Twenty Five Years of TELUGU SAHITYA SAMITI
In early seventies (1972) Telugu Community in Anushaktinagar used to assemble together on the terraces of the buildings and have fun. In these assemblies friends from Chembur and Ghatkopar used to join. Telugu films were also screened purely on programme to programme basis and no organisation existed for the cultural needs of the people around.
In 1973 some heads got together and decided to form an association to cater to the cultural needs of Telugu people. Even though Andhra Mahasabha existed for people of Chembur, Anushaktinagar and Ghatkopar it used to be too demanding for these people to go to Matunga by the public transport. So a constitution was framed with the able help of Sri L.N. Prayaga and Telugu Sahitya Samiti was formed. The spirit of co-operation and accommodation was continued and programmes were conducted with shoe string budget and members contributing in cash, kind and services. The programmes were tremendous success with the maximum participation of the members. Dr. K.S. Venkateswarlu as President and Sri P. Hanumantha Rao as Secretary did yeomen service.
Sri G.V. Krishna Rao took over as President and I was Secretary. A three day programme was arranged as Sri Ramanavami celebrations. Eminent artist Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna gave vocal recital and Sri Ravi Kondal Rac's troupe from Madras performed the hilarious drama 'Professor Parabrahmam'. Third days programme was a classical dance by Kum. Subhada. These programmes were attended and presided oy such eminent personalities like late Sri S.M.Y. Sastri, Dr. Vijaya Raghava Rao and late Sri. Hasu Advani.
Perhaps the golden era for Samiti was during 1977-78 when Sri Rao was the President and Sri L.v. Rao was the Secretary. During this Samiti excelled in cultural as well as welfare activities for Telugu not only in Bombay but also in helping cyclone hit people of Edurumondi of Divi Taluk. It is to the credit of Sri PH. Rao and Dr. S. Muralidhar Rao that this duo went to Edurumondi village and spent days together sleeping under the open sky for helping the villagers build houses under the auspices of Telugu Sahitya Samiti.
On the Cultural side the first ever dance ballet 'Kumarasambhavam' was produced and presented by local talent. Dr. A.V. Murali was the director and script writer and the music was by Sri K. Rohini Prasad under the able guidance of Smt. Usha Devi Krishna Rao. Credit goes to Sri C. Sambhu Prasad for the technical excellence and editing. Ail the artists were the local young kids. Again to the credit of Samiti, for the first time 'Padmavati Srinivasam' by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam was presented to the Bombay audiences.
The next year (1978) a grand musical nite by Sri S. Rajeswara Rao and Smt. P Susila was arranged in Shanmukhananda Hall. All the floors of the hall were packed to full capacity and the roads leading to the hall were also crowed by the people seeking tickets. The programme was a grand success even though some organisation problems were faced by the Samiti.
The Samiti also had its ups and downs. It was in 1987 during the annual general body ,meeting, some senior citizens felt that the Samiti should be wound up or merged with Andhra Mahasabha. It was late Sri P Krishna Sarma who rose to the occasion and convinced the general body for its continuance. He took up as the President of Samiti and acquired the present office premises in Urmila Complex. Sri B.R. Rao took over as President and again Sri PH. Rao joined him as Secretary in 1994. The activities of Samiti which were dull, were rejuvenated.
Sri B.R. Rao and Sri PH. Rao with determined spirit got vacated the office premises. On the cultural side in addition to regular programmes, programmes like Cultural Similarities between Maharashtrians and Andhras were organised in association with Krishna Patrika giving a new dimension to Samiti's activities.