Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:00:00 GMT | By The Hindu Business Line

Telangana’s Italian connection

While Sonia Gandhi was one of the strongest backers of formation of Telangana, the new state and erstwhile Andhra have more Italian connections - Telugu was called the ‘Italian of the East’ and June 2, the day Telangana will be born, happens to be Italy’s Republic Day

Telangana’s Italian connection (© AP)

Hyderabad: Italy-born Sonia Gandhi was one of the strongest backers of the formation of Telangana State.

Not just the Congress leadership in Telangana, which is giving her all the credit for the formation of the new State, but people have built a temple for her in the region.

AP’s Italian connection dates back a couple of centuries. The Telugu language was called the ‘Italian of the East’ by the Englishmen of the 19th Century, as all words in Telugu end with a vowel sound — such as “du, mu, vu, lu” — as in Italian.

Says Wikipedia: “Being a mellifluous language, British authors in the 19th century called Telugu the Italian of the East. It is believed that Italian explorer Niccolo Da Conti, who visited Vijayanagara Empire during the 15th century, coined the phrase.”

This Italy link continues oddly enough with the formation of Telangana, too.

The Centre has set June 2 for the Tryst with Telangana. In a remarkable coincidence, Italy’s Republic Day (Festa della Repubblica) falls on the same day.

The political drama that preceded the passage of the Telangana Bill saw regional parties and even Congressmen from Seemandhra openly criticising the role and Italian antecedents of Sonia.

Yet, as the State goes to the polls, both for the Assembly and for Parliament, the Congress is sparing no effort to point out that Telangana happened because of Sonia, and not due to the efforts of the TRS or the Joint Action Committee of Political Parties.

As electioneering progresses, the Italian connection is sure to be raked up again and again.

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