Inaugural Vandana (Blessings)
Inaugural Vandana (Blessings) virtual event in celebration of 59th Presidential Inaugural MLK National Day for Inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was organized by Miss Kumu Gupta on January 18th 2021, 1pm-2pm EST.
The event started with a Ganesh Vandana in Sanskrit (with English translation) from Hindu scripture , blessing President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for their Inauguration and to carry out their duties henceforth. The prayer was offered by Miss Kumu Gupta, former President's Challenge Advocate (under President Obama) & Co Chair Annual MLK Day Breakfast Meeting as Vice Chair Mayor's Human Rights Commission. Ms. Gupta had the honor of meeting Rev. King's daughter, the late Ms. Yolanda King, a few years ago. As a domestic violence activist, Kumu talked about the boon of having President Biden, Architect of VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) now in its 26th year, as Commander-in-Chief leading the fight at the helm and historic moment of having VP Harris, first ever Indian American woman in the 2nd highest office in the land, as an Indian American woman and former California resident herself before starting the prayer.Following the Vandana, a recorded message from Vice President Harris was played for the audience- https://youtu.be/BRALgDQxEJ8https://youtu.be/BRALgDQxEJ8
This was followed by a dance segment invocation to Lord Ganesha, also a teaching session of the dance which audiences could participate in, in their living rooms. The dance performances were by long time disciple Anjali Nath of the late legendary Kathak Pundit Chitresh Das, recipient of prestigious National Heritage Fellowship signed by President Obama. Maestro of Dance Chitresh Das was a big proponent of access of Arts across gender, race and class offering free classes to the underprivileged.
The program concluded with a "Global Medley" of instrumental music from Ireland, Chennai (India), Turkey and few others by Beth Bahia Cohen, an acclaimed master performer and teacher of a unique and impressive array of bowed stringed instruments. Beth is an Assistant Professor in the Berklee College of Music string department and an Applied Music faculty member at Tufts University. Beth's father was close friends with Rev. King's lawyer and Beth has fond memories of seeing Rev. King up close while growing up.
Rev. Martin Luther King believed in the power of prayer and service to those who are shut out due to disparities and this event is in following in his footsteps.
"We are very fortunate, here in Massachusetts, as Rev. Martin Luther King got his doctorate from Boston University and met his to be wife Coretta King in Boston , which is being memorialized in a sculpture on the Boston Common ", said Kumu Gupta concluding the program , asking everyone to do at least one act of service on MLK Day because Dr. King said ' Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.'