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Consulate General of India, Chicago Keeps the Flag of Indian Culture Flying High in the US Mid-west

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Consulate General of India, Chicago Keeps the Flag of Indian Culture Flying Consulate General of India hosted a spectacular cultural event, “Kala-Utsav-2015”, in collaboration with 26 Indian Community Organizations, to promote Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-west, on November 1st, 2015, at Copernicus Center, hicago. The event was a platform for over 230 renowned Indian artists, from across Illinois, Indiana, IOWA, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, to showcase their top-class performances.

The traditional lamp lighting ceremony was performed by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India in the presence of Farha Sayeed, his spouse, OP Meena, Head of Chancery at the Consulate, and embers of Executive Committee of Kala Utsav, including Harish Kolasani, Sushmita Arunkumar, Usha Pariti, Elizabeth Koshy, Ashfaq H. Syed, Iftekar Shareef, Beena Patel, Sriram Sonty, Keerti Kumar aveeri,Bharti Desai, Neil Khot, and Shalini Saxena. This was followed by singing the Indian National Anthem by Dr. Narayan Tata and Supriya Rao and the US National Anthem by Dr. Narayan Tata.

Over 1500 people, belonging to all nationalities, including a large number of diplomats from different countries and elected officials, attended the event.

Sayeed, in his inaugural address, said that Indian culture is rich, unique, time-tested, and multifaceted. He underlined need for protecting it, considering the onslaught of pseudo modernity and surging tide of herd mentality of blindly following Western culture.

“While older generation of India is reasonably good in terms of their knowledge of Indian culture, the new generation leaves much to be desired in this respect”, opined Sayeed.

He called upon efforts to increase cultural literacy on the part of the younger generation. He congratulated the Indian Community Organizations for their endeavors in this direction.

“Ausaf Sayeed, his team, and the Community Organizations deserve full credit for the stupendous success of the event”, said many an Indian-American.

Senator Mark Krik, in his message, congratulated Ausaf Sayeed and Indian-Americans on the occasion.

“The culture of Indian Subcontinent is similar. The Consul Generals of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc. should, therefore, jointly host a holistic cultural event to develop cross-cultural sensitivities in the region”, opined Noor Tejani, a leading Pakistani Businessman.

Chicago Kalakshetra Team of 13 artists performed “ChendaMelam” in the opening ceremony, which was followed by a string of stunning performances.

The Rich Cultural Diversity of India: The segment dedicated to “Regional Cultural Events” was a rich tribute to cultural diversity of India.

Over 65 artists presented seven distinctive dance forms of their respective States.The North Western team presented the high-energy Punjabi folk dance, Bhangra. The team of Rina Thakur from Himachal Pradesh presented the folk dance in the backdrop of a song “Piya Basanti Re”.

The presentation of team “Ghungru” of Kerala brought together grandeur of Kathakali, grace of Mohiniyattam, elegance of Thirvathirakkali, and a flavor of Murals Arts. Utkala Center for Odissi Dance High in the US Mid-west

presented an Odissi composition, Pallavi. Sriranga Dance Academy, Tarana Kathak Dance Academy, and Maharashtra Mandal Chicago presented Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Lavani dance forms, respectively.

Culture is Not Merely for the Sake of Culture:

There were six presentations under “Contemporary/Fusion” in which over 50 artists participated. These presentations, which highlighted the pressing societal issues by using the medium of dance, captured hearts of the audience.

Kamlesh Patel, a physically handicapped dancer and star of a television reality show, presented a dance performance and conveyed a message that determination results in victory over disabilities.

The presentation of Soorya Dance School, based on the ‘Nirbhaya’ case, the horrific gang rape occurred in Delhi, brought the audience to tears and also raised awareness about the importance of women’s security.

The presentation of Nithyanjali School of Dance revolved around the rhythms in the nature. Aananda Dance Theater presented an innovative piece, “Kaalachakram”, which referred to the never-ending cycle

of destruction and creation. Bharatam Academy of Dance Arts presented a dance piece that explores the joy of movements set to fusion music. The students of Bollywood Rhythms presented another fusion piece that used loud music and strong dance  ovements and provided a foot tapping experience to the audience.

The Magic of Indian Classical Music and Dance:

Natyarpana School of Dance, Nrithya Bharathi Institute of Dance, Natya Dance Theatre, Noopura Dance Academy, and Nrithya Sangeeth School of Dance presented five Bharatnatyam erformances, with about 25 artists, inter alia, in praise of Lord Ganesha and Lord Vishnu.

In the Music Performance category, there were five presentations, mostly classical in nature, with over 55 artists, by Rajaveena School of Music, Rama Advanced Music Academy, Veena Gaana School of Music,Ensemble of Raagas, and Manjusha Sangeet Academy.

Finally, the journey ended on a pleasant note. Two hilarious dramas, with 15 actors, “Kanya Daan” and “Political Satire”, presented by Dramatech and Mandi Theater Group, respectively, kept the audience rolling into unstoppable spells of laughter.

OP Meena proposed a vote of thanks.

Sanjog Aul and Saroja Ravi, the MCs, added value to the event by their captivating narration.