Telugu Association of North America (popularly known as TANA) is the oldest and largest Indo-American organisation in North America. TANA was established in New York in 1977 by the people of Telugu people across North America and was incorporated in 1978 as a non- profit organisation. Development of the people particularly poor and needy echelons of the society is the main objective of TANA vis-à-vis it takes up welfare activities. In view of these, members of the organisation identify and address social, cultural and educational needs of Telugu people in general and North American Telugu Community in particular. Because of TANA’s laudable role, Indian ethnic organisations in the world feel TANA is a role model in promoting culture and serving the community, an innovative method.
TANA has penetrated its roots through its wings in North America and India by carrying out many development and welfare activities as more than four decades over after its set up. It is pertinent to mention that TANA plays an important role in developing, nurturing, preserving and propagating Telugu arts also. There is a saying in Telugu, “Desha Vasha Landu Telugu Lessa” meaning Telugu is the beautiful language. In order to promote Telugu language, TANA has established and supported many teaching programmes in Telugu language in many US universities and instituted educational scholarships for the needy students. To inspire the young generation, TANA organises biannual novel and short story competitions in Telugu language. Moreover, TANA helps to publish rare and important works of Telugu culture/activities so that new and present generation can know about these. TANA facilitated the introduction of modern Telugu poetry as well as the Telugu classics like Kanyasulkam to non-Telugu persons through its subvention of English translations.
As welfare activities, TANA Foundation, the charitable wing of TANA, spends millions of US dollars each year in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the needy persons for education, sanitation, disease prevention, health promotion, rehabilitation, building of libraries, schools, roads, protected water supply systems etc. It is heartening to mention that TANA’s other activities inter alia are assisting orphanages, scholarships to the needy students, organising eye camp, cancer camp etc.
TANA’s activities are like ‘water in the ocean’ but few recent activities for the benefit of readers are presented: i) all know when a baby is born ‘mother offers milk’ as food is sine qua non for all living beings. Keeping this in mind, TANA arranges meals to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank to feed 2000 poor kids every weekend, ii) also it arranges food for 200 kids every day throughout the year at Tulluru of Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with Akshaya Patra Foundation, India, iii) During COVID-19, TANA provided grocery items to Indian students in remote areas and also arranged flight tickets to 2500 parents who were stranded in USA during lock down, iii) TANA arranged USA made reusable sanitary napkins among the girl children of Gurukulam Pathsala in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, iv) to cater the health needs, it arranged 26 paediatric cardiac surgeries for the poor kids in Andhra Pradesh, also v) TANA, donated free Hepatitis B Vaccine to more than 4500 rural kids of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, vi) to promote art and craft activities , TANA organised Villu Vidya programme in 11 major cities across USA with the objective of promoting Telugu ancient art, vii) with the help of local leadership in the State of Ohio successfully organised carrom competition, ladies cricket, free Yoga workshop, bone marrow drives etc.
It is worthy to mention that TANA has been doing praiseworthy activities in the USA also. Every year, TANA presents backpacks and other school items to the children of low income earners/below poverty line (BPL) families in various cities/districts of North America. Also members help to conduct health camps and take part in disaster relief activities across the world. Recently , TANA donated 10,000 US Dollar to the Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation with the objective of funding the local organisations.
As a result of TANA’s activities many leading persons in the USA appreciated TANA, although list is huge but some of these are mentioned here: a) Proclamation from Mayor of Akron, Ohio recognised 2 December 2016 as “TANA Service Day” in Akron, Ohio, b) In 2017 both Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio State praised TANA, c) special recognition received from the Senator Mr Sherwood Brown in 2016 d) special recognition received from the Governor of Kentucky for “Be the Change” programme etc.
As an Indian I am proud of TANA’s activities as when I was in some countries as a resource person many appreciated the activities of TANA. LONG LIVE TANA.
The following websites have been consulted while writing the article:
(The author is grateful to Mr. Ashok Babu Kolla, a member of TANA, for providing necessary information to write the article)
Dr Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor & Head (CPME), NIRD & PR (Govt. of India),
Prof. Shankar Chatterjee
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