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Washington, Apr 17: India is a country of festivals. Different regions of the country have a specific festival that marks the start of the New Year. Bisu also known as the Vishu festival is the first day of the solar new year for the Tulunadu region of Karnataka and Kerala. It is the time to celebrate the harvest of the previous year and also to start sowing for the new season.

On April 14, the auspicious first day of the Tulu New Year, the people of the United States, tracing their cultural roots to Tulunadu and Tulu language heritage of ancient India, came together to form the All America Tulu Association (AATA) also known as Akhila Americoda Tuluvere Angana. AATA desires to outreach the Tulu language heritage and culture to their next generations and grooms a heritage pride identity. Constrained by the covid protocols, prominent members of the community came together on social media online mode to get connected in the celebrations and be a partnered witness of this event.

In order to drive the objective of AATA, the leaders of the various Tulu organizations across the United States elected the following office bearers for the first two-year term of 2021-2023. The executive committee consists of Bhaskar Sherigar from Boston as founder president, Shirish Shetty from Atlanta as vice-president, Prakash Udupa from Austin as general secretary, Puja Shetty from Boston as joint secretary, Subhas Shetty from California as treasurer and Fredrick Fernandes from Boston as joint treasurer.

The Board of Directors includes Dr Shridhar Alva from California as chairperson and directors Ajit Bhaskar Shetty from New York, Dr K P Mohanchandra from Los Angeles, Prashant Kumar from Michigan, Prithi Shetty from Minneapolis, Dr Ratnakar Sherigar from Virginia, Shrivathsa Ballal from Philadelphia, Dr Sudhakara Rao from Boston, Umesh Asaigoli from North Carolina. An Advisory Council consisting of prominent community leaders Dr Bheem Bhat from Philadelphia, Dr Guru Prasad from Florida, Sreesha Jayaseetharam from Chicago, Srivatsa Joshi from Virginia and Sudhir Prabhu from Boston also formed. In order to coordinate the activities across the United States and Canada, following AATA ambassadors for different regions were selected. Anita Naik from California North area, Avil D’Souza from North Carolina area, Kumar Shetty from Georgia area, Pavitra Shetty from Washington area, Prajwal Shetty from Michigan area, Prasanna Lakshman from New England area, Ritesh Shetty from Minnesota area, Santosh Shetty from California south area, Shreevalli Rai from Florida area, Siddhartha Shetty from Texas area and Umashankar Kadambar from Missouri area.

A powerful vision requires imagination, if there is a thought, it can become a thing. It is the vision and imagination of Bhaskar Sherigar which inspired the entire team and pledged to join hands to bring all the people of Tulunad origin under one big family of AATA to share, exchange ideas, network, socialize and help each other. AATA also plans to organize various events and programmes to preserve and spread Tulu language and culture in the American continent for generations to come.

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