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Telugu Bhavanam project soon to become a reality in Houston

 

Consul General of India, Houston, Parvathaneni Harish deliveing his message. Photo credit: Sudhakar Roy Chinasumala, Roy Photography.

Consul General of India, Houston, Parvathaneni Harish deliveing his message. Photo credit: Sudhakar Roy Chinasumala, Roy Photography.

by Shobana Muratee
HOUSTON – It is not too long ago when the historic split of the state of Andhra Pradesh (in South India), come about and Telangana, a new state was born on June 2, 2014. Ironically, while the Telugu speaking people of the two states in India are still dwelling in their regional indifferences, their counterparts here in Houston, are already making headway in the direction of bringing together the entire Telugu community of the United States of America.

On Saturday, March 5, Houston’s Telugu community organized a fundraiser Banquet at the India House to kick off its ambitious project to build ‘Telugu Bhavanam’, a community center in Houston that will epitomize the true character and spirit of the Telugu people. It will be a hub that would promote Telugu language, literature, traditions, education as well as serve as a home for celebrations and gatherings.

About 300 people attended the fundraiser and raised about 400,000 that evening. Early efforts raised $200,000 totaling to $600,000 in pledges. It was an ecstatic moment for the organizers when the amount exceeded the matching donation amount of $500,000 pledged by donor Chowdary Yalamanchili, Houston’s leading property businessman, community leader and philanthropist. “I have full faith that we will make it happen,” he said lauding the efforts. “We deserve it, we worked hard, raised good children and it is our responsibility to give something to the future generation,” Yalamanchili said.

Consul General of India, Houston, Parvathaneni Harish was the Chief Guest for the evening. After a friendly introduction by Dr. Rajshekar Yalamanchili, the Consul General spoke of cultural vibrancy and the rich source of talent that the Indian community imparts. Such centers not only provide a platform to showcase talent but encourage talent he said. He mentioned how such centers can become an intellectual hub quoting India International Center in New Delhi as the best example of such a center where the world’s intelligentsia congregates.

Telugu Cultural Association’s (TCA) past president Raj Pasala made a detailed PP presentation explaining the need, concept, the plan process. The project was officially set in motion on August 17, 2015 at the meeting held at the Mayuri restaurant. With the generous offer of Chowdary Yalamanchili, to match donation of $500,000, the project gained impetus. What followed was the formation of a task force team that held several meetings developing plans and seeking input from the community. Over $200,000 was also raised in several of these informal meetings.

From L-R: Dr. Rajashekar Yalamanchili, TCA President: Mallik(Arjun) Gattamaneni, Chowdary ‘Charlie’ Yalamanchili, Consul General of India, Houston, Parvathaneni Harish and Nandita Harish.

From L-R: Dr. Rajashekar Yalamanchili, TCA President: Mallik(Arjun) Gattamaneni, Chowdary ‘Charlie’ Yalamanchili, Consul General of India, Houston, Parvathaneni Harish and Nandita Harish.

Jagapathi Veerati, another member of the task force outlined the logistics of the project: the funds, estimates, timeline, benefits and maintenance of the project. The land criteria would include that it is located centrally to the Telugu community, would be about 10-12 acres to provide for an auditorium (2 acres) with 1200-1500 siting capacity and multipurpose hall with banquet style sitting of 800, miscellaneous (2 acres) for office space, classrooms, library, kitchen and outside parking (4 acres) and cricket ground (4 acres). The plan is two-phased for the multipurpose facility: $1.5 million for land acquisition and development, $4 million for the first phase and the second phase would require $3.5 million for construction of the facility. The goal is to finalize the technical drawings and permits by the end of 2016 and star the construction by early 2017.

Telugu Bhavanam task force team, TCA and T AGH members, and supporters at the fundraiser Banquet held on March 5, 2016 at the India House. Photo credit: Sudhakar Roy, Roy Photography

Telugu Bhavanam task force team, TCA and T AGH members, and supporters at the fundraiser Banquet held on March 5, 2016 at the India House. Photo credit: Sudhakar Roy, Roy Photography

After the presentation was a short Q & A session followed by dinner and light music entertainment. Singers Sharada Akunuri, Akila Mamandu, Krishna Pratur and Suman Mangu sang popular Telugu melodies. The event was supported by the Telugu Cultural Association and the Telangana Association of Greater Houston (TAGH).

The Telugu Bhavanam is registered as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization to serve Telugu community and beyond. It is an autonomous, non-religious, non-political entity and not affiliated to any organization. For more details and to donate to Telugu Bhavanam visit www.telugubhavan.org


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