Vijayawada

‘Telugu population dwindling in Myanmar’

The population of Telugus in Myanmar is just over two lakhs when compared to 15 lakhs before the military took over the country, according to Yerra Naidu, Adviser, Burma (Myanmar) Telugu Association, here on Sunday.

Speaking on “ Lifestyle of Telugu people in Myanmar’ at The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), he said the military rule in 1962 paved way for the exodus of Telugu population back to India. “Those, settled there, are cut off from our culture. We have several Ammavaru temples in Myanmar but they are not properly maintained. We don’t have pundits, As a Telugu State we need to help the locals get back to our roots ” said Mr. Naidu, who presently resides in India.

He said Telugus, before British rule, went to Burma (now Myanmar) as traders and helped build the nation but later the Britishers took them (Telugus) as labourers to execute rail projects and plantation work. “The sudden demand for Burma teak, rubber and (Rangoon) rice were also the reasons for the migration.”

He said the majority of migrant Telugus were from North Andhra region. “The persistent drought those days forced them to leave for to Burma”.

He said during the British rule, Telugus had a vibrant role in the establishment of Burma and several cultural and social outfits were thriving. “Even a Telugu newspaper - Andhra Mitra - was printed in the late 30s. Burma looked like second Telugu Desam”.

He said locals were lazy, self-content and did not evince interest to work hard. “But the Telugus worked hard and prospered in rubber, teak wood, shipping, and plantation business., They also went to become owners of big enterprises,” he pointed out.

He said Telugus at Myanmar was known as Moon, Mooni, Mouni. “But by and large the Telugus are identified as Telang and Thailang . “As per 1931 census, the highest linguistic population from India to Burma was Telugus”.

He said he wrote a book on Burma Telugu for the benefit of the locals got it printed there for distribution among the local Telugus.

Andhra Pradesh Planning Commission Vice Chairman C. Kutumbha Rao, Malaxmi Group Founder Harishchandra Prasad and CCVA Chief Executive Officer Sivanagi Reddy were present.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:28:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/telugu-population-dwindling-in-myanmar/article22926312.ece

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