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Hindu Heritage Day 2021

Geetha Patil

The 24th Annual Virtual Hindu Heritage Day (HHD) was organized by the volunteers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad /World Hindu Council of America (VHPA), Boston & Merrimack Valley Chapters, on Saturday May 22, 2021 with utmost joy and zest. Thousands of people from Greater Boston Area enjoyed Indian music, songs, dances, and the new Story-telling segment. Hundreds of participants from four years old to young adults showcased their talents and made the celebration more animated and amusing.

Jaya Asthana and Kunjavihari Ji welcomed all the audiences and the participants to the program and highlighted the outlines of the exciting program. The program started with Shankh Naad, the sound that heralds the auspicious beginning of any Hindu program followed by Deep Prajwalan, the lighting of a lamp by Bhawna Sharma. VHPA Bal Vihar students namely Avani, Preethi, Anusha under the guidance of their teacher Jaya Asthana presented Ekta Mantra. National Anthems of USA and India were sung melodiously by Sachi, a Junior in Chelmsford High School (CHS), and Shree, a 3rd grader and student of Bal Vidya Mandir, Ashland.

In the first segment of the program, ‘Sanskritik Karyakram’ (Cultural program): Sanskrit shlokas were chanted beautifully by the students of Newton Bal Vihar followed by Lord Ganesha’s aarti. Performing Arts of New England’s students presented a kathak performance in praise of Devi Saraswati choreographed by Darshana Jani.  Another exciting presentation titled ‘Expression of Nature through music’ a musical journey of raags expressed through Bandish that explored various seasons of nature and its beauty was presented by students of Sangeetayan and choreographed by Sagarika Kanjilal. Students of Sri Lakshmi Temple Bal Vidya Mandir presented ‘Bhavgeet – Hindu Bhoomi Gaan Se’ that described the greatness and qualities of Bharat Mata and taught by Jaya Asthana. ‘Shiva-Shakti’ dance that narrated the story of Shiva the cosmic dancer and His consort Shakti --together they are ShivaShakti was presented by the students of Triveni School of Dance and choreographed by Neena Gulati. Sweet little 5-year-old children sang ‘Achyutam Keshavam,’ a lovely Krishna Bhajan taught by their Guru Akhila Rao.

A stunning dance performance about Ganapati prayer ‘Dheemahi Ganesha’ was choreographed in classical style by Jasmine Shah of Aangikam dance academy and presented it delightfully by her students. A young boy trained by Padma Shenoy of Shenoy Band, Shriram sang Chota Khayal in raag Bilaval, taal Teental. An energetic dance performance choreographed by Neelima Chaturvedi titled ‘Hori ki kilari, kiye dole pichkari’ was given by the students of Sargam Academy of Indian Music. Nikita’s Bollywood Dance Academy students presented ‘Joy of Dancing!’ wherein dancers dynamically fused into the rhythm. A ‘Devi Stuti’ dance in praise of Devi Saraswati was choreographed by Jasmine Shah of Aangikam Dance Academy. Students from Mona Dance Academy and choreographed by Mona Mitra presented ‘Holi’ a group dance in Kathak style. Mona Mitra also presented ‘Vandana’ a solo dance in Kathak style. Students of Ekta Jain a well-known chorographer of Ekta Dance Academy performed a dhamaka dance titled ‘Punjab ki Khushbu - Makke di Roti Te Sarso ka saag, Giddhe de Tappe Te Dhol Di Awaaz.’ Students of Bolly Beatzz trained under choreographer Priya Asthana performed dance ‘Main Kaun Hoon: Live your Dreams, Keep the Faith’ that narrated a message for all to keep our spirits up and live our dreams, and celebrate life as it is. Sanskritik Karyakram closing remarks were delivered by Bhawna Sharma, a Bal Vihar volunteer teacher. Ashish Chhabra and Sumana Hatwar, the Masters of Ceremonies for this segment of the program did a wonderful job.

The Second segment of the program titled ‘Katha Kaari’ (Storytelling), a first time ever a storytelling contest via video in New England area and at the Hindu Heritage Day 2021 event was organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and the opening Remarks were given by Brij Bhushan Garg. Ahana for enchanting Shabari story, Suddharth for narrating - Monkey and the Crocodile story from Panchatantra, Navya for telling Story of Nandi - Shiva's Carriage, and Mridula for describing the Eeements of Mandir Architecture were the winners from different age groups among the 42 contestants. Navya also won the Grand Prize for putting together a show with her brother.

Closing Remarks were delivered by Mona Khaitan, President of VHPA Merrimack Valley Chapter and Kaushik Patel, President of VHPA Boston Chapter.  Prarthana was sung by Avani, a High School student who also attends VHPA Bal Vihar. Wonderful Aneeswar Bairavsundaram and Tanushree Nekenti were the Masters of Ceremonies.

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