Telugu Language Day

Infographic courtesy: http://www.telanganatoday.com

Today and every year on August 29th, Telugu Language Day memorializing a “Day of the Telugu Language” is celebrated across the world amongst those that speak Telugu and that are of Telugu origin. This date was picked to correspond with the birthday of a Telugu poet Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy. And despite the multiple dialects, this is one of the rare occasions where Telugu societies are wishing each other in harmony despite their innermost inconsistencies. As always, there were conjectural deliberations in our household because of the subconscious hurt and antipathy that spans eight decades for my mother and half for me. Just because we disagreed on the polar opposite sentiments that we share.

When my husband and a best friend sent ‘Happy Telugu Language Day’ wishes, ‘Amma’ (mother) started her early morning ‘suprabhatam’ (literally auspicious dawn hymn) on how ill-informed and unqualified Telugus are, in trying to reform it under the excuse of modernization of spoken dialects, and how the current leaderships (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) are promoting a pseudo-culture that antagonizes printed etymological cohesion. And shame on me for not respecting her thoughts. I believe that before we attempt social service, our homes must be in order. Which in this case, I awkwardly pointed out how worthless it truly was that we want to do big. It was a war of words after that.

Almost in the middle of our duel we recognized that her focus was on the future of the language, mine was on the support she and I never received being Telugu women from within our families, barring the few compliments here and there, which we are very grateful. She had moved on to superior ethos while I willinglylurched in mistreatment of language towards us. No matter how much I try, my moral compass continuously seems to stop at one thought. How is one supposed to fabricate admiration and regard towards a language or its folks when experiences contradict every occurrence in life. One might say, the language should not be blamed for its misappropriation by those speaking it.

My mother’s sting is unparalleled these days as she grasps the pitiful condition of Telugu textbooks in both the Telugu speaking states. After having worked 40+ years for quality education and preservation of the language, she is now witness to moronic schemes to remove alphabets, emphatic symbols, changing inscriptions based on colloquial semantics, and founding of proceeds centered organizations whose only agenda is personal. Despite being thousands of miles away, she writes relentlessly to whoever is able to gloss her writing or hear her out. She knows too that her yeoman service will be unreservedly squandered for the two faced conducts of contemporary community.

Divergent to hers, my predispositions are my own. I admit that I have a long way to go to be enlightened like her and the rest of you who are on the path of transcendence or have achieved it already. Telugu could be called the “Italian of the East” for virtue of being mellifluous, or “Desa bhashalandu Telugu Lessa” which means “Among the nation’s languages, Telugu is the best,” by even non-Telugu poets such as Rabindranath Tagore but if the native speakers continue to abuse, bully, shame, stimulate bigotry, and making it defunct by rebuking each other’s tongues, proliferating amoeba of disparate social group based coalitions, and allowing sophisticated expatriate lingos creep into our intimacies, but if we don’t indoctrinate shared wisdom to care for it, one of world’s ancient vernaculars will end up being a fossil in our memory.

As the saying goes, “charity begins at home,” both of us have vowed to make deliberate amends in our lives. To practice the spoken language without using English words for support, nurture the art of writing and reading, and overlook the targeted hurls. My dedication towards it has lessened over the years due to infrequent use, and guzzling of my Telangana pride to radiate incredulous sophistication. “Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” At this time, it is of paramount significance to stay course to honor Telugu forefathers and leave a legacy of this golden language for our descendants.

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