Brits brought Telugu to UK: Ragasudha Vinjamuri
If you crib about not having the time to pursue your hobbies, you need to take a cue from Ragasudha Vinjamuri.
The professional IATA (International Airport Transport Association) consultant is also a seasoned Bharatanatyam dancer, as well as a Telugu literature enthusiast. Based in London since 2004, she is also a doting wife and mother to a baby girl. And recently, she added another dimension to her personality by bagging the coveted Asian Media Honorary Award for her contributions in the field of culture and language among the Telugu community in the UK.
The honour was doubly special as she was nominated by the public, especially since there are so many senior dance and vocal artistes in the UK. “I don’t know why they chose me,” she says.
On further thought, Ragasudha, who started learning Bharatanatyam as an eight-year-old in Hyderabad, says, “I’ve given over 200 performances till date, including one at the World Telugu Conference in Tirupati. On weekends, I also teach dance to around 20-25 kids here.” But get ready for her most outstanding contribution. “I recently published my research stating that the Telugu language was brought to England by the British in 1845, and not by native Telugus. The British started teaching Telugu here in universities. They learnt it during their stay in India,” she reveals.
It’s hard to believe that someone who has transcribed the Telugu scripts found on 70 of 300-year-old palm leaf folios in London doesn’t hold any master qualifications in Telugu literature. “As I child, I was exposed to a lot of books because my father was an avid reader. That’s when I started reading about our language and culture. Since then, I’ve studied the migration patterns of Telugu people to Mauritius, Burma and the UK,” she explains.
How does she find time from her hectic schedule as a travel and tourism instructor? “You will find the time if you really want to,” says Ragasudha, who recently trained the staff of Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines in Turkey.
As principal of Kuoni Academy of Travel in the city years ago, she played an instrumental role in training the staff of Jet Airways and Air Sahara in international procedures, as they expanded their operations abroad.