From the banks of DuPage River in Chicagoland to the Shores of Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad – Telangana people across the world are saying with one voice – “Jai Telangana! Jai Jai Telangana!!”
Telangana families in Chicago area gathered at Riverwalk in Napervillle, a suburban town of Chicago to celebrate Bathukamma Festival on September 30th 20012. More than 500 people attended the event making it a grand success.
This year’s Chicago Bathukamma is special in many ways. It marks the 10th Anniversary of the First Bathukamma Festival in North America. It has been a decade since September 21rd, 2003 when Chicago Telanganites started celebrating Bathukamma festival. It is also the tenth year we started celebrating Telangana liberation day in Chicago. Telangana was liberated from Nizam’s rule and merged with Independent India on September 17th 1948. Today also coincides with the Telangana March – Chalo Hyderabad that was ongoing at the very movement where people from all across Telangana are organizing a massive rally in support of Telangana state.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Chicago. Families started arriving from 11am in the morning. By noon the park was filled with hundreds of people. While enjoying sumptuous lunch, many participants shared their thoughts and past experiences of Chicago Bathukamma. Ravi Thokala provided excellent coordination of the day’s events. Songs like “Oyamma Na Palle…” , “Nageti Sallala Naa Telangana”, “Jaya Jaya he Telangana” filled the air that brought memories of Telangana villages that many of us had grew up with. The main event of the day, Bathukamma , started at 2.45pm. Women and young girls came in a procession with Bathukammas in their hands with the beats of dappu playing in the background. Some of them sang Bathukamma songs while the rest played traditional Bathukamma with rhythmic claps and chorus saying “Bathukamma Bathukamma Uyyalo”. They played Bathukamma for more than 2 hours non-stop. They finally have to stop since the sun is going down and Bathukammas need to be immersed in the water. Bathukammas were immersed in the DuPage River.
Mr. Ram Reddy Elete, who is visiting his daughter in Chicago, recalled his experiences of the struggle against Nizam for the liberation of Telangana and the subsequent joining of the Indian Union. He explained how Telangana was merged with Andhra against people’s wishes and the resulting gross neglect of the region that lead to underdevelopment.
All the kids enjoyed the special cake that was brought-in to mark the 10th anniversary of Chicago Bathukamma . This was followed by a ceremony to distribute prizes for people who won Best Bathukamma awards. Shoba Yellanki received First prize, Deepthi Jalagam got a second prize and Swapna Kondam received third prize. Children were given prizes for their active participation. Women who sang special Bathukamma songs were also recognized with gifts.
With all the festivities, Chicago Telangana people were also mindful of the fact that we are having this event in the backdrop of the Telangana movement back home intensifying one more time. As we gather here, people from all across Telangana are in the midst of massive rally “Chalo Hyderabad – Telangana March” on the banks of Hussain Sagar on necklace road. Chicago Telanganites expressed their solidarity and support f with the message that Telangana NRIs are with the people of Telangana in their struggle to achieve their democratic right to their own state.
Srini Palthepu thanked the following CHITA volunteers worked hard to make this event grand success: Krishna Rangaraju, Ravi Thokala, Sharath Punreddy, Shantham Boinpally, Prakash Jalagama, Sriram Reddy Aleti, Sharath Kalvakota, Venkat Juwadi, Kishan Vantakala, Purna Allamneni, Sridhar raju, Ramesh Kammula, Saritha Boinpally, Lakshmi Yellanki, Srini Goud, Thirumal Nellutla, Srinath Chinnala, Venu Challagonda, Sreenu Voruganti, Pradeep Damidi, Venkat Thudi, Niranjan Allamneni. Special thanks to Ms Saradha, and group for singing some melodious Bathukamma songs.