Telangana Saraswatha Parishath
The dawn of Telangana as the 29th State of the Republic of India on 02-06-2014 is a matter of ecstasy to the entire people of the region. The formation is the fruition of decades of struggle, comprising multiple mode for separate identity and existence, involving all sections of the society in Telangana. Though Telugu is the major language of the land, it is equally a cordial home for several tongues. History narrates how the protagonists of Telugu had to endeavour in every conceivable method to ensure survival of the language. Many organizations worked in this direction. Erstwhile Andhra Saraswatha Parishath was the pioneering body dedicated to the cause. Today, the Parishath is reckoned as one of the principal instruments for the prosperity of Telugu language, literature, arts and culture in Telangana.
Consequent on the formation of Telangana, the Parishath is renamed as “Telangana Saraswatha Parishath” in a meeting of the General Body of the Parishath in consonance with the concerted voice of the people of Telangana and the unanimous resolution came into force with effect from 21st August, 2015.
A Brief review of its origin and growth does serve as a source of inspiration to the present and future generations and prompt them to continue the legacy with fervour.
There was a period in the past when Telugu, the second largest spoken language in India, enjoyed royal patronage in the areas coming under the erstwhile Hyderabad State. Special mention shall be made of the magnificence fillip given to Telugu by Qutubshahi Rulers. Several classics were produced and the Telugu literature was enriched. But change of successive dynasties brought misfortune to Telugu. The Rulers of Asafjahi dynasty were not benefactors of Telugu. Urdu was the court language and other languages lost their significance. The administrative authorities of Nizam were not favourably disposed towards the Telugu language. They resorted to muffle the language. It was indeed a paradox that on one occasion some individuals from a sister language, probably under the influence of the bureacracy, chose to humiliate Telugus and their language. This ignited the sparks of dignity and honour among Telugu people of Telangana and paved the way for a series of endeavours and movements to restablish the glory of Telugu language. A movement was launched then. Institutions were founded. Research centres were set up. And there were other similar measures in the direction, unmindful of the risks involved. Some ardent protagonists of Telugu were not contented with these steps. They were keen on the formation of a special organization for the propagation and preservation of Telugu language, literature, arts and culture. A meeting of prominent persons interested in the subject was convened. The venue was the Library Hall of Reddy Hostel, Hyderabad. Sri Lokanandi Sankaranarayana Rao presided over the meeting. Sri Boorgula Ranganadha Rao and Sri Bhaskarabhatla Krishna Rao were the convenors. The participants deliberated on various aspects of the issue. It was here that the pioneering institution, the pride of Telugus of Telangana, was brought into being on 26-5- 1943 under the name of ‘Nizam Rashtra Andhra Saraswatha Parishath’.
It will be an exciting experience to recollect the names of eleven members of the sub-committee elected to draft rules and regulations for the Parishath. They were - Sri Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Sri Bukkapatnam Ramanujachari, Sri Suravaram Pratapa Reddy, Sri Lokanandi Sankaranarayana Rao, Dr. Boorgula Ramakrishna Rao, Sri Chidirematham Veerabhadra Sarma, Sri Adiraju Veerabhadra Rao, Sri Nandagiri Venkata Rao, Sri Kodati Narayana Rao, Sri Gadiyaram Ramakrishna Sarma and Sri Bhaskarabhatla Krishna Rao. Office of the ‘Golconda Patrika’ was the venue for the Parishath in the initial stages. Later, it was shifted to Hanumantekdi area. In due course of time, horizons of its activities were expanded to other States and even other countries. With a view to giving a wider connotation, the expression ‘Nizam State’ was dropped from the name of the Parishath.
Many stalwarts were responsible for the rapid progress of the parishath in terms of ramification of its activities and areas of its operation. Their list is long and their contribution will ever be remembered with gratitude. The association of Dr. Devulapalli Ramanuja Rao with the Parishath was indeed a period of speedy strides. He worked with unparalleled devotion and dedication. He thoughtfully chose eminent poet, educationist and administrator Jnanpith Awardee Dr. C. Narayana Reddy to wield the reins of the Parishath as its next President. The institution witnessed tremendous developments in all aspects under the guidance of Dr. C. Narayana Reddy. He devised a variety of literary and cultural programmes to project the glory of Telangana with all the spendour of its language, literature, arts and culture.
