CHICAGO: The ATA Convention hosted by American Telugu Association [ATA] drew record-breaking crowds who relished every bit of the silver jubilee festivities that showcased a rich Telugu cultural heritage and its burgeoning Telugu constituency in America.
The three-day ATA Convention held on July 1-3 at the Rosemont Convention Center in Rosemont, was a mega success by all account. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation declaring July 2nd and 3rd as American Telugu Association Day in the State of Illinois. Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti presented Illinois Governor’s proclamation to ATA leaders.
ATA President Sudhakar Perkari and ATA Founder/President Hanumanth Reddy expressed happiness at the presence of such a huge number of Telugu people under one roof. The convention was set in motion with a grand gala banquet on Friday July 1 with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurating the three-day celebrations.
Governor Rauner commended the Telugu community for keeping up the great cultural heritage and added if he gets an opportunity he would love to visit India. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, in his address inspired the families to stay rooted in Telugu culture while appreciating the other languages and cultures.
Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the ripe climate in India, ideal for global investments.
Some of the prominent attendees included Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India, Democratic Nominee for U.S.Congress Raja Krishnamoorthi, and prominent MP Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Deputy Telangana Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari, GMR Chairman Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, ATA Benefactors Dr. Prem Reddy and Dr. Paila Malla Reddy joined by a large contingent of MPs and MLAs from Andhra and Telangana states represented by all political parties including TRS, YSRCP, TDP and Congress.
On Saturday July 2, the ATA Convention set the stage on fire with a huge 100-group dance troupe presenting an epic inaugural dance presentation ‘Jyothi Prajwalana’ that evoked applause and standing ovation. Keynote address by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu was stirring as he inspired Telugus in America to instill and nurture Telugu language to the succeeding generations. He said that among the most successful people in North America are Indians and added, half of them were Telugus.
Rasamayi Balakrshinan Troupe provided an upbeat ‘Dhoom Dham’ Telangana traditional dance and musical presentation. Youth forum was inaugurated by ATA founder Hanumanth Reddy, convener Chandrasekhar Reddy Palvai and Director K.K. Reddy. Re-enactment of ‘Bahubali’ movie with its huge cast held the audience in rapt attention. TV hosted event ‘SYEATA’ had youth performing colorful cultural and western presentations.
Kuchipudi dance by Padmaja Reddy displayed wide swath of emotions. Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Telangana Member of Parliament applauded the sense of unity of Telugu people showcased at the convention. Iftekhar Shareef, Reception Chair, introduced the Telangana MPs and MLAs. The vendors’ booths were crowded by shoppers.
On Sunday July 3, the convention drew wall-to-wall crowds to witness the spectacular fashion show, contemporary dance presentations and grand musical show presented by Mani Sharma. In the afternoon, heated debates with political leaders participated by TRS, YSRCP, TDP and Congress party reached a fierce pitch battle between the party leaders held by Chalma Reddy and moderated by renowned TV host Venkata Krishna.
Some of the politicians participating in the Political Forum included Telangana Dy CM Kadiam Srihari, L. Ramana, Pedireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Jithender Reddy, Madhu Yashki, Keshav Rao, Roja, Ambati Rambabu, Srikanth Reddy, Malla Reddy and others.
The evening segment began with youth-centric dance and musical presentations. ATA felicitated their past presidents, its board and trustees. Chandrasekhar Reddy lauded the undying commitment of over 60 committees while K.K. Reddy expressed jubilation having such a fine contingent of committed teams.
Some of the Tollywood movie actors attending the convention included Kajol Agarwal, Jagapathi Babu, Nani Babu Ghanta, Rashi Khanna, Bhanu Sree, Lavanya Tripathi, Rashmi Gautam, Jyothi, Ramya Sree, Neeliya, Rachna Mourya. Prominent political elected leaders who attended were Ganta Srinivas Rao, Nayani Narasimha Reddy, Dr. Venugopala Chary, Ambati Rambabu, Roja and Jatinder Reddy.
The Youth committee organized Lake Michigan dinner cruise for youth 16 and above in which 200 youth participated. The business forum included workshops by CEOs and Entrepreneurs who presented workshops about doing business in India and the US. The Women’s Forum workshops were designed to empower and motivate women. Health and wellness seminars focused on preventive health screening and medical advice from leading medical experts, Matrimonial services were provided to parents of prospective brides and grooms.
Seminars for Senior Citizens were organized to educate seniors about Government benefits, health Insurance options and navigation and dealing with the loss of a partner as they grow older in America. Yoga and meditation sessions were conducted throughout the day and many attendees took advantage learning and practicing these relaxation techniques.
Vendors’ booths carried mouth-watering Telugu delicacies, jewelry, fashion apparels and accessories and real estate companies promoted their housing projects in India. Convention attendees were treated to a great shopping experience and were able to support participating vendors. Painstaking efforts were made to serve authentic native Telugu cuisine for record number of guests.
ATA leaders and the Convention team received glowing accolades for securing runaway success of the silver jubilee convention. The convention drew to a grand conclusion with high decibel musical concert rendered by well-known Tollywood music director Mani Sharma along with a team of singers and musicians.
Keerthi Kumar Ravoori