five years. He received the order from Mumbai Export Company that supplied it to the US government.

Receiving inspiration, other weavers at Vellanki village of Ramannapet mandal in Yadadri-Bhongir district are also switching over to innovative methods to get the best price for their produce.

The tie and dye ikat designs of Kolanupaka Bixapathi were also exhibited at Lakme Fashion Show in Paris which was conducted three weeks back.

He also set up an exclusive shop of his designs in New Delhi which gets seven to eight foreign visitors daily.

Speaking to Telangana Today, Bixapathi said that he had set up Surya Textile in New Delhi in 2012 but had incurred a loss of Rs 80 lakh due to a fire accident in 2014. After a gap of four months, he renovated the shop with a lot of hardships. He has been getting orders from export companies as his tie and dye ikat designs have a high demand in foreign countries. He was surprised when a German woman, who visited his shop in New Delhi, told him that a piece of his design, which costs less than Rs 10,000 here, was selling in US at Rs 80,000.

Bixapathi, who has a habit of adopting the latest technology in the textile sector, also learnt to manufacture Jakat, used for weaving high cost saris and successfully complete an order of 200 Jakat boxes from a Chennai-based firm. Laxmipathy is trying to invent a machine for rubber rolling yarn in Ikat methods which is now made manually. He informed that he would use Aso Reactive Dies (Chemicals without Benzene) for preparation of the cloth as foreigners would also prefer it as it would not cause skin related problems.

Moggam weavers

Expressing happiness over the State’s initiatives to promote handloom sector, he felt that the initiatives have started showing results as weavers were reversing to moggams again.

He felt that there would always be demand for handlooms if the weavers ensure good design and quality in clothes. He stated that he migrated to Yallanki from Chandoor in the year 2008 due to problems of availability of workers. When I come to the village, the weavers were selling the bedsheets at Rs 100-150, which would not meet their daily requirements. He found that the weavers were using low-quality yarn. When he explained the local weavers that they can get better price by using quality yarn, the weavers’ works began fetching of Rs 600 per bedsheet, he added.

He suggested the government to conduct awareness programmes on new technologies and market trends for weavers as it would help them receive benefits.

source: / Telangana Today / Home> Telangana> Yadadri Bhongir / by Srinivas P / December 27th, 2017

Drink in the essence of Telangana at photo exhibition

The Hindu ’s Senior Assistant Editor S. Harpal Singh explaining a ritual being done as part of Keslapur Nagoba Jatara to the visitors, at photo exhibition in Hyderabad on Friday.

Seven photo galleries inaugurated at Chitramayee State Fine Art Gallery
Delegates at the World Telugu Conference would be in for a visual treat what with seven photo galleries being inaugurated as part of the prestigious event at Chitramayee Telangana State Fine Art Gallery, Madhapur, depicting Telangana heritage, art, culture and landscape.

Among the three galleries on Telangana festivals is the collection of photos by The Hindu’s Senior Assistant Editor S. Harpal Singh on Keslapur Nagoba Jatara, an important religious and cultural event of the Mesram clan of Raj Gond Adivasis in Adilabad.

The photos of several rituals followed during the festival were shot by the The Hindu’s representative in Adilabad district over a period of four years.

The jatara is a month-long affair that starts at the beginning of Poos month of Pushya Masam and witnesses the Mesram clan families indulging in preparations for the actual event that takes place on the last three days of the month. The most important ceremonies and rituals take place during these three days. The other galleries are Telangana Gramaseema by award winning filmmaker B. Narsing Rao. The collection relates to visuals of life in Telangana villages shot by Mr. Rao over a period of time.

The two other festivals being featured at the exhibition are Bonalu and Samakka Saralamma Jatara and the artists are Satyanarayana Gola and Rama Veeresh Babu respectively.

Acknowledged photographers Madhu Gopal Rao and Vishwendar Reddy are exhibiting photographs on Kakatiya Shilpakala or Warangal sculpture and landscape respectively, the latter underscoring the beauty of rock formations in the region. The famous photographer from Hyderabad, late Raja Deendayal’s works under the title Hyderabad Varasatwam are also being exhibited.

source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – December 15th, 2017