HYDERABAD: From Pallavi, a tenth-class student from Addagutta in Secunderabad to a seventy-year-old Ramulamma from Ramnagar, Gundu, close to a hundred women assembled at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium on Thursday morning, as early as 8.30 am. Braving scorching heat, showing no signs of expected tiredness, they were all excited, enthusiastic and engrossed. All quick with their fingers threading the many colourful flowers to stack up 10,000 Bathukammas for the Telangana State Festival.
“We stack Bathukammas at our homes every year and I am very glad to be seated here amidst so much colour and vibrancy,” says Pallavi who came along with two friends and some women of her colony. Women from around greater Hyderabad and also as far as Sai Nagar in Rangareddy came down in buses, lorries and DCM vans provided by the Telangana government to contribute to the largest flower procession. Sticking to the plan, women stacked nearly 450 Bathukammas in an hour’s time ushered by representatives for each task.
“We planned to reach the target by 2 pm,” said Md Zahruddin, tahsildar from Bandlaguda, who was on duty. “Our job is to ensure that women who are here to assemble Bathukammas need what they require, apart from water and food,” he adds. The logistics were planned well with teams assigned for all tasks ensuring that things go as planned.
Venkata Ramana, convener of Telangana Jagruthi’s Greater Hyderabad unit, says, “We ordered for 35,000 tonnes of flowers that include Tangedu and Gunuka puvvu (colourful weed ) and almost 1,500 women who are professionals. We arranged special buses for them. Some others, who were interested, came on their own.”
The Telangana Jagruthi team coordinated with local self-help groups and NGOs who helped them pass the message and gather women for this purpose. And the youth and women wings of the Telangana Jagruthi team have taken responsibilities to ensure that things go as planned.
Mahesh, a volunteer of Telangana Jagruthi and student of Osmania University, kept watch over women and ensured that they got the supplies. “We are here to make sure that they get the basic supplies that include knives, needles and threads that are required for them to stack the Bathukammas,” he explains.
The women at work seemed at home, comfortable and busy at the same time, coordinating well amongst themselves and each of the Bathukammas stacked were unique _ in size, colours and combinations. Chandrakala, who came from Ramnagar, is used to making Bathukammas every year. “We used to be immerse them at our local temples. I was very happy when I was invited because this is new to me. Frankly, I was curious to see what this scene looks like and hence agreed to come here. This is my chance to explore,” she says seated amidst the colourful flowers.
While the volunteers of Telangana Jagruthi ensured that the Bathukammas are made, student volunteers of the National Green Corps placed them around the stadium. “There are close to 400 students who were trained and reached here at 8 in the morning. We associated ourselves with this because there is an ecological connection to this. We want to promote endemic flowers over exotic ones and this is one big opportunity to spread this message,” says WG Prasanna Kumar, director of National Green Corps. And the efforts were clearly visible. Wearing paper caps, they quickly assembled the 450 Bathukammas.