Beyond lingua franca: Telugu gains ground in Old City

 It was a rare instance when AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted in Telugu on May 30, urging Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao not to extend the lockdown in the State.

Published: 22nd August 2021 07:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2021 07:21 AM   |  A+A-

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  It was a rare instance when AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted in Telugu on May 30, urging Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao not to extend the lockdown in the State. Perhaps, the MP’s advisors suggested that using the regional language may strike a chord with the citizens. This development came months after Minister KT Rama Rao had, at the Legislative Council, urged AIMIM members to ‘occasionally speak in Telugu.'

For the past decade, Telugu is slowly being considered as an important language by residents of Old City to communicate with people beyond the area. Particularly after the emergence of Hyderabad as an IT hub, many BPOs are preferring job seekers to be proficient in Telugu, apart from in English and Hindi. As a result, job seeking youths in the city are approaching language experts to learn Telugu. Even those who have to communicate in Telugu during the course of their businesses are learning the language. “I am the in-charge of a canteen near IIIT Hyderabad in Gachibowli. I decided to learn Telugu to interact better with my customers,” says Syed Hamza, who resides in the Old City.

Similar is the case with Yakutpura resident Saleha Amtul Kareem, a social worker, who feels learning Telugu will help her interact with people without the need for any interpreter. “Apart from our work in the city, we have to visit the districts and also AP for our work. Hence, I decided to learn the language,” she said.

Telugu teacher Abdul Samad, who has adopted an unconventional approach to teach Telugu, says many people whose mother tongue is Urdu wish to learn Telugu, provided they learn from good teachers. “It is a well-known fact that students who pass in Maths and other subjects sometimes fail in Telugu in SSC. We have to make them understand that Telugu is one of the easiest languages and help them overcome a sort of phobia they appear to have developed for the language. When I started teaching over a decade ago, the SSC students appeared satisfied with getting just passing marks in Telugu. But with my teaching methodology, the students were able to score much better,” he says.

Samad, fondly called ‘Samad Sir - Telugu Master’ by his students, is the face of Telugu in the Old City. He has also helped Home Minister Mahmood Ali, besides some other politicians, master the language. “Any language is for communication. Learning it would help bridge the gap between people of different backgrounds,” says the teacher, who has continued teaching through the pandemic via online classes.

Feeling the pulse of the people, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, in collaboration with Telugu Islamic Publications (TIP), is occassionally conducting free Telugu classes online. “We began this year, and received a good response. Not only from those from the city, but people from abroad too are keen to learn Telugu,” said TIP’s Mohammed Mujahid


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