The Parishath on its very formation laid down its ideals in specific terms. They are :
Aims and Objectives :
In keeping with the ambience of its origin, the Aims and Objectives are broad-based and far-fetching. They may be summarised as follows :
- To spread literacy and Telugu language among the masses;
- To conduct examinations in Telugu;
- To publish standard books
- To hold periodical conferences, meetings, literary gatherings and so on;
- To create literary taste and interest among the people; and
- To promote Telugu language, literature, arts and culture in all aspects.
It is relevant to recollect the enormous efforts of the earlier organisers in the past in moulding the Parishath into a paradigm body. Though now a part of the history, it deserves due recognition.
The commitment of the Parishath for the propagation of literacy and development of Telugu language, literature, arts and culture caught the imagination of Telugus in different parts. They readily responded to partake in its endeavours. This fact was testified by the establishment of numerous branches all over the State and outside places like Mumbai, Sholapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, Selam, Bangalore, Hosur etc. Sri Rama Murty Appanna and others did remarkable service for the active functioning of the Branch in Mauritius. In fact, all the 198 branches of the Parishath turned out marvellous work. The organisers of the branches functioned as a team with dedication. The Parishath had specially engaged the services of ‘Pracharaks’ to strengthen its activities. They motivated many enthusiasts to work for the cause of effective implementation of the objectives of the Parishath. The public response was spontaneous and their involvement was voluntary. This gesture accelerated the strides of the Parishath.
The concept of Mahasabhas constituted a potential one in fortifying the organization. Right from its inception, the working of the Parishath had the dimension of a movement for the rejuvenation of Telugu language, literature, arts and culture. Mahasabhas of the Parishath were organised at different places. They gave a tremendous impetus and enthused people of all sections, and activised their determination to revive the glory of Telugu. The Mahasabhas were in the nature of Annual General Body meetings, and they always evoked popular support and participation. They would explain the spirit and magnitude of the endeavours put in for ensuring firm foundations to the institution:
June 1, 1943
December 29 & 30, 1944
March 15, 16 & 17, 1946
March 5, 6 & 7, 1947
February 4, 5 & 6, 1949
April 19, 20 & 21, 1950
January 11, 12, 13 & 14, 1953
On the education side, the Parishath’s work is of much significance.
Propagation of literacy among the masses was not just a campaign for the Parishath. It was one of its major activities. The Parishath, in fact, gave it top priority and implemented the scheme of literacy with great fervour and determination. Representatives of the Parishath participated in National Seminar on ‘Adult Education’ held in Jabalpore in December, 1950. The Parishath was extended special invitation by the organisers of the National Seminar because they were highly impressed with the drive, initiative and execution of work of the Parishath. From 15th to 30th June, 1950, the Parishath conducted training camp in Hyderabad. Sri Gadicharla Harisarvotthama Rao was its Principal and Sri Pathuri Nagabhushanam was the Chief Organiser. 110 candidates were trained. ‘Adult Education week’ was observed in all the Branches and it gave a magnificent fillip to adult literacy. The Parishath gained enormous popularity for its literacy work. The Parishath conducted 11 Social Education Centres in Hyderabad city and 64 Night Schools for adults in Telangana. It also maintained 16 Adult Schools in coal mine areas. These measures helped in educating thousands of adults. An interesting feature of this scheme was a large number of non-Telugus also were benefited and they became literates.
As a natural corollary to the extensive propagation of literacy, the Parishath evoled a well-structured examination pattern in Telugu in 1944. The scheme has been continuing and all these years. The response has been overwhelming. The examinations served as an incentive for systematic study of Telugu language in urban as well as rural areas, particularly for candidates who could not get the benefit of school education. The Telugu examinations of the Parishath are in three grades, namely: 1) Prathamika, 2) Pravesa and 3) Visarada (Poorva and Uttara bhagas). The Government issued orders recognising Visarada Examination as a qualifying examination for the purpose of recruitment as Telugu Pandits and Pravesa as equivalent to Second Class language Test for State Government Officials. For many years, there was a centre in Mauritius and in several places in other States. Candidates of all ages appear for the examinations. There was a time when 187 centres conducted the examinations. In compliance with the instructions of the Osmania University, the Parishath effected a change in the syllabus for the Visarada Uttarabhaga examination introducing S.S.C., English text book as paper IV with effect from October, 1999.