Malaysian Telugu

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Malaysians of Telugu origin
Telugus in Malaysia
మలేషియా తెలుగువారు
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Peninsular Malaysia

Telugu  • Bahasa Malaysia  • English  •

Tamil (to communicate with all Malaysian Indians especially Tamils)
Hinduism and others
Related ethnic groups
Malaysian Indian

The Telugu Malaysians or Malaysian Telugus (Malaysian: Orang Telugu Malaysia), (Telugu: మలేషియా తెలుగువారు) consists of people of full or partial Telugu descent who were born in or immigrated to Malaysia. Most of Malaysian Telugus today are 4th or 5th generation who migrated during the colonial period. While most of current Malaysian Telugu ancestors originated from what is now Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras state), substantial number of them originated from area of Orissa and Bengal state. While most Telugus come to Malaysia as labourers, some were professionals and traders who arrived as refugees. In 1930s anti Indian riots in Burma results in large number of ethnic Telugus fleeing from Burma either back to India, Thailand or Malaya. Another wave of Telugu migration from Burma occurs during world war two, when Japanese invaded Burma.

In recent years new wave of migration of Telugu speaking population from India results in some rejuvenation of Telugu linguistic interest in Malaysia In 1981 the World Second Telugu Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur. Telugu Association of Malaysia, a non profit NGO serves as representative of Malaysian Telugus and is platform for Telugus to voice their opinions. The Telugu Association was first formed in the region of Lower Perak District in Malaysia on 17 July 1955, under the banner of Malaya Andhra Sangamu and officially registered on 17 February 1956. On 16 December 1963 it was renamed as Malaysia Andhra Sangamu. The association name evolved from 1983 onwards as TELUGU ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA (TAM) which is also known as Malaysia Telugu Sangamu. The association is formally registered and operates under the banner of as Persatuan Telugu Malaysia in Bahasa Malaysia.


Telugus along with other Indians from the east coast of India and the Bengal Bay arrived to the shores of ancient "Suvarnabhumi" and other parts of Southeast Asia. Indians from Godavari basin arrived in ancient Malay peninsular, trading and settling down, thus influencing local customs and culture. Sejarah Melayu addressed India as Benua Keling and Indians as "Keling", a word taken from Kalinga, an ancient Indian kingdom which is likely the source of Indian influence over Southeast Asia. Kalinga is located at the northern part of Andhra Pradesh covering Godavari basin and the southern part of Orissa and people of this region now speak either Telugu or Oriya. The current population of Malaysian Telugus are mostly third and fourth generation Telugus who descendents from indentured laborers who arrived during British colonial era. Recentlly increasing number of Telugu expatriats arriving from India.


Malaysian Telugu population is not accurately depicted in census because many who identified themselves as Indian in census were counted as Tamils. This causes false low figure of Telugu population in Malaysia.


Telugu language is the native language of Malaysian Telugus, It is the world's most spoken Dravidian and it comes under the category of "South Central Dravidian" language family. Until late 1980s there were primary Telugu medium schools. The last of Telugu school were closed in 1990 due poor support from community. Some Telugus (along with other Indian minority groups) also had start adopting and assimilating into the majority Tamil language and culture due to poor support from their community.


  1. ^ Joshua Project. "People Groups". Retrieved 2 July 2015. 

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