KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of thousands of devotees from the Telugu community ushered in the Telugu New Year of Ugadi, with rituals and prayers at temples nationwide yesterday.
Malaysian Telugu Welfare and Cultural Association president Datuk Dr Prakash Rao said guests from other racial and religious backgrounds joined their telugu-speaking friends to wish them “Hevilambi Ugadi Subahkanchulu” (a happy and prosperous Telugu New Year).
“Each year, devotees pray for the Lord Almighty to bless everyone with good health and prosperity in the coming year.
“Malaysian Telugus are indeed happy and glad to celebrate Ugadi with a multiracial community of diverse ethnicity,” said Prakash during special prayers at Sri Ramar Temple Alayam in Jalan Sungai Tua, Selayang Baru, Selangor.
Members from the Malaysia Telugu Foundation, Telugu Association of Malaysia (Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur) and several non-governmental organisations also joined in the ceremonies.
Prakash later handed over sarees as annathanam (charitable contribution) to single mothers.
He said the celebration was to promote and retain the Telugu culture and language that originated from Andhra Pradesh in India.
In 2014, Telugus formed their own territory — Telangana — as the newest and 29th state in India.
“Despite being far away from the Telugu land in India, we still read, write and converse in fluent Telugu.
“Many Telugus are multilingual. We can converse a minimum of four languages — Telugu, Bahasa Malaysia, English and Tamil.
“All pertinent values such as mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance of each other’s culture in multicultural Malaysia has a great impact in shaping the present community.”
While Ugadi ushered them into a prosperous and sacred year, Prakash reminded the community not to forget the less fortunate, especially during the trying economic downturn.
“Spirituality and charity should always be put into practice to become a complete community.
“Young Malaysian Telugu men and women often have a keen interest in community development, especially in educating the youth with high moral values.”