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ISW Celebrates India Day Festival

R. S. Ayyar

The India Society of Worcester organized its 18th Annual India Day Festival on Sunday, August 6th, 2006 at Shrewsbury High School, Shrewsbury, MA to celebrate India's 59th Independence Day. In this connection, Timothy P. Murray, Mayor of the City of Worcester, made a proclamation praising India's great cultural heritage, the underlying unity of its people embracing a prodigious diversity of religions, languages, customs, traditions and food habits and the country's achievements in the fields of technology, education, health and agriculture particularly during the post independence era. The proclamation urged all the citizens of Worcester to join hands with the Indian community to celebrate the 59th Anniversary of India's Independence wishing for friendship, peace, prosperity and good health for all in the years to come.

The program started with an inaugural session, where Dr. Sahadev Passey, Chairperson of India Day, welcomed all those who had come to the festival. This was followed by the presidential address by Mrs. Meera Gupta, President, India Society of Worcester. The guest of honor was the City Councilor, Honorable Kathleen M. Toomey. Following flag hoisting, national anthems were sung by Ms. Minakshi Biswas.

The cultural program that followed was a colorful presentation of the mosaic of various Indian states depicting their natural resources, historic events, people, their culture, art, festival and achievements in various fields etc. This comprehensive journey through India was highlighted by spectacular visual presentation of sculptural monuments, fine art and handicrafts, informative and entertaining narratives, lilting music and thrilling dances depicting the soul shining moods of the people during various seasons and festivals. Folk and classical music and dances which are entwined with the culture of the people of each state were superbly staged by talented artists and amateurs. The spectacular audio-visual presentation was a creation of Deepak Deb and Scott Burgess.  Deepak Deb, Anindita Bhattacharya and Sonali Misra did a great job as emcees as well.

The states were also specifically grouped into regions like east, west, north and south so that the audience could understand the fabric of unity in diversity of the culture of the people of these regions. Thus, the cultural program for the eastern region encompassed Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Orissa. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were grouped under the northern region. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa came under the western region while Andra Pradesh was identified as a southern state. The program also included an item staging classical Indian dances like Odyssi, Bharatanatyam and Kathak through solo performances of talented artists. For 4 hours the audience was kept spell bound by the kaleidoscopic panorama of our country's great heritage and people through solo and group dancers (both traditional and folk), jugalbandhis etc. It was indeed a memorable cultural event and the coordinator Bharati Biswas should be congratulated for her efforts.

Besides the cultural program, there were also other attractions. A large number of food stalls offered a variety of delicious, mouth watering Indian dishes to satisfy the tastes of gourmets from all regions of India. Meena Bazaar offered attractive bargains on several items displayed there like Indian clothes, jewelry, videos, etc. There was also a room were doctors conducted free medical check ups for interested persons. The service included check-up of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, etc. There were also games and entertainment for children and a stall for mehandi.

The India Society of Worcester deserves all appreciation for the well planned elaborate program meticulously carried out to the entire satisfaction of those who attended it. The cultural program and other activities made the festival a memorable event, nostalgic memories of which will linger for a long time.

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