More than 500 people, many in their cultural attire, attended the April 1, 2023, Ugadi festival in New York at the Ganesh Temple auditorium in Flushing, hosted by the Telugu Literary and Cultural Association (TLCA), under the leadership of President of TLCA Nehru Kataru. Among the high-profile attendees was NYC Mayor Eric Adams, and his Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan. The Sreeramanavami festival was also celebrated alongside Ugadi on the same day.
Others who attended the event included Vice President Kiran Parvatala, and the Secretary Sumanth Ramsetty. Also attending were the TLCA Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Prasad Ankineedu, Secretary Nagendra Gupta, Treasurer Rao Voleti, Past Chairman’s Krishna Maddipatla, Venkatesh Mutyala, Dr. Purna Atluri, and many life trustees.
Ugadi is a Spring festival celebrating the start of the Telugu New Year. Each Telugu year is given a name and the year 2023-24 is named Shubhakruth.
The TLCA is one of the oldest Telugu associations in North America and has been promoting Telugu literature and culture in the New York Tristate region for the past 52 years, organizers said.
A strong contingent of 140 plus children and adults presented songs, dance, and drama items showcasing Telugu culture, mythology and history before a captivated the audience.
“It is the goal of TLCA to nurture and pass on the rich Telugu culture to the generations and every year Gurus and parents from this region strive to train the children for the programs,” the press release noted.
The mythological drama, Maya Joodam, a snippet from the epic Mahabharata, a dance-drama based on the theme of Ugadi, poetry recitals, classical dances and popular numbers from Telugu movies were the prime attractions. Guests enjoyed authentic festival food and delicacies bought from India, organizers said.
This was the first time in the history of the TLCA, that a Mayor was the Chief Guest of the day. “It was the most exciting experience for the community as this is the first ever visit by a Mayor of the City to the TLCA celebrations,” the press release noted.
Deputy Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Innovation Dilip Chauhan, introduced the Mayor and explained the initiatives of the Mayor for bettering the lives of every New Yorkers.
In his speech Mayor Adam congratulated TLCA’s President Kataru for the wonderful show put up by his team. Adams said it is always in his agenda to promote diversity and encourage the communities to come together and work for the overall progress of the region. He said the Telugu community is blessed with highly qualified professionals such as doctors, engineers, and software professionals, contributing to the economic development of the region. He assured full support from his Office for any requests from TLCA.
Deputy commissioner Chauhan said he has been associated with the Telugu community in New York City and Long Island for decades. He said the community is very humble, peaceful and lives in harmony.
The Special guest of the evening, actress, Laya, honored the Mayor and the Deputy Commissioner with traditional shawls and bouquets.
President Kataru thanked the Mayor for attending and delivering an inspiring speech, as well as his assurance of support. He thanked Chauhan for his efforts to bring the Mayor to the event. Mr. Kataru said, the community treats Mr. Dilip Chauhan as part of the family for his continued encouragement for decades.
President Kataru said the Executive Committee under the guidance of the Chairman Ankineed Prasad Napaneni and the Board of Trustees, worked hard to mark the beginning of the Telugu New Year which is auspicious for all the Telugus in the community. He praised the parents of the budding young generation for their devotion to Telugu culture and for nurturing it in the children. He noted that the poetry recital was a new feature introduced this year and promised many more during his tenure to encourage the youth. He expressed great appreciation for the donors without whose support these events would not have been possible.
Chairman Nannapaneni explained the efforts of TLCA for over 5 decades to preserve and promote Telugu culture and pass it on to the next generation. The organization provides a popular platform to showcase young talent. TLCA encourages artists, art forms, and literature by bringing eminent artists from all over the world, he noted. Secretary Ramisetty presented vote of thanks for the overwhelming support from the community.