Frankly, we love pages like Humans Of Mumbai which detail stories of people around us; people we may have walked past, glanced at in the supermarket or stood behind in the queue for tickets at the cinema.
- Instagram: @theteluguarchive
- Medium: medium.com/ @theteluguarchive
But what of the stories which young people in Hyderabad are familiarising themselves with? Say, those who enjoy Telugu literature or art? We’re talking texts such as Sri Ramana’s parody on Sri Sri’s Nenu Saitam or prominent figures including Bhandaru Acchamamba, the first Telugu feminist historian. While library archives are much-loved nooks in the city, Instagram feeds are reaching out to millenials better.
Hyderabad-born Delhi resident Sai Priya Kodidala enters this space with her posts on The Telugu Archive. A professional in public policy, Sai Priya is well-versed in all things Telugu and keeps travelling to the Telugu states. Over the phone, she sounds as energetic as one would assume, given her evocative posts. “I grew up reading Telugu literature. I gradually transitioned from reading Chandamama magazines to Sri Sri, Chalam, Volga and Joopaka Subhadra to name a few.”
“There are powerful works which ought to have more reach than they do now. Telugu literature has always been deeply influenced by socio-political contexts of the times and is hence quite progressive. Unfortunately, Telugu literature, history and art are not celebrated like mainstream pop-culture. It has been on my mind for a long time to start talking about it and I finally started The Telugu Archive three months ago. Right now, I’m doing it alone.”
Given Instagram is a democratised platform, the 25-year-old is more than happy with the avenues for multimedia content. “Instagram is an open field, which means that I can run it independently without having to worry about maintaining it like a magazine. Blogsite Medium is the place for longer formats, such as blogs.” She adds the openness of Instagram allows for a discourse with netizens. “I do get suggestions from my followers, so that is happening in a way already. More planned collaborations would be something that I am open to explore at a later point.”
But tracking and verifying facts using legitimate sources can be tricky. Sai Priya says she uses a combination of online and offline sources for this, explaining, “Most posts are based on my personal readings. I do collect literature when I’m travelling in the Telugu states. Sahitya Akademi Library in Delhi has an incredible collection too.”
The so-far short journey of The Telugu Archive has already bequeathed Sai Priya with a wealth of knowledge. “Frankly, I am only learning some thing new every day,” she reflects, “Literature, history, culture, art: these are inter-dependent and are fluid, and we can truly appreciate them only when we make an effort to understand the context in which they are set whether social, economic or political. I am also particularly keen on exploring rich oral traditions across the Telugu states which may or may not reflect in written form of literature.”
She urges fellow millennials to love Telugu and treasure it as they would treasure tangible heritage, “There is incredible Telugu literature and art around them to keep them hooked, if only they gave it a chance! Simple things such as being more curious about the language or dialects spoken around them helps.”