Telugu Media Houses::The New Charm Offensive

 Recently, two Telugu media houses launched a charm offensive.

I would like to think that they did what they did to achieve some noble objectives. But, I am afraid, elements that point in a different direction do stick out rather uncomfortably.

NTv set out to raise the patriotism quotient among children in the state. It organized a huge do and made hundreds and thousands of children sing our national anthem.

Naa Desam – Naa Geetham (My Country – My Song) was the title of the initiative.

But it was rolled out on a day which has no national significance – neither political, nor social, nor historical. There was also a half page expensive advertisement in one of the leading English dailies about this initiative on the day. The advertisement also listed all those features which the Channel’s management thought were unique in its menu. The owner’s pic was conspicuous in the ad.

Is it that they had a sudden gush of patriotic fervor, and they could not wait for an appropriate day?

Or was it a barely veiled exercise in building their brand?

The management of another media house, perhaps the biggest in Andhra Pradesh – Eenadu, started an initiative with the noble intention of introducing to the Telugu people the glories of their own language. It has set out to address the concerns that the language is dying and the young ones in the state have come under the spell of English. Saving Telugu language is this media house’s stated mission.

They launched a monthly magazine ‘Telugu Velugu’.

This house owns/owned a number of television channels here in the state as well as elsewhere in the country in several languages, and a slew of publications. It has under its belt the largest circulated Telugu daily newspaper, and other periodicals devoted to humour, literature, cinema, and one even to educate farmers in modern agricultural techniques.

The owner of the Media house spelt out his intentions in a letter circulated to the agents and distributors of its publications. The intentions sound noble. But they are all a throwback to a distant past which is unfamiliar even to today’s middle aged people, leave alone to the younger generation.

It has nothing to persuade anyone who asks the question: Why is it that the largest circulated newspaper and a string of magazines in Telugu owned and successfully run by this media house for over three decades could not generate love and respect for the language among its readers? And how a magazine which might carry writings on the greatness of the language, and appears once a month, can achieve that purpose?

Of course, this house is not as gauche as the other one. It chose an apparently suitable day for the roll out: the birth anniversary of Gidugu Ramamurthy Panthulu, a modernizer of Telugu, which is celebrated as Telugu Language Day. But the magazine has little or nothing of the rebellious modernism that characterized Ramamurthy’s work.

It is hard to believe that these media houses are so naïve as to think that a day of singing national anthem by school kids instills nationalism or a monthly magazine can kindle a sense of respect and pride for their language in a people.

To me both these initiatives looked like their own variety of charm offensive.

But a friend of mine had a point when he said: “Something is being done. And let us appreciate it.”

Unlike me he has modest expectations and is prepared to be content with token gestures and their uncertain benefits.

Maybe I shouldn’t quarrel with him.

I know I am not easily satisfied.

4 Responses to “Telugu Media Houses::The New Charm Offensive”

  1. September 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I do not know much about the television channel that you are referring to. So cannot comment much on that. As to the National Anthem I think that is a good gesture. I miss it when I go to the movies. I miss it on the radio. Unlike days of your time..if I can call those times yours (the 60’s / 70/s) there were external threats to this country which brought the Indian citizens together. So there was a sense of nationalism then.

    As to the other media baron, their daily is coining a few words in place of the English words for example “guttedaaru” for “contractor” and bringing it into circulation.

    Someone has to do something about this canard that is passing around..that Telugu is dying..and I think this media’s house’s publication is in the right direction. Let time decide. Let people decide what they want.

    Like you even I am not easily satisfied..but let’s give them a chance. After all it is only INR 20/- per issue for those who can afford.

  2. September 10, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    It is stated that the spoken Telugu comprises of 70 words of English for every hundred words spoken. It is more an anglicized Telugu than Telugu itself. In such a scenario trying to translate many English words like Retired=visranta, former=purva, FIR=pradhama samachara nivedica,Engineering=yantravidya, mobile phone=charavani,….Ramoji Rao was dare enough to venture and implement starting from 2006 onwards. I don’t think it was a brand promotion. Coming to NTV singing National Anthem recall last year’s Jagan’s meeting where no body was able to sing National Anthem. It is time to train all the politicians about culture, traditions, relics, humanitarian values etc, then only to allow them to contest even for the post of a ward member. Alas bootleggers, drug peddlers, builders and tax evaders are ruling the time. When can we expect utopian regimes? Can I see that in my life time?

    • September 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      The present day politics require populistic measures and division of people by religion, caste, region and what not to keep their vote bank safe.Unless a Lee of Singapore or Xi-Li of China step in we can’t expect development of any state or India. Let us await for such persons and growth of India

  3. September 10, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    I am not much of a fan of music. But I do enjoy old songs with full of meaning/message and the new songs for the melody and technology. But I watch with admiration,awesome surprise and also envy when S.P.Balasubrahmanyam speaks with literally few english words during his programmes like swararchana and padutha teeyaga. Is it not some thing in the direction of reviving Telugu?

